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FODMAP Frustrations

FODMAP Frustrations

Ever since I made the food-IBS connection, my belly has been better, but my time spent in the grocery store has more than doubled. So has my budget… and my frustration level.

A few months ago, I was in the grocery store, reaching for what felt like the 100th product and realizing just how long this whole process will take, as well as how many of my former go-to foods that I can’t eat. Frustrated and tired from spending so much time in the store and still not being able to piece a few normal meals together, I came home in tears. I’m not proud of it, but I had a mini-meltdown at the supermarket.

The give and take

There’s no question in my mind: the low FODMAP diet has been life-changing for me. I used to feel digestive distress after every single meal; now, I’m maybe 60 percent less miserable, which is great news after years of living with a stomach that hurt all of the time. Now that I know better, I do better, but still, I struggle with IBS symptoms, despite adhering to a low FODMAP diet nearly 90 percent of the time.

Let’s face it: dealing with IBS is extremely tough. The mere nature of it can cause a lot of anxiety, pain, and depression, so why can’t the Universe maybe cut us a break for a change and help us out with a meal plan that’s easy to follow?

The low FODMAP diet is time-consuming and inconvenient. Shopping, chopping, and preparing foods that are low-FODMAP can feel like a full-time job. And it isn’t cheap: since I’m the only person in my household who follows it, I’ve nearly doubled our grocery bill just trying to make everyone happy. The other downside? The FODMAP-friendly foods that don’t get eaten before they spoil because I just don’t have the energy to cook.

Even the low-FODMAP experts can’t always agree on which foods are best for IBS sufferers

I recently downloaded several FODMAP-friendly apps. Most of the foods on the diet are in agreement, but there are some foods that yield very different results. For instance, 3 tablespoons of chia seeds show to be high FODMAP in one app, while 2 tablespoons are listed as low FODMAP in the other app. Rice drink is listed as low FODMAP on the FODMAP friendly app, while rice milk is listed as high FODMAP. I know that the low FODMAP diet is one of the newest kids on the dietary block and research is ongoing, but these kinds of contradiction sometimes make me want to give up grocery shopping and cooking altogether.

I’m sick of eating green beans, mashed potatoes and rice cereals with almond milk. I’m hungry. I’m cranky. And I’m not in the mood to cook separate meals for myself vs. my family.

Shopping, preparing and cooking low-FODMAP foods can be confusing and complex

Individual foods themselves are complex. And because growing conditions, additives, sourcing and manufacturing all can contribute to changes in food, I can eat the same meal twice and experience very different digestive results each time.

I’m usually a rule follower, so the ever-changing food lists, apps, and recipes have left me feeling frustrated. Why is it that I can find products that are clearly labeled as fat-free, sugar-free, low-sodium and gluten-free, but not low FODMAP?

I dream of a day when I can walk into the grocery store, select a week’s worth of low-FODMAP meals, and be in and out in less than an hour. How much time and frustration would that save?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Becky Oleson moderator author
    2 years ago

    Thank you so much for this suggestion, BBBB! I have been reading quite a bit about the ketogenic diet and haven’t wanted to abandon the LF diet, but it sounds like you’ve successfully managed to combine the two for even better results? I am fortunate that garlic and onions don’t bother me, so I may give this a try. Have you found any specific ketogenic cookbooks that you like?

  • BBBB
    2 years ago

    Yes…I loved the Low-FODMAP Diet when I found it, as it DID lessen my IBSD by about half (which is a lot, when daily/painful IBSD). BUT – when I found the “Ketogenic” Diet a year later, it was even BETTER. Now, I’m OFF a daily Imodium and have almost NO IBSD.
    I still abide by many LF restrictions, but have added a bit of cruciferous veggies and some onion, lots of garlic. No problems. I understand SO much about the Grocery Store irritations! It gets easier with practice. Out of habit, I still shop for a month’s worth when I get out to shop finally. Still have the Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, and other chronic conditions….but much easier to get out and about when the pain eases a bit without worrying about chronic diarrhea!! (PS: STOP Calcium Citrate and begin Calcium Carbonate WITH food.)

  • Andrea Hardy RD moderator
    3 years ago

    Hi Becky Oleson!

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the low FODMAP diet. As a dietitian who practices in this area, and has IBS I TOTALLY understand your frustration.

    Tips I find helpful:
    Look for the FODMAP friendly logo on products (this is relatively new to North America, but you’re going to start to see it more!)
    Focus on the FODMAP ‘big’ culprits: onion, garlic, wheat, inulin/chicory, HFCS (glucose-fructose in Canada) and fruit juices/puree’s – just start with those 6 – and you’ll be doing an awesome job.
    Keep a running list of your families favourite low FODMAP recipes – so you’re not cooking two dishes.

    Even with those tips, I completely understand that it’s only the tip of the iceberg. I’m glad you shared your story with such honesty – especially given that April is IBS awareness month, I know others will find this truly relatable.

    Thanks for being a part of this community!

    Andrea Hardy, RD, community team

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