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How A Low FODMAP Diet Can Ease Food Intolerances

man in denim on sofa with pizza box to the site of him. the man is in denim
There is a vast list of foods that may cause you food intolerance. It is impossible to list them all, as different foods react to everyone’s digestive system, in a range of ways.

If you want to have a complete list and are under the guidance of a registered dietician (preferably one that has a qualification in FODMAP diets), they may be able to provide you with a list issued by Imperial College, London but this will probably have to be paid for. For a small fee, you are also able to download the NHS list. You also must remember that with new discoveries and research appearing on almost a daily basis, that an up-to-date copy may not last long!

We have issued the attached list with the most common intolerances that can cause sensitivity, particularly in the case of IBS. It is by no means comprehensive but gives a good indication of what you may be sensitive to and the prevalence in a ‘normal’ diet. We do recommend a food intolerance test for a more detailed analysis, though. You will also notice that there are also some ideal suggestions for ‘swaps’, that are close to the flavours that you may be giving up.

Nothing is that easy though. So what are FODMAP foods? Some of the listed foods can be eaten in small quantities, it’s only when you consume too much of them that they become troublesome. Equally, the list of do’s and don’ts vary between individuals, so you could find that you don’t have a sensitivity to some that are listed as ‘do’s’, and vice versa! It is only a case of testing your way through the recommendations, given to you by your dietician.


What can you eat on a low-FODMAP diet?


Vegetables

● Aubergine
● Bamboo shoots
● Bean sprouts
● Broccoli
● Cabbage (common and red)
● Carrots
● Celery (less than 5cm stalk)
● Chickpeas (1/4 cup max)
● Corn (1/2 cob max)
● Courgette
● Cucumber
● Green beans
● Green pepper
Kale
● Lettuce
● Parsnip
● Potato
● Pumpkin
● Red peppers
● Scallions
● Spring onions (green part)
● Squash
● Sweet potato
● Tomatoes
● Turnip


Fruit

● Bananas
● Blueberries
● Cantaloupe
● Cranberry
● Clementine
● Grapes
● Melons
● Kiwifruit
● Lemon
● Orange
● Pineapple
● Raspberry
● Rhubarb
● Strawberry


Meat

●All unprocessed meats and fish.


Grains

●Buckwheat
●Cornflour


Gluten-free foods (breads, pasta, biscuits)

●Oats (1/2 a cup)
●Quinoa
●Popcorn (Read more about corn intolerance)
●Rice
●Tortilla chips


Nuts and Seed

●Almonds (max of 15)
●Chestnuts
●Hazelnuts
●Macadamia nuts
●Peanuts
●Pecans (max of 15)
●Poppy seeds
●Pumpkin seeds
●Sesame seeds
●Sunflower seeds
●Walnuts


Milk alternatives

●Almond milk
●Coconut milk
●Hemp milk
●Lactose free milk
●Oat milk (30ml max)
●Rice milk (200ml max)


Dairy/egg products

●Butter
●Dark chocolate
●Eggs
●Milk chocolate (3 squares max)
●White chocolate (3 squares max)
●Brie
●Camembert
●Cheddar
●Cottage cheese
●Feta cheese
●Mozzarella
●Parmesan cheese
●Swiss cheese


What can’t you eat on a low-FODMAP diet?


Vegetables

●Asparagus
●Beans (black, broad, kidney, lima, soya)
●Cauliflower
●Cabbage (Savoy)
●Garlic
●Mange tout
●Mushrooms
●Onions
●Peas
●Spring onions (white part)


Fruit

●Apples
●Apricot
●Avocado
●Bananas
●Blackberries
●Grapefruit
●Mango
●Peaches
●Pears
●Plums
●Raisins
●Sultanas
●Watermelon


Meat

●Chorizo
●Sausages
●Processed meat


Grains

●Barley
●Bran
●Couscous
●Gnocchi
●Granola
●Muesli
●Muffins
●Rye
●Semolina
●Spelt


Nuts

●Cashews
●Pistachios
●Wheat (bread, cereal, pasta)


Dairy products

●Buttermilk
●Cow milk
●Cream
●Cream cheese
●Custard
●Goat milk
●Greek yoghurt
●Ice cream
●Ricotta cheese
●Sheep milk
●Sour cream
●Yoghurt


What about tofu, soy and other spices?


Spices and dressings



This is difficult, as you may think the innocuous jars of dried spices couldn’t possibly contain ingredients that may trigger your intolerance. However, they do. The following is a short list of potential red-flag items.

Soy sauce is fine as long as it is naturally produced and not chemically produced. By law, this must be shown on the label when purchasing. Soy milk is better for your digestion if it is produced using soy protein and not soybeans. You may, however, not suffer any reaction, but do choose the soy protein version where possible.

Tamari sauce is also low FODMAP when produced the same way as soy. Check the bottles!

Some seasonings, such as packet-style taco, should be considered as a possible aggravation. Makes it difficult if you enjoy Tex-Mex food! Where possible, use small quantities of finely chopped green chilli, so that you just get a slight kick of heat. Shop bought dressings can be a problem, so check the labels carefully. Where possible makes your own dressings and keep them simple.


Drinks


Alcoholic drinks, in general, are not a good idea, as they are an irritation to the stomach lining whether you are following low FODMAP diet or not. You hear the words ‘in moderation’ regarding health, stay with that principle and you should be able to enjoy a casual drink with friends and family. It is also a good idea to intersperse each alcoholic drink with some water. Do watch out for mixers though – they can contain high amounts of fructose corn syrup.

Another good point – the more you drink, the more likely it is you will feel hunger pangs. The danger arises here with eating snacks such as crisps, nuts or other savoury items to combat thirst. Check which snacks can keep your brain healthy.


Portion Sizes

Do always watch your portion sizes. If you’re struggling then check out our FODMAP breakfast, FODMAP lunch, and FODMAP dinner recipes. Even if what you consume is low FODMAP, if you eat it in excess, you can exceed sensible quantities. Calorie levels should also be adhered to.


If you are new to a low FODMAP diet

Following some simple suggestions to make you adhere to the diet, should provide success.

When you start, clear out your cupboards of all the potential foods to avoid on FODMAP, and start afresh. This way, you can’t be tempted to sway outside your diet. Make a shopping list before you go to the supermarket, and make sure you read labels. It can be time-consuming to start with, but you will soon get the hang of choosing the right foodstuffs.

Good luck and stick with it. You will regain any confidence that you may have lost when those horrible symptoms start to decrease. At no time do we offer a guaranteed result, nor is this article a substitute for medical advice by your GP or another specialist.
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