Struggling with bloating and gas? You need to try a low FODMAP diet

Updated on: 19 March 2021, 18:34 pm IST

If digestion issues are plaguing you, then you need to read about a low FODMAP diet which can help you deal with bloating, flatulence, and even IBS.

low FODMAP diet
A low FODMAP diet can come to your gut health’s rescue. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Don’t be overwhelmed by the term FODMAP. Better referred to as  Fermentable Oligosachharides, Diasaccharides, Monosachharides and Polyols—these are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols, which are found in the foods we eat.

FODMAPs are sugars that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and reach the large intestine where they produce gas and attract water, resulting in abdominal pain, digestive distress and bloating. This can affect individuals who are sensitive to such foods, emotionally and mentally lowering the productivity and performance in daily life.

FODMAPs are found in everyday foods including specific dairy products, wheat and other grains, fruits and vegetables.

The FODMAP diet can be great for your gut

Individuals who are diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) or SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) are usually put on a low FODMAP diet along with other supplements and medication if any. But if you are prone to digestive issues like bloating, stomach pain, and flatulence, restricting high FODMAP foods can help.

low FODMAP diet
You need to keep things as simple as possible for a healthy gut! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

A strict FODMAP diet is commonly followed for at least 6 weeks (which is more restrictive) and then depending on the patient response is slowly graduated to a less restrictive one. Remember the concept of bio-individuality is very essential here and these foods are not usually the cause of the said conditions but managing them in the diet provides relief of the symptoms and can help heal the body faster.

Here’s how you can go on a low FODMAP diet, food group by food group 
Food Group : Cereals and pulses 

Foods to eat

Cereals: White rice, rice atta (as bhakri, roti, dosa), rice sevai, white poha, kurmura (as bhel/chivda); red rice, brown rice, red poha (as poha chivda); corn (as boiled corn/cornflakes); sabudana; idli; and dosa (made of rice and urad dal).

Pulses (in small quantity): mung dal, tur dal, urad dal

In limited quantity: Nachni (ragi), jowar, bajra, rajgira, quinoa, oats (e.g. white oats, homemade masala oats, or oats chilla/dosa)

Foods to avoid 

Cereals: Wheat and wheat products (e.g. chapatti, dalia, bread, wheat flakes, muesli); maida products (e.g. pasta, noodles, biscuits, crackers & baked foods); semolina/rava (e.g. rava upma/idli/dosa), barley, and rye.

low FODMAP diet
Having a bowl of pulses daily is not a must. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Pulses: Whole pulses (rajma, mung, matki, chole, chavli, chana); sprouts (mung, matki, masoor, chana); dals/lentils (tur dal, urad dal, mung dal, chana dal) and flour (e.g. besan, sattu powder); chilla (made from besan or mixed pulses); soya and soya products (soya chunks, soya granules, tofu, soya milk); hummus, baked beans.

Food group: Fruits and juices

Foods to eat: Orange, mosambi, kiwi, grapes, grapefruit, banana, pineapple, berries, lime/lemon

Foods to avoid: Apples, pears, guava, papaya, lychee, mango, watermelon, custard apple, apricots, cherries, avocado, peaches, plums, prunes, and blackberries; dates; figs; and all fruit juices (since they are concentrated in sugar e.g. fructose)

Food group: Vegetables

Foods to eat: A mix of green vegetables and starchy vegetables, like:

  • Leafy vegetables (e.g. palak, methi), capsicum, red and yellow bell peppers, brinjal (eggplant), tomato, carrot, cucumber;
  • Green part of spring onion, bok choy, bamboo shoot, zucchini, celery, lettuce, pumpkin, olives.
  • Onion in small quantities.
  • Starchy vegetables like sweet potato, arbi, suran, and potato
low FODMAP diet
Sweet potatoes have benefits galore. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Foods to avoid: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, Brussels sprouts, mushroom, bhindi, green beans (e.g. French beans), leeks, artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, fennel, peas, onion/shallot, white part of spring onion.

Food group: Nuts and seeds 

Foods to eat: Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, flaxseeds or flaxseed powder

Occasional: Almond butter, almond milk, peanut butter (without sugar)

Less quantity: Pine nuts, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds

Foods to avoid: Coconut, Coconut milk, Pistachios, Cashew

Food group: Condiments 

Foods to eat: Vinegar; balsamic vinegar; apple cider vinegar; tomato ketchup; mustard sauce; most spices and herbs; salt; pepper; coriandermint; sugar; maple syrup without high fructose corn syrup (HFCS); stevia and other sweeteners without sugar alcohols.

In limited quantity: Soya sauce and jaggery

Foods to avoid: Honey, jams, jellies; pickles; chutneys with coconut, garlic, onion; marinara sauce (containing tomato, garlic, onion & herbs); any food product containing HFCS or molasses; sugar alcohols (e.g. sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, xylitol, isomalt) found in sweeteners; chewing gums; cough drops; mints; no high-fat foods.

low FODMAP diet
Too much honey isn’t sweet for your health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Food group: Dairy and beverages

Foods to eat: Depending on individual tolerance; limited quantity of foods with low/minimal lactose content; Paneer/cottage cheese (ideally zero-fat); curd (yoghurt); buttermilk/chaas

Foods to avoid: Tea; coffee or any caffeine containing foods; milk, flavoured milk/lassi; custard; milk powder; certain cheeses (e.g. soft unripened cheeses); whipped cream; sour cream; ice cream; chocolates; sweets/desserts containing milk; sauces/dressings with milk/yoghurt/cream/cheese

Karishma Chawla Karishma Chawla

As a celebrity nutritionist, Karishma has built and evolved her decade long practice with a clear focus on the gut microbiome and hormones as a way to help raise metabolism in order to make your body work for you to achieve a healthy weight. And as a lifestyle and functional medicine coach, Karishma helps you understand your lifestyle triggers and guides you to find that much coveted mind-body balance.

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