What Foods Should I Avoid on the Low FODMAP Diet

Many people who follow the low FODMAP diet wonder which foods they should avoid. To address this question, let’s consider the case of Sarah, a woman with irritable bowel syndrome.

Sarah noticed that after consuming certain fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and processed foods, her symptoms worsened. This prompted her to research the low FODMAP diet and discover which foods to avoid.

In this article, we will explore the foods that are high in FODMAPs and should be limited or avoided on the low FODMAP diet.

Key Takeaways

  • High-FODMAP fruits to avoid on the low FODMAP diet include apples, pears, cherries, watermelon, mangoes, and blackberries.
  • Certain vegetables like garlic, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, and asparagus should be replaced with low FODMAP alternatives such as garlic-infused oil, spring onion greens, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, tofu, tempeh, eggplant, green beans, or bok choy.
  • Legumes and pulses like chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans should be swapped for low FODMAP options like tofu, tempeh, or edamame.
  • Dairy products, especially milk and ice cream, should be avoided or consumed in small quantities due to their high lactose content. Lactose-free alternatives such as lactose-free milk, yogurt, and cheese, as well as calcium alternatives like fortified plant-based milks, leafy greens, and canned fish with bones, can be used. Portion control is also important when consuming dairy products.

High-FODMAP Fruits

High-FODMAP fruits should be avoided on the low FODMAP diet. These fruits contain high levels of fermentable carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms in individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive disorders.

Some examples of high-FODMAP fruits include apples, pears, cherries, watermelon, and mangoes. However, it’s important to note that there are plenty of low FODMAP fruit alternatives available. These fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and oranges, can be enjoyed in moderation without causing digestive discomfort.

Managing fructose intolerance is also crucial when it comes to selecting fruits. Choosing fruits with a lower fructose content, such as kiwi, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits, can help individuals with fructose intolerance still enjoy the benefits of consuming fruits while minimizing symptoms.

Certain Vegetables

There are several vegetables that should be avoided on the low FODMAP diet. These vegetables contain high levels of FODMAPs, which are carbohydrates that can trigger digestive symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). To help maintain a low FODMAP diet, it’s important to be aware of these vegetables and find suitable alternatives.

Here are four vegetables to avoid and their low FODMAP substitutes:

  • Garlic and onion: These can be replaced with garlic-infused oil or the green part of spring onions.
  • Broccoli and cauliflower: Swap these for vegetables like zucchini, carrots, or bell peppers.
  • Mushrooms: Consider using tofu, tempeh, or eggplant instead.
  • Asparagus: Try swapping it for green beans or bok choy.

When cooking low FODMAP vegetables, it’s best to use gentle cooking techniques such as steaming, boiling, or stir-frying. These methods help retain the vegetables’ nutrients while minimizing the potential for triggering IBS symptoms.

Legumes and Pulses

Legumes and pulses can be problematic for individuals on the low FODMAP diet due to their high FODMAP content, but there are suitable alternatives available. These plant-based protein sources are often a staple in many diets, but for those with digestive issues, they can cause discomfort and bloating. The high levels of FODMAPs found in legumes and pulses, such as chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans, can ferment in the gut and lead to digestive symptoms. However, there are low FODMAP options that can still provide the necessary nutrients. For example, tofu, tempeh, and edamame are excellent alternatives that offer plant-based protein without the high FODMAP content. By incorporating these alternatives, individuals on the low FODMAP diet can still enjoy the benefits of plant-based protein sources while minimizing digestive issues.

High FODMAP Legumes and Pulses Low FODMAP Alternatives
Chickpeas Tofu
Lentils Tempeh
Kidney beans Edamame

Dairy Products

Individuals on the low FODMAP diet should be cautious when consuming dairy products. While dairy products can be a great source of calcium, they can also be problematic for those with lactose intolerance. Here are four things to consider when it comes to dairy products on the low FODMAP diet:

  1. Lactose content: Some dairy products, such as milk and ice cream, contain high levels of lactose. These should be avoided or consumed in small quantities.
  2. Lactose-free options: Fortunately, there are lactose-free alternatives available for those with lactose intolerance. These include lactose-free milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  3. Calcium alternatives: If you need to limit or avoid dairy products altogether, there are other sources of calcium you can incorporate into your diet. These include fortified plant-based milks, leafy greens, and canned fish with bones.
  4. Portion control: If you choose to consume dairy products, it’s important to pay attention to portion sizes. Small amounts of dairy may be better tolerated compared to larger servings.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before making any significant changes to your diet.

Wheat and Gluten

When it comes to following the low FODMAP diet, individuals should be mindful of their consumption of wheat and gluten-containing products. Wheat and gluten are commonly found in many foods and can cause digestive issues for those with FODMAP sensitivities.

To adhere to the low FODMAP diet, individuals can opt for gluten-free alternatives such as rice, quinoa, and oats. It’s important to read labels carefully, as wheat and gluten can be hidden in various processed foods, sauces, and condiments.

Some common hidden sources of gluten include soy sauce, salad dressings, and packaged snacks. By being aware of these hidden sources and choosing gluten-free alternatives, individuals can successfully navigate the low FODMAP diet and manage their symptoms effectively.

Sweeteners and Artificial Additives

To continue addressing dietary considerations on the low FODMAP diet, it’s important to be cautious of the consumption of sweeteners and artificial additives. While these additives may enhance the taste and appearance of foods, they can also trigger symptoms in individuals with sensitive digestive systems.

Here are four things to keep in mind when it comes to sweeteners and artificial additives on the low FODMAP diet:

  1. Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol can be problematic for those following the low FODMAP diet. They’re commonly found in sugar-free gums, mints, candies, and some processed foods.
  2. Hidden Sources: Sweeteners and artificial additives can hide in unexpected places, such as condiments, sauces, and salad dressings. Always read labels carefully and look out for ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and maltitol.
  3. Natural Alternatives: Instead of using artificial sweeteners, opt for natural alternatives like stevia, maple syrup, or rice malt syrup. These are generally considered low FODMAP and can be used in moderation.
  4. Moderation is Key: While some natural sweeteners are allowed on the low FODMAP diet, it’s still important to consume them in moderation. Large amounts of any sweetener can potentially cause digestive discomfort.

Processed and Packaged Foods

Continuing from the previous subtopic, it is important to be mindful of processed and packaged foods while following the low FODMAP diet. These foods often contain hidden sources of FODMAPs, which can trigger symptoms in individuals with sensitive digestive systems. It is crucial to carefully read labels and ingredient lists to identify potential FODMAP-containing ingredients. Additionally, cross-contamination risks should be taken into consideration. Some processed and packaged foods may be manufactured in facilities that also process high FODMAP ingredients, leading to potential contamination. To navigate this, individuals should look for products that are certified as low FODMAP or labeled as suitable for a low FODMAP diet. By being vigilant and informed about hidden sources and cross contamination risks, individuals following the low FODMAP diet can make choices that support their digestive health.

Hidden Sources Cross Contamination Risks
Wheat Gluten-containing grains
Garlic Onion
High fructose corn syrup Fructose
Honey Oligosaccharides


In conclusion, it’s important to avoid high-FODMAP fruits, certain vegetables, legumes and pulses, dairy products, wheat and gluten, as well as sweeteners and artificial additives when following the low FODMAP diet.

Additionally, processed and packaged foods should be limited. It’s crucial to adhere to these dietary restrictions in order to manage symptoms associated with digestive disorders.

Remember, ‘an apple a day may keep the doctor away,’ but not if you’re on a low FODMAP diet!


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