FODMAPS and the Healing Power of Food

Posted on March 9th, 2012 by in Nutrition

FODMAPs sounds like it might be the latest automobile GPS navigation system or weather radar detection unit. It’s actually a therapeutic eating plan that has been gaining ground as an effective protocol to help people who are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The quirky name FODMAPs stands for

F= Fermentable






These are a family of carbohydrates and short-chain sugars that are more easily fermented in the digestive tract and most likely to contribute to gas, bloating, pain, and other frustrating gut symptoms. Digestive detectives have known for many decades that some foods may be more problematic than others if you have IBS. But more recently, scientists from Australia and the United States have been on the trail of tracking down FODMAPs as instigators of IBS. Total elimination of FODMAPs may not be necessary or realistic, but lessening the FODMAPs load may spell IBS relief.

Begin by experimenting with a lighter load of the highest FODMAPs foods if you suffer from IBS. Keep a food journal to figure out if this is indeed comfort food for your digestive tract!


Fruits: Apples, apricots, avocado, cherries, mango, pears, nectarines, peaches, plums and prunes, watermelon, canned fruit, dried fruit, or fruit juice

Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, fennel, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, radiccio, scallions, shallots, sugar snap peas, snow peas

Grains: Wheat, rye

Legumes: Lentils and beans, including chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, etc.

Dairy: Milk (cow, goat, sheep), yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese

Sweeteners: Fructose, high fructose corn syrup, isomalt, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol (Be sure to check labels of packaged foods and avoid these ingredients!)

Do you have IBS or other stomach trouble? What are some of the ways you’ve learned to spell relief?

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About Kathie Madonna Swift, MS, RD, LDN

Kathie is a leading educator, innovator, and practitioner in the field of integrative nutrition. She is author of The Inside Tract: Your Good Gut Guide to Great Digestive Health. Kathie recently won the Making a Difference Award from Today's Dietitian. She is the Chief Nutrition Advisor for My Food Health, an online program that provides customized meal plans for individuals with various health conditions, and created My Foundation Diet, a gluten and dairy free elimination food plan. She also shares her passion for the power of food as a teacher of various Healthy Living Immersion programs at Kripalu.

5 Responses to “FODMAPS and the Healing Power of Food”

  1. Lou Myers March 9, 2012 10:46 am #

    What are the best foods that you CAN eat?  Especially a vegetarian, and still get the necessary nutrition?

    • Kathie Swift March 9, 2012 4:29 pm #

      Start by trying other fruits and vegetables that are not on the high FODMAPs list and fortunately, nature provides an abundant variety.  In addition, gluten free grains (ex. quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, brown rice) are allowed.  If you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian, eggs and also other cheeses such as cheddar types are ok.  It has also been found that although many soybean foods are high FODMAPs, tofu is OK!   Which is good news for vegetarians!   

      • KripaluEditor March 9, 2012 4:34 pm #

        Kathie, thanks so much for taking the time to respond.

    • Magmom02 April 20, 2012 7:38 pm #

      go google “heather’s ibs” and it will take you to an unbelievable site that has changed my life…..Good Luck!

  2. KripaluEditor March 9, 2012 11:03 am #

    Thanks for the comment, Leslie. I will do some research. Stay tuned.

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