The Low FODMAP Diet

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2024 | Last updated: March 2024

If you live with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), your doctor might suggest a special diet to help figure out which foods may be triggering your symptoms. One of these diets is called the low FODMAP diet.

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are all sugars (carbohydrates) that the small intestine has trouble absorbing. Examples of foods that contain FODMAPs include:1,2

  • Oligosaccharides – Wheat, beans, garlic, and onions
  • Disaccharides – Dairy products like ice cream and milk
  • Monosaccharides – Foods with a lot of fructose, including apples, mangoes, and honey
  • Polyols, or sugar alcohols – Foods like avocados and mushrooms; also artificially added to chewing gum and other products

Some people who eat high FODMAP foods have digestive symptoms such as:1

  • Cramping
  • Loose, watery bowel movements (diarrhea)
  • Trouble having a bowel movement, or not doing so often enough (constipation)
  • Bloating
  • Gas

What is the low FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet is a type of temporary eating plan to help people with IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders learn which foods could be causing their digestive symptoms. First, you stop eating high FODMAP foods for 2 to 6 weeks. Then, you slowly add them back in 1 by 1 every few days.1

If you begin to have symptoms after adding particular foods back into your diet, then you know that you may not be able to digest the type of sugar they contain. Once you figure out your problem foods, you can remove them from your diet.1

Foods to avoid on a low FODMAP diet

Foods that are high in FODMAPs include the following.1,3


  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cauliflower
  • Green peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Sugar snap peas


  • Apples and apple juice
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Peaches
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Plums
  • Watermelon
  • Dried fruit

Dairy and dairy alternatives

  • Milk, yogurt, and ice cream containing dairy
  • Soy milk made from whole soybeans
  • Sweetened condensed milk


  • Some marinated meats
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Some processed meats
  • Beans and lentils

Breads and cereals

  • Cereal, bread, crackers, and other products made with wheat, rye, or barley

Sugars and sweeteners

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Sugar-free sweets

Nuts and seeds

  • Cashews
  • Pistachios

Best foods to eat on the low FODMAP diet

Here are some examples of low FODMAP foods you can focus your meals on instead.1,3


  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Bok choy
  • Bell peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini


  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwifruit, or kiwi
  • Mandarins

Dairy and dairy alternatives

  • Brie, Camembert, cheddar, and feta cheeses
  • Almond milk
  • Lactose-free milk
  • Soy milk made from soy protein


  • Eggs
  • Firm tofu
  • Meat, poultry, and seafood marinated in lemon juice with olive oil, black pepper, or Italian herbs
  • Tempeh

Breads and cereals

  • Cornflakes
  • Oats
  • Plain rice cakes
  • Sourdough spelt bread
  • Bread without wheat, barley, or rye

Sugars and sweeteners

  • Dark chocolate
  • Maple syrup
  • Rice malt syrup
  • Table sugar

Nuts and seeds

  • Macadamias
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Walnuts


  • Rice, quinoa, and oats

Talk to your doctor or dietitian before starting a low FODMAP diet. Because it requires you to eliminate several foods all at once, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies. A healthcare professional can make sure you follow the diet the right way and maintain a healthy weight.1-3

The low FODMAP diet and IBS

Researchers have looked at whether a low FODMAP diet helps people with IBS. In the UK, 1 group of researchers gathered information from different studies to compare how effective a low FODMAP diet is compared to other IBS diets or treatments.4

They found that a low FODMAP diet worked the best to improve overall IBS symptoms compared to other diets or treatments. It also helped ease the severity of stomach pain and bloating better than other approaches. But the low FODMAP diet did not improve bowel habits better than other diets and treatments.4

While the study shows the low FODMAP diet works well, researchers noted that most of the studies they looked at were conducted in special healthcare settings. These studies also did not look at the long-term effects of reintroducing high FODMAP foods into the diet.4

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