A growing concern among individuals experiencing digestive discomfort is the question, “What is FODMAP intolerance?” This article aims to provide an in-depth understanding of FODMAPs and how they impact our bodies. We will discuss the signs and symptoms to look for and how to test for FODMAP intolerance.
Furthermore, we will explore the high and low sides of the FODMAP diet and the safety of removing FODMAPs from your daily meals.
Table of Contents
FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. These are particular types of carbohydrates found in various foods, which can be difficult for some people to digest and absorb, leading to gastrointestinal issues.
The fermentable characteristic of FODMAPs refers to their ability to be broken down and fermented by bacteria in the gut. [1, 2]
This fermentation process can produce gas and cause bloating, discomfort, and other digestive symptoms in individuals with FODMAP intolerance.
Oligosaccharides are carbohydrates made up of short chains of sugar molecules. [1, 2]
Examples of these include fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), commonly found in foods like wheat, rye, barley, onions, and legumes.
Disaccharides consist of two sugar molecules linked together, such as lactose. [1, 2]
This type of carbohydrate is commonly found in dairy products and can cause problems for those who are lactose intolerant.
Monosaccharides are single sugar molecules, like fructose. [1, 2]
Fructose is found in various fruits, honey, and high-fructose corn syrup. Those with fructose malabsorption may experience gastrointestinal issues when consuming foods high in fructose.
Polyols are sugar alcohols found in certain fruits and vegetables, as well as some artificial sweeteners. [1, 2]
Examples include sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol. People with polyol sensitivity can experience digestive symptoms upon consuming foods containing these substances.
What is FODMAP Intolerance?
FODMAP intolerance refers to the inability of some individuals to properly digest and absorb FODMAPs in their diet.
This leads to fermentation and gas production in the gut, causing symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
It is essential to note that FODMAP intolerance is not an allergy but rather a sensitivity to these carbohydrates.
How do you Test for FODMAP Intolerance?
FODMAP intolerance can be identified through a process called the elimination diet. This involves removing high-FODMAP foods from your diet for a few weeks and gradually reintroducing them to pinpoint which foods cause your symptoms. 
A healthcare professional or dietitian can guide you through this process.
Signs and Symptoms
- Bloating and abdominal discomfort after consuming certain foods.
- Gas and flatulence.
- Abdominal pain.
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- An increase in symptoms after consuming high-FODMAP foods.
- Relief after eliminating high-FODMAP foods.
- Feeling better after bowel movements.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms that impact daily life.
Taking Proactive Steps Safely
If you suspect FODMAP intolerance, consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant dietary changes. They can help guide you through the elimination diet process and ensure you maintain proper nutrition while discovering potential trigger foods. 
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A Closer Look at FODMAP Foods
FODMAPs can be found in a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy products, and artificial sweeteners. It is essential to be aware of which foods are high and low in FODMAPs to manage symptoms effectively.
Remember that everyone’s tolerance to FODMAPs is different. While some individuals may experience symptoms from consuming small amounts of high-FODMAP foods, others may tolerate them better.
It is crucial to find the right balance of FODMAP intake to manage symptoms while maintaining a nutritious and varied diet.
Are FODMAPs Safe to Remove?
For individuals with FODMAP intolerance, reducing or eliminating high-FODMAP foods can provide significant relief from symptoms.
However, it is important to ensure that you maintain a balanced and nutritious diet while eliminating FODMAPs. Consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian to ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional needs. 
High Side: Foods Not To Eat on the FODMAP Diet
Some common high-FODMAP foods to avoid include:
- Certain fruits such as apples, pears, cherries, mangoes, and watermelon.
- Vegetables like onions, garlic, cabbage, and cauliflower.
- Wheat, rye, and barley-based products.
- Legumes, including beans, lentils, and chickpeas.
- Dairy products containing lactose, such as milk, ice cream, and soft cheeses.
- Sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup, honey, and some sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, and mannitol).
Something to consider when cutting sugar out of your diet is that your body will go through a detoxification process. Check out this article on the Side Effects Of Detoxing From Sugar.
Low Side: What is on a Low FODMAP diet?
A low-FODMAP diet includes various foods that are unlikely to trigger symptoms in those with FODMAP intolerance. Theye typically include:
- Fruits like bananas, blueberries, grapes, oranges, and strawberries.
- Vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, green beans, bell peppers, and spinach.
- Gluten-free grains like rice, quinoa, and oats.
- Lactose-free dairy products or dairy alternatives, like almond milk or lactose-free yogurt.
- Meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.
- Nuts and seeds (except for cashews and pistachios which are on the high FODMAP side).
What are the most common FODMAP triggers?
The most common FODMAP triggers are certain types of carbohydrates that can lead to what is FODMAP intolerance.
These carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine, which can cause FODMAP intolerance symptoms, such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and even FODMAP symptoms fatigue.
Some typical FODMAP triggers include the examples covered in the High FODMAP Food section above. It is important to remember that individual sensitivity to these triggers can vary.
How do I get rid of FODMAP sensitivity?
Getting rid of FODMAP sensitivity or managing what is FODMAP intolerance involves identifying your specific triggers and following a personalised low-FODMAP diet to reduce your symptoms.
Here’s a step-by-step process to help alleviate FODMAP sensitivity:
• Consult a healthcare professional or dietitian – They can help you determine if FODMAP sensitivity is the cause of your symptoms and guide you through the process of identifying and managing your FODMAP triggers.
• Elimination phase – Remove all high-FODMAP foods from your diet for a period, usually around 4-8 weeks. This phase helps to determine if reducing FODMAP intake alleviates your symptoms.
• Reintroduction phase – Gradually reintroduce high-FODMAP foods, one at a time, to identify which ones trigger your symptoms. Keep a food diary to track your food intake and symptoms during this phase.
• Personalisation phase – After identifying your specific triggers, develop a personalised low-FODMAP diet that excludes or limits those foods. A dietitian can help you design a balanced diet that meets your nutritional needs while minimising symptoms.
• Monitor and adjust – Regularly assess your symptoms and diet to make any necessary adjustments. Some individuals may develop tolerance to certain FODMAPs over time, allowing for their reintroduction.
How long after eating FODMAPs do symptoms appear?
The timeframe for experiencing symptoms after eating FODMAPs can vary from person to person. Generally, symptoms related to what is FODMAP intolerance can appear anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours after consuming high-FODMAP foods.
However, the majority of individuals with FODMAP intolerance tend to experience symptoms within a few hours of consumption.
It’s important to keep a food diary to track your food intake and symptoms, as this can help you identify which specific FODMAPs trigger your symptoms and the timeframe within which they appear.
What is the difference between FODMAP and Gluten Free?
What is FODMAP intolerance and how does it differ from a gluten-free diet? FODMAPs are specific types of carbohydrates that can be difficult for some individuals to digest. FODMAP intolerance is a condition where a person experiences gastrointestinal symptoms, such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain, after consuming these types of carbohydrates.
On the other hand, a gluten-free diet is designed for individuals with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. A gluten-free diet aims to eliminate all gluten-containing foods to avoid triggering an autoimmune response in the case of celiac disease or causing symptoms related to gluten sensitivity.
The key difference between FODMAP and gluten-free lies in the types of foods and components targeted for elimination. A low-FODMAP diet focuses on reducing the intake of specific carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms, whereas a gluten-free diet eliminates gluten-containing grains and products. Although some foods may overlap between the two diets, they serve distinct purposes and address different digestive concerns.
What happens if you mess up on low FODMAP?
If you are supposed to be on a low FODMAP diet and you have a ‘cheat day’ where you consume high FODMAP foods you aren’t likely to do anything that will cause damage to your body. You will feel like rubbish for a while, but you can recover from this.
Does FODMAP reset your Gut?
After you have sought support from a suitably qualified specialist, a FODMAP diet tailored to your needs can help with resetting your gut. What is FODMAP intolerance, and how is this relevant? It is a condition where certain carbohydrates, known as FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols), can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain in sensitive individuals.
A low-FODMAP diet involves the temporary elimination of high-FODMAP foods to help identify which specific carbohydrates are responsible for causing these symptoms. Once the problematic FODMAPs have been identified, a personalised reintroduction phase follows, where foods are gradually added back into the diet, one at a time, to determine tolerance levels. This tailored approach helps to create a balanced, long-term diet plan that minimises gastrointestinal discomfort.
Does FODMAP reset your gut? In a way, it can. By following a low-FODMAP diet, individuals can give their gut a break from digesting problematic carbohydrates, potentially leading to a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in overall gut health. However, it is important to note that the low-FODMAP diet is not meant to be a permanent solution but rather a tool for understanding your body’s sensitivities and creating a personalised diet plan.
While a low-FODMAP diet can be beneficial for many individuals, it is essential to be aware of potential low FODMAP diet side effects. These can include nutrient deficiencies or an overly restrictive diet that may negatively impact one’s relationship with food. Therefore, it is crucial to work closely with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian when undertaking a low-FODMAP diet to ensure proper nutrition and guidance.
Understanding what is FODMAP intolerance is essential for those experiencing gastrointestinal issues.
By recognising the signs and symptoms, working with a healthcare professional to test for intolerance, and adjusting their diet accordingly, individuals can find relief from their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life.
It’s essential to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all cure for FODMAP intolerance. Following the guidance of a healthcare professional can help manage your FODMAP sensitivity effectively and improve your overall well-being.
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Last Updated on 2 months by D&C Editorial Team