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Weird FODMAP food paradox...anyone else?

Does anyone else get zero bad reactions to many of the absolute "no-no" foods for IBS?

In my case, I can eat many high Fodmap foods and be perfectly fine; eg. honey, chocolate, gluten-containing foods, broccoli, snow peas, morning coffee, caffeinated tea.
That wouldn't necessarily apply during flare times though. At those times, ANY food can make me worse, even the ultra safe foods.
But generally I can eat those things and they make me no worse at all.
I can drink alcohol in moderation, but haven't yet had the courage to go back to wine, sherry, port etc. I stick to vodka with a little sugar or honey, and some marinated ginger and cinnamon pieces.
But alcohol as such, isn't a trigger for me either.

Yet sadly, there are some low Fodmap foods which I can't even look at! Tomatoes, squashes, carrots (most of the time) turnips, anything with skins, (yes, I have to peel my grapes!) oats in any form, and quinoa. Though brown rice I can get away with sometimes, yay!
I love all those foods too....

Maybe this makes no sense. I don't know. Maybe other people get the same thing happening?

  1. Yes, absolutely! I'm perfectly fine with some high FODMAP foods like honey, but supposedly safe options like squashes, pumpkin, etc. give me terrible diarrhea, even when consumed in small amounts. Quinoa makes me extremely bloated, too, which is annoying since so many gluten-free foods contain quinoa. I always have to check the ingredients list before buying.
    Tomatoes used to be a major trigger food for me, but they aren't anymore since my first pregnancy (before that, squashes were fine though!). I still can't have tomato sauce, but then again, I couldn't eat it even before getting IBS.

    I guess it's normal that our bodies are all different and don't adhere to the official FODMAP list, but it can be very frustrating when trying to follow IBS-friendly recipes ( I always have to adapt something.

    Thank you so much for sharing this topic, I'm looking forward to reading what other community members have to say!
    Sending hugs, Karina (team member)

    1. The same thing happens with me. I followed a very strict low FODMAP plan for 8 months and cut out everything high FODMAP during the elimination phase. I think what triggered off my IBS-D in 2016 was that I went on a weight loss diet (to lose 20lbs so not too drastic, I wanted to look well at a friend's wedding) and I started to replace natural table sugar with artificial sweeteners and having "sugar free" varieties of cordials and lower sugar, lower fat condiments, yogurts, other food products. Turns out that the artificial sweeteners were going through me for a short cut. I reintroduced my high FODMAP foods slowly, such as onions, peas, beans etc. and found I had no big issues with them even when I went over the safe (yellow or green on the Monash University App) amounts. But I still kept getting severe diarrhea. I noticed this happening soon after I had eaten my porridge (oatmeal to some) in the mornings. I had substituted my teaspoon of real table sugar (can't eat porridge without!) for artificial sweetener. I was on the loo within 20 minutes. I quit drinking alcohol and couldn't stomach fizzy/carbonated drinks so I was drinking gallons of water with blackcurrant squash (cordial - sorry, I am in Ireland and we call things by different names over here). The squash/cordial was full of artificial sweetener, in particular Erythritol (and Maltitol, Mannitol, Sorbitol.... anything ending in "ol"😉 and the artificial sweetener (I used Canderel) uses a white powder called Maltodextrin (used by food manufacturers as a bulking agent). Both are extremely high in FODMAPS. So a lot of "diet" foods and low fat, low sugar foods, we need to be aware of as the hidden ingredients, the additives, are full of high FODMAPs. People didn't get these gut issues years ago when they ate natural foods, it seems to me (and I'm not a scientist) that all additives and preservatives the manufacturers add to our food is what is giving us the IBS and other gastrointestinal issues. That's just my take on it anyway! I am still wary of too much onion/garlic but I will have a little bit for taste, such a treat!! I'm not saying this is going to be the same for everybody, as Karina says, all of us react differently. But just be mindful that it may not be the food item itself giving you gyp, but the sauces you might be putting on top! For example, you could make a quick chicken curry... the meat is fine, the peppers, onions, garlic, spices are OK, then you add a jar of shop bought sauce (on a lazy/busy day) and its got additives that throw the whole thing and you sit there thinking that the onions and garlic were the culprit!! and washed down with a glass of high-FODMAP blackcurrant drink 🙁

      1. By the way, I bought this fantastic little book on Amazon, it is called "The FODMAP Navigator", by Dr Martin Storr. It is a small slim book that fits in my handbag (purse??) and lists lots of items that are in your kitchen cupboards that are HIGH FODMAP and an another list of same items that are LOW FODMAP. It is very useful out food shopping when you want to check a label without standing in the shop googling it, as it is easy to read. I hope its OK to mention stuff like this on this platform; I don't know this guy, I am not affiliated with any company, I am just like you trying to sort out my IBS problem without having to constantly go back to my doctor 😀

      2. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and also the book, I'm sure that this will be very helpful for many people!
        You're definitely not the only one having trouble with artificial sweeteners (this article discusses the same topic, for example:
        I used to get bad diarrhea from artificial sweeteners even before I had IBS, and I'm pretty sure that part of the reason why I always had a weak digestive system is that I used to eat store-bought sauces with every meal when I was little... literally for years. I'm now very careful with sauces altogether.
        Are your symptoms better now that you've figured out that artificial sweeteners are a problem?
        Karina (team member)

    2. Mindy, I hear you about all those artificial sweeteners. I have to stay away from ALL of them. I don't know if it's Fodmaps in them or what it is, but my body rejects them.
      Now, I don't mind, because I eat very little processed food ever. In fact, the only processed foods I eat are store-bought ciabatta rolls (I get no problem with those), easy cook or boil in the bag white rice (no problem with those either) and chocolate, and sometimes Tesco shortcake biscuits (no issues with either) In those last two are no artificial sweeteners.
      But chewable vitamin C is one of my enemies. The reason? Sorbitol. Why couldn't they just put sugar in it? We are all different, but sugar never bothers my IBS.

      I also found out that some so-called LOW Fodmap foods are only low Fodmap in small amounts!
      Such as Pak Choy.
      I now have to limit that to two or three stalks. I wondered why when I feasted on it , it went through me like a fast train, even though it was supposed to be "safe"..
      Peanuts are listed as low Fodmap, but only in amounts up to 32 nuts apparently. I tested that and found it to be true.

      And some HIGH Fodmap foods, are low in small amounts too! Such as broccoli.
      Avocado is another one I tested. I can have one slice about 1/2 inch thick on a good day, and no more. That also contains natural sorbitol, but for me small amounts are generally okay. (unlike the vitamin C tablets!)
      There are others. By trial and error I found out (even before reading anything) what amounts are okay for me personally, and stuck to that.

      Does the Fodmap app also let you know about what amount of food is listed as "low"? I think that's kind of important, as we could be shunning certain food not knowing that if we only had half a cupful or whatever, it's not triggering, generally.

      But the other odd stuff is when some of us can eat notorious High Fodmaps (chocolate, alcohol, wheat based bread etc) without any issues! I find that just...weird.

      1. Quantity definitely plays a big role when it comes to triggers! I've used multiple apps and websites throughout my FODMAP journey and many of them do mention which amount is considered low or high FODMAP. For me, it still came down to trial and error though, since my triggers and safe foods don't necessarily align with the lists. I can eat a whole avocado without any issues, but I get sick from just looking at broccoli. 😉 Triggers can also change over the years, which doesn't make it any easier!
        In my opinion, the Low FODMAP diet is a great starting point but ultimately we have to figure out a personalized diet that works well for us as individuals.

        Karina (team member)

    3. Yes Karina, I have found that to some extent my own triggers have changed too in only 2 years. Watercress used to trigger my IBS, but now there are times when it doesn't. I couldn't eat chips (fries) but now it seems that I can, so long as it's a certain brand of frozen ones with just sunflower oil and no additives. I couldn't eat peanuts at all, but now I've got the low-Fodmap amount sorted out, I can eat them inside that limit.
      But at the same time, I used to be able to eat small amounts of lentils, and I just don't seem to be able to any more. It's the same with oranges, too many blueberries or raspberries. At first I could even eat pears without a bad reaction. Now I can't.

      Yes, we have to figure out plans that work for us as individuals because we are all so different. I was shocked to find certain notorious foods were fine for me and had been all along, so I didn't need to go gluten-free for example (though I did try six weeks gluten-free last year to see if it made any difference. It didn't.)
      But gluten could be a bad trigger for some people.
      I guess it's "trial and error" we have to work out for ourselves, or with support from a dietician.

      1. It's always nice when foods that didn't work for you before don't cause as many symptoms anymore!
        I'm happy for you that you don't have to eat gluten-free, I find that to be so hard! I love so many foods with gluten in them and gluten-free alternatives are so expensive and hard to come by here in France. It's still very worth it though.
        Have you worked with a dietitian before? I personally haven't but I've heard from several community members who had success with that.
        All the best, Karina (team member)

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