Low Fodmap Diet – Everything you need to know about itJune 27, 2022
The low FODMAP diet is probably better known in the medical field, because according to numerous studies, the diet helps to alleviate irritable bowel symptoms and immensely improve the quality of life of those affected. If you’ve never heard of FODMAP, you’re probably in the dark, because the name doesn’t give you any clues about what the diet looks like. But don’t worry, we’ll tell you all the details!
- What is the Low FODMAP Diet?
- How does FODMAP work?
- These are the foods you can eat on the Low FODMAP diet.
- Foods to avoid on the Low FODMAP Diet
- Are oat flakes low FODMAP?
- Basic recipe gluten-free oatmeal
- Porridge Smoothie Bowl Strawberry-Raspberry
- Low-calorie porridge with courgette and oat flakes
- This is why Low FODMAP helps with irritable bowel syndrome.
- Breakfast on a low FODMAP diet
What is the Low FODMAP Diet?
The Low FODMAP Diet, often just the FODMAP Diet, is the most researched diet for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). According to the literature, it is a diet that is particularly effective for IBS symptoms. Up to 88% of IBS sufferers report improvement with the low FODMAP diet. Although the dietary change cannot completely cure IBS, it can significantly improve the quality of life of patients.
Sounds promising – but what exactly is the FODMAP diet? The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.
For most people this is just a string of foreign words, but in principle these are short-chain carbohydrates that the small intestine can only absorb very poorly. Fermentation processes in the intestine can cause flatulence, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Some of them are indigestible because the corresponding enzyme is missing.
The majority of carbohydrates that are fermented during the digestive process are so-called fructans. They are mainly found in plant products and are often a component of ready-to-eat meals. Foods that fall into these categories include various grains, dairy products, pulses and specific fruits and vegetables.
The Low FODMAP diet should only be used by people who are affected by IBS. In addition, a dietitian should accompany the process. FODMAP is not suitable as a long-term diet, but more on that in a moment.
How does FODMAP work?
The Low FODMAP diet is divided into three phases:
In the elimination phase of the FODMAP diet, all foods that are considered high in FODMAPs are avoided for 6-8 weeks. The aim of this is to reduce irritable bowel symptoms and give the gut a chance to settle down. If the symptoms do not improve during this period, affected patients should choose another form of therapy.
After all FODMAP-rich foods have been banned from the diet, they are reintroduced into the diet step by step in this phase. In this way, patients should find out their individual tolerance threshold for different food groups. If symptoms reappear when a certain food is reintroduced, it is important to avoid it. In this phase, IBS sufferers work out their own personal food plan. The list of tolerated foods varies from person to person.
If symptoms occur with a food, it should be avoided at first and can be tested again at a later time. Therefore, the time period for the second phase of the FODMAP diet is variable.
FODMAP long-term diet
Based on the knowledge and experience gained from the second phase of the diet, the third and final phase develops an individual dietary pattern that should be followed by IBS sufferers over the long term. It is possible that the tolerance of individual foods changes over time, so those affected can try to include them in their diet again after some time.
By sticking to the FODMAP long-term diet for a long time, IBS patients can basically keep the symptoms at bay quite well. However, it is important to emphasise that the FODMAP diet cannot cure the cause of IBS.
Since a one-sided diet that excludes certain foods can carry the risk of nutrient deficiencies, the FODMAP diet should only be followed under medical or dietary supervision.
These are the foods you can eat on the Low FODMAP diet.
The major food groups that should be avoided on the low FODMAP diet include various grains, fruits, dairy products, nuts and seeds, and various herbs. However, this does not mean that these food groups are forbidden per se – quite the opposite. In each category, there are also foods that have a low FODMAP content and can therefore be eaten without hesitation. These include:
- Cereals and starchy foods: oats, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, rice, spelt, einkorn, potatoes, tofu/tempeh.
- Vegetables: fennel, carrots, pumpkin, kohlrabi, melanzani, peppers, chard, radishes, lettuce, spinach, tomato, courgette
- Fruit: pineapple, bananas, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, lemons, limes, melons, oranges, tangerines, grapes
- Nuts and seeds: Peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, chia seeds, linseeds.
- Milk and dairy products: plant-based milk alternatives or lactose-free dairy products
- Sweeteners: maple syrup, rice syrup
- Herbs and spices: all green herbs, ginger, vinegar, chives
- Drinks: herbal tea, mineral water, green tea, white tea, a maximum of three cups of coffee per day.
In general, your low FODMAP diet should be rich in fibre (/blog/ernaehrung/ballaststoffe-ernaehrung/), as this has a positive effect on intestinal health. Oat flakes, seeds and many vegetables are particularly rich in fibre.
Foods to avoid on the Low FODMAP Diet
Foods that are high in FODMAP and should therefore be avoided at all costs are:
- Grains and starchy foods: barley, rye, wheat and the flours made from these grains, pea and lupin flours, green spelt, bulgur, couscous, soya, sweet potato.
- Vegetables: cauliflower, peas, chickpeas, artichokes, leeks, lentils, mushrooms, olives, asparagus, beetroot, onion, pointed cabbage, radicchio. Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, white cabbage, savoy cabbage, sugar snap peas as well as large quantities of maize, broccoli, (stalk) celery.
- Fruit: apples, apricots, pears, blackberries, currants, cherries, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, plums, watermelons.
- Nuts and seeds: Cashews, pistachios, in large quantities also peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and walnuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Milk and dairy products: all foods containing lactose
- Sweeteners: agave syrup, honey, sugar substitutes such as maltitol, sorbitol, xylitol.
- Herbs and spices: Garlic, onion, shallots, horseradish, ready-made spices and mixed spices.
- Drinks: fruit juices, fennel tea, camomile tea, black tea, beer, wine, sparkling wine, liqueurs
In addition, convenience foods and ready-made sauces and dips have a high FODMAP content. Processed fish and meat products should also be avoided. So if you are on a low FODMAP diet, it is best to buy unprocessed food and cook it yourself.
Those who suffer from IBS and choose the FODMAP diet to relieve symptoms should follow the dietary rules as strictly as possible to achieve improvement. Therefore, when shopping, read the ingredient list of the food before it ends up in your shopping trolley. They often contain sweeteners that are high in FODMAP. Pay particular attention to agave, fructose, fruit juice concentrate honey, isomalt, lactose, corn syrup, mannitol, molasses, sorbitol and xylitol.
Are oat flakes low FODMAP?
Oat flakes are an essential part of a healthy breakfast for breakfast fans. The question of whether oat flakes are low FODMAP is therefore a valid one.
Good news: Oat flakes are indeed low FODMAP and quite suitable for people with intestinal complaints.
Oat flakes contain a lot of fibre, which is good for digestion and protects the gut. They are known to bind harmful substances and thus maintain a healthy intestinal flora.
Even our grandmothers knew about the positive effect of oats, because porridge or oatmeal has long been considered a proven household remedy for gastrointestinal complaints.
Low FODMAP Breakfast Recipes
An absolute classic among breakfast recipes is porridge. The basic recipe for gluten-free porridge consists of just two ingredients: Oat flakes and water or vegetable drink. By choosing low FODMAP toppings, the dietary rules of the diet can be easily followed.
Basic recipe gluten-free oatmeal
- 60 g gluten-free oat flakes or a gluten-free porridge mix
- 250 ml water, milk or gluten-free vegetable drink (e.g. rice drink)
- toppings of your choice
- Put the gluten-free oat flakes or porridge mix in a pot and then add the liquid (water, milk, gluten-free vegetable drink).
- Then boil the porridge for 3 to 5 minutes.
- When the porridge starts to become creamy, take it off the heat and let it sit for another 1 minute.
- You can refine the gluten-free oatmeal with various toppings of your choice. Fruit, various seeds and nuts are suitable for this.
Anyone who likes it particularly fruity should definitely try our sugar-free Porridge Smoothie Bowl Strawberry-Raspberry.
Porridge Smoothie Bowl Strawberry-Raspberry
- 50 g Verival Porridge Smoothie Bowl Strawberry-Raspberry
- 120 ml water, milk or plant drink
- 30 g strawberries
- 20 g raspberries
- First pour 50g of the Verival Porridge Smoothie Bowl mixture in the strawberry-raspberry flavour into a bowl.
- Next, add about 120 ml of a liquid of your choice (water, cold or warm milk or plant drink) to the bowl and mix well.
- Then let the Porridge Smoothie Bowl soak for one minute.
- Now you can refine the Smoothie Bowl with various toppings of your choice. Fresh or frozen berries, for example, go perfectly with this Smoothie Bowl. You can also use different seeds or nuts as toppings.
Another low FODMAP recipe that is also a real vitamin bomb:
Low-calorie porridge with courgette and oat flakes
- 40 g oat flakes
- 1/2-1 courgette
- 30 g protein powder (optional flavour)
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 300 ml water
- 1 pinch salt
- First grate the courgettes into small pieces. It’s best to grate them straight into the pot.
- Then add the oat flakes and the protein powder.
- Next, add the water to the pot and a teaspoon of coconut flour. The coconut flour makes the porridge nice and creamy and binds it together.
- Now put your porridge on the cooker and cook it for about 7 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring well.
- When your porridge is already creamy, take it off the heat and let it sit for another 2-3 minutes. After that, your delicious porridge is ready without many calories.
- Of course, you can now refine your porridge with toppings of your choice, such as fresh fruit, nuts or seeds.
This is why Low FODMAP helps with irritable bowel syndrome.
As mentioned briefly at the beginning of this article, the foods that are removed from the diet in the Low FODMAP diet have been shown to cause flatulence, diarrhoea and abdominal pain during the digestive process.
More specifically, they increase the water content of the small intestine, which can lead to these symptoms. In addition, FODMAPs are fermented in the large intestine by intestinal bacteria. This can also lead to the typical IBS symptoms.
By completely eliminating these foods from the diet for the first few weeks, sufferers give their intestines a chance to recover. A healthy and symptom-free gut is the starting point for the reintroduction phase.
By gradually adding individual foods, sufferers quickly notice which FODMAPs trigger symptoms and should therefore be avoided. In this way, an individual diet is created that is tailored to the needs of the person with the disease.
Those who stick to this diet and ban intolerable foods from their diet can, in the best case, live symptom-free. However, the diet only treats the symptoms and not the cause of IBS.
Breakfast on a low FODMAP diet
Are you looking for a suitable breakfast that is Low FODMAP compliant? In our large breakfast range you will find a variety of suitable breakfast products. For example, our Sport Protein Porridge Cocoa-Banana and Raspberry-Cocoa as well as our Classic Porridge and Kids Porridge Cocoa-Banana are suitable.
Our Oat Crunchy and our Corn Wafers and Rice Wafers are also suitable for a low FODMAP breakfast. Simply browse through our range and find the right breakfast for your diet.
Heinrich, H. März, 2021. Low-FODMAP-Diät – Lösung aller Probleme?. Schweizer Gastroenterologie Volume 2, 24–29 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43472-021-00035-1