‘What foods can I eat on the low FODMAP diet?’. This is one of the top search terms that crops up on the stats for this blog. There are several sources on the web for lists of FODMAP foods however unless the lists are constantly being updated they will soon be out of date or worse misleading or incorrect. I am amazed at the amount of out of date FODMAP food lists still doing the rounds and the people who have put this information on their website are not responsible enough to tell users that is out of date and wrong! Funnily enough the most out of date information can be found on a website set up specifically to help people with IBS. I won’t say who it is but if you search Google for ‘Suitable foods on the Low FODMAP Diet’ you will see who it is 😉
If you are going to try and follow the low FODMAP diet yourself without the help of a registered dietitian then I suggest you invest in the Monash University low FODMAP app. If you do not have an android or iPhone then you can get a booklet of the information from Monash University. I don’t get any benefit from promoting this but I am because Monash is the university that help research the the low FODMAP diet and revenue received from the app will go towards funding further research.
I think the Monash app is a brilliant resource however I also think it is becoming more confusing as more foods are being tested and we are starting to realise how different food processing techniques can alter the FODMAP content of foods.
This leads to some confusion in the newest version of the app where, for example, fine oatmeal is high FODMAP whereas coarse oatmeal is low FODMAP. When I asked the team in Monash about this they mentioned but could not confirm at this stage that this may be caused by the additional processing steps which may have caused the fructan levels to drop in the fine oatmeal, compared to the coarse oatmeal.
I noticed someone asked Monash why sieved organic spelt flour is low FODMAP and they responded by saying ‘…….the process of “sifting” organic spelt flour removes certain amounts of bran that is naturally found in spelt flour. This in effect reduces the amount of fructans to a level that is deemed tolerable to IBS individuals’.
By the way the sourdough process in bread making affects FODMAPs and to find out why see my previous blogpost on this.
Other oddities include rice milk being high FODMAP when rice is low FODMAP. Thankfully Monash are trying to address this confusion with regular blog posts explaining why these differences are occurring, for example see the blog post on rice milk here.
Personally I don’t disagree with people publishing lists of FODMAP foods (I understand they are just trying to help others). As long as they acknowledge the source and state the date it was last updated. It would also be good if they highlight that the importance of your overall diet must be considered in the context of following the low FODMAP restriction diet. This can be difficult for someone to achieve without having the ability to critically assess their dietary intake, hence support from a medical professional is always the best option. Also rarely do these lists mention the other most important phase of the low FODMAP diet: the reintroduction phase!
However why rely on a published list that can go out of date so easily. If you are actively seeking to improve your IBS symptoms then spend £5 and get the best information available from the centre that actually completes the FODMAP testing.
Where I worked at King’s College London we also produce booklets with information on the FODMAP content of foods but these were only available for registered dietitians. I really would urge people to get referred to your local dietetic service for advice and support on the low FODMAP diet. If you are reading this in the UK then your taxes are already paying for the dietetic service so make use of them!
The Low FODMAP diet has shown to be effective in roughly 3 out of 4 people when administered by a registered dietitian and by doing the diet yourself the success of the diet may well be diminished.
There are also many other factors that contribute to a successful diet in relieving IBS symptoms so please check with an expert who will consider your individual requirements.
Good news! Very soon the first ever book dedicated to reintroducing FODMAPs will be available to purchase on Amazon Kindle. The book will be titled ‘Re-challenging and Reintroducing FODMAPs – A self-help guide to the entire reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet’. Click on the logo for more details.