Low FODMAP Diet


After creating a highly successful form of fructose malabsorption diet in 1999 in her private dietetic practice, Sue Shepherd went on to become a member of the research team which developed the Low FODMAP Diet. Her PhD research and other studies she was involved in proved that FODMAPs could trigger symptoms of IBS, and in turn, limiting dietary FODMAPs is an effective treatment for people with symptoms of IBS in susceptible people. The low FODMAP diet has been published in international medical journals and is now accepted and recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS. Abstracts of these articles are available in the links section of this website.

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, these molecules then continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms.


What are FODMAPs?


FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym for

  • Fermentable
  • Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS))
  • Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)
  • Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
  • And
  • Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

Where are FODMAPs found?


A few examples of food sources high in each of the FODMAPs are listed below. The list is not complete, and is subject to change as new data becomes available regarding the FODMAP content of foods. The dietitians at Shepherd Works can provide you with a more complete and up to date list of foods during a consultation.

  • Excess Fructose: Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup

  • Fructans: Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Spring Onion (white part), Shallots, Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Barley (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.

  • Lactose: Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).

  • Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), Lentils, Chickpeas

  • Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Nectarines, Pears, Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), xylitol (967), maltitol (965) and isomalt (953).

What can I eat on a low FODMAP diet?


The Low FODMAP diet has two phases. The first phase generally involves a strict restriction of all high FODMAP foods. This phase should be followed for 6-8 weeks only, then an expert dieititian should be consulted for a review appointment to learn the second phase. The second phase is where the diet is liberalised to suit each individual – where the type and amount of FODMAPs are identified so that the longer term diet can be established. It is recommended that you consult with an experienced dietitian for both phases of the low FODMAP diet as each phase involves many dietary changes.

Where can I get advice?


For expert dietitian advice, please book an appointment with one of the Shepherd Works dietitians on +613 9890 4911, or click here to submit an appointment enquiry online.

Day time and early evening appointments are available. For people who live interstate, overseas or are unable to make it to one of our practice locations, Shepherd Works offers a phone consultation service - please phone +613 9890 4911 to arrange.

Where to next?

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