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Learning About the Low-FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is the low-FODMAP diet?

A low FODMAP diet can be a way to help manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You stop eating high-FODMAP foods for 2 to 8 weeks. Then you slowly add them back to see how your body reacts.

This is called an elimination diet. A dietitian or doctor can help you follow this diet.

FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that can be hard for your body to digest. They are in many types of foods. FODMAP stands for:

  • F ermentable.
  • O ligosaccharides.
  • D isaccharides.
  • M onosaccharides.
  • A nd p olyols.

If you have digestive problems, some of these foods can make your symptoms worse. When you are on this diet, you can still eat certain fruits and vegetables. You can also eat certain grains, meats, fish, lactose-free milks, fats, oils, and infused oils. You can flavour your foods with single herbs and spices. This helps to avoid mixed spice blends that may contain garlic and/or onion seasonings.

What is it used for?

This diet is used to help manage symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The diet limits foods that are high in FODMAPs.

High-FODMAP foods can be hard to digest. They pull more fluid into your intestines. They are also easily fermented. This can lead to bloating, belly pain, gas, and diarrhea.

The low-FODMAP diet can help you figure out what foods to avoid. And it can help you find foods that are easier to digest.

This diet can help with IBS symptoms. But it's not a cure. You will still need to manage your condition.

How does it work?

At first, you won't eat any high-FODMAP foods for a few weeks.

It can be helpful to work with a dietitian who is trained in the low-FODMAP diet when you try this diet. They can help you find recipes and FODMAP food lists to use while you are on the diet.

After 2 to 8 weeks, you will start to try high-FODMAP foods again. You will add those foods back to your diet, one at a time. Your doctor or dietitian will probably have you wait a few days before you add each new food.

Keep a food journal. You can write down the foods you try and note how they make you feel.

After a few weeks, you may have a better idea of what foods you should avoid and what foods you can eat without triggering IBS symptoms.

What are the risks?

There is some risk of not getting some of the vitamins and minerals you need while following the low-FODMAP diet. However, this risk is low due to the short term (2-8 week) length of this temporary diet.

This diet may limit your fibre intake. Try to plan your meals to include low-FODMAP sources of fibre, such as:



Fibre (g)

Chia seeds

2 Tbsp (30ml) 7.4
Flax seeds, whole 2 Tbsp (30ml) 5.8
Quinoa, cooked1 cup (250ml) 5.5
Lentils, canned1/2 cup (125ml) 4.2
Flax seeds, ground 2 Tbsp (30ml) 3.9
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup (250ml) 3.1
Oats, dry 30 g (1/3 cup)
(amount to make
175 ml (3/4 cup cooked)
Oat bran, dry 2 Tbsp (30ml) 1.3

What foods are on the low-FODMAP diet?

To see food lists to guide you through the low-FODMAP diet process, see Low FODMAP Eating. Or visit and enter "Low FODMAP" into the search box.

This list doesn't include all high and low FODMAP foods. For a complete list, you can buy the FODMAP diet app. Or search Low FODMAP in any search engine.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

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