Low FODMAP pasta: exploring nutritious options and tasty recipes

Low FODMAP pasta: exploring nutritious options and tasty recipes

Pasta is an easy and versatile mealtime option that can satisfy the whole family and makes great leftovers.  Unfortunately, traditional pasta is also the source of gas and bloating for a lot of people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome.  Thankfully though, low FODMAP pasta is readily available so pasta lovers on the low FODMAP diet need not give up their favourite dish.

Today we’ll explore low FODMAP pasta varieties and common brands, tips for getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, and tempting recipes that will leave you with a serious pasta craving.

What is low FODMAP pasta?

As you might already know, our bodies don’t digest FODMAPs so they end up in the large intestine where bacteria break them down and release gas as a by-product in a process called fermentation.  Traditional wheat pasta contains fructans, which is a highly fermentable FODMAP and the main culprit in post-pasta belly bloat.

Therefore, low FODMAP pasta is any pasta noodle not made from wheat, and instead made from grains (and pulses) that are low in FODMAPs.

It’s easy to assume that low FODMAP pasta must be gluten-free pasta since the latter is always wheat-free, but there’s a catch.  Some gluten-free pasta is made with high FODMAP ingredients such as amaranth flour, black bean flour and lentil flour.  This is why it’s important to check food labels to ensure your pasta is indeed low FODMAP.

How to pick low FODMAP pasta?

Since you can’t completely rely on gluten-free pasta also being low FODMAP, here are some steps to take to strengthen your odds of selecting a true low FODMAP pasta.

1. Start with gluten-free

When choosing a low FODMAP option, first look for pastas advertised as gluten-free. These should be easy to find as many pasta companies now make gluten-free varieties, and most neighbourhood grocery stores sell gluten-free products.

2. Check for certified low FODMAP pasta

Next, scan the package for low FODMAP certification.  Monash University and Fodmap Friendly both have low FODMAP certification programs that guarantee a product is low FODMAP based on lab testing.  The two symbols below represent these certifications.

Schar is a company that makes low FODMAP pasta which has been certified low FODAMP by Monash.

Low fodmap certification symbols by monash university and fodmap friendly

3. Refer to the Monash FODMAP app

If you can’t locate one of these certification symbols, then check the Monash FODMAP app.  The app will tell you which types of pasta are low FODMAP and at what serving sizes.

Common low FODMAP pasta varieties per the Monash FODMAP app:

  • Brown rice pasta
  • Chickpea pasta (up to 1 cup cooked per the app)
  • Gluten-free pasta made with corn and rice flour
  • Quinoa pasta
  • Soba noodles (100% buckwheat pasta noodles)
  • Wheat pasta – yup, you read that correctly!  One half cup cooked wheat pasta is low FODMAP, so if you steal a few penne from your husband’s plate while eating out on the low FODMAP diet, you should be fine.

4. Read the ingredients list

The next step involves referring to the ingredients list.  If any of the following flours are listed in the first 3 ingredients, it’s possible that the pasta is not low FODMAP, so put it back on the shelf and slowly back away:

  • Amaranth flour
  • Soy flour
  • Red lentil flour
  • Black bean flour

When shopping for soba noodles (traditionally made from buckwheat flour), always check the ingredients list as many soba noodle products contain wheat flour. Ideally, you’re looking for soba noodles made from 100% buckwheat flour.

Infographic explaining how to pick low fodmap pasta

Who knew choosing a low FODMAP pasta could be so difficult? Ya, I know. That’s why I included a list of dietitian-reviewed low FODMAP pasta options below.

Low FODMAP pasta brands

Your nearby grocery store will likely sell at least a few gluten-free varieties of common pasta brands.  For more selection, pop into larger grocery stores, or dedicated gluten-free or specialty food shops.  Failing that, there’s always Amazon.

Examples of low FODMAP pasta:

  • Barilla gluten-free (elbows, fettuccine, lasagna, penne, rotini, spaghetti)
  • Catelli gluten-free (fusilli, spaghetti, penne, macaroni, linguine)
  • Eden (100% buckwheat soba noodles)
  • Explore Cuisine (chickpea fusilli)
  • GoGo Quinoa (macaroni, lasagna, spaghetti, fusilli)
  • ItalPasta gluten-free (fusilli, penne, spaghetti, lasagna)
  • Jovial gluten-free (spaghetti, penne, fusilli, elbows, capellini, farfalle, lasagna, shells, fettuccini, manicotti) – Check Jovial’s website for store locations in Canada (eg. in Ottawa: Herb & Spice, Whole Foods)
  • La Molisana gluten-free (fusilli, penne, spaghetti)
  • President’s Choice gluten-free (spaghetti, penne, fusilli, macaroni)
  • Rizopia gluten-free (elbows, shells, lasagna, fusilli, fettuccini, spaghetti, penne)
  • Rummo gluten free (potato gnocchi, penne, elbows, fusilli, rigatoni, linguine, elicoidali, spaghetti, stelline). Rummo also makes a gluten-free chickpea and brown rice fusilli that’s higher in fibre.
  • Schar gluten-free (fusilli, penne, spaghetti) – Monash certified low FODMAP
  • Tinkyada gluten-free (elbows, shells, penne, fusilli, spirals, spaghetti, fettuccini)

Tips for making healthy pasta meals

Processing wheat into flour results in a loss of micronutrients such as iron, folate, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.  In Canada, these nutrients must be added back into the flour in a process called “enrichment“.

Unfortunately, Health Canada does not require gluten-free flours to be enriched, so gluten-free low FODMAP pasta can be a little low on micronutrients.  It can also suffer from low fibre content, which doesn’t align well with the goal of eating high fibre low FODMAP foods during the elimination phase of the diet.

So, after identifying a few low FODMAP pasta options you’d like to try, check the nutrition facts table and opt for the higher fibre option.

A few fibre and nutrition standouts include: GoGo Quinoa’s fusilli and macaroni, (6g fibre per 85g dry pasta), Explore Cuisine’s chickpea pasta (9g fibre per 85g pasta) and Rummo’s chickpea and brown rice fusilli (4g fibre per 85g dry pasta).

In addition to choosing higher fibre pasta, there are a few tricks to whipping up healthy pasta meals:

  • Bump up the fibre by adding some canned and rinsed lentils or chickpeas to the meal – for example: replacing half the ground beef with lentils in spaghetti.
  • Create a balanced meal that looks like a mash up of the healthy plate model: 1/2 plate vegetables, 1/4 plate whole grains, 1/4 plate protein.
  • Add lots of vegetables to your pasta.
  • Aim for a similar ratio of pasta to protein when using meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • If you’re preparing a vegan or vegetarian pasta dish, opt for chickpea pasta as it’s a good source of protein.
  • Have a side salad when making recipes that don’t call for many vegetables (eg. pasta carbonara).

Low FODMAP pasta sauces

Pasta meals rely on sauces that are often chock-full of garlic and onion.  In the case of cream sauces, they may also contain lactose.  There are two solutions to this conundrum: make sauce from scratch and omit garlic and onion, or buy pre-prepared low FODMAP sauces.

Pasta sauce from scratch

Pre-prepared pasta sauce

  • Fody Foods makes low FODMAP pasta sauces: marinara, tomato basil, vegan bolognese, arrabbiata.
  • Rao’s Homemade Sensitive Marinara – no garlic or onions (on Amazon.ca for Canadians).
  • Prego Sensitive traditional tomato pasta sauce – no garlic or onions (available in the US)

So without further ado, let’s explore the wonderful world of low FODMAP pasta recipes.

Tempting low FODMAP pasta recipes

This first low FODMAP pasta recipe is from a collection of healthy and delicious recipes available in my low FODMAP meal plans.  These 5-day meal plans provide highly customizable low FODMAP meals and snacks that will help keep you organized as you navigate the low FODMAP diet.

If you peek below my recipe, you’ll find a curated list of other enticing low FODMAP pasta recipes that will show you just how many delicious options exist on the low FODMAP diet.

Bowl of low fodmap noodles with peanut sauce

Low FODMAP vegetable noodle bowl with peanut sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu chopped into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups green beans tips cut off
  • 6 oz soba noodles (100% buckwheat)
  • 1 pepper, red sliced
  • 5 green onions chopped, green tips only
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil garlic-infused
  • 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 lime cut into wedges

Peanut sauce

  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 6 Tbsp water warm
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter creamy
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (3 limes juiced)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce

Instructions
 

Peanut sauce instructions

  • Grate the ginger. Whisk all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Prepare noodles, tofu and vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Prepare noodles according to their package instructions.
  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange 1" tofu cubes in a single layer on one of the baking sheets, and green beans on the second baking sheet. Spray both lightly with cooking oil.
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then remove green beans. Bake tofu for another 20 minutes until golden brown. Set both aside when done.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil on medium heat in saute pan. Saute green onions until soft.
  • Add sliced peppers to saute pan and saute until al dente, then turn heat to low and add tofu, green beans, peanut sauce (see directions above) and amount of cooked noodles desired. Stir well to coat in peanut sauce and cook until warmed through.
  • Serve topped with diced cilantro and lime wedges.
Keyword low fodmap pasta

Meat-based pasta

Seafood-based pasta

Vegetarian pasta

Vegan pasta

  1. One pot veggie pappardelle vegan bolognese
  2. 30 minute green pasta recipe with kale
  3. Sweet and sticky ginger buckwheat noodles

Asian-inspired pasta & noodles

  1. Thai peanut noodles
  2. Vegan soba noodle salad
  3. Asian chicken noodle salad
  4. Soba miso soup with bok choy and jammy eggs

Pasta salads

  1. Macaroni slaw
  2. Macaroni salad
  3. Mediterranean pasta salad

Spaghetti squash pasta

  1. Spaghetti squash with fried eggplant
  2. Spaghetti squash lasagna
  3. Spaghetti squash enchilada
Collage of 6 images of low fodmap pasta recipes

Final Thoughts

By understanding which pasta varieties are low FODMAP and choosing nutritious options like quinoa and chickpea pasta, people can enjoy healthy and gut-friendly pasta meals on the low FODMAP diet.  And with so many enticing recipes available, there’s bound to be a low FODMAP pasta dish you’ll love.

Struggling to implement the low FODMAP diet?  Consider working with an IBS dietitian who can help you navigate the ins and outs of the low FODMAP diet. Keren is Monash FODMAP-trained and has years of experience helping people manage their IBS.  Click here to book a complimentary 15-minute call to connect with Keren and learn about working together.

15 Low FODMAP Breakfast Ideas for Better Digestion

15 Low FODMAP Breakfast Ideas for Better Digestion

If you’re living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may have heard of the low FODMAP diet. This evidence-based therapeutic diet is designed to help you get relief from common IBS symptoms like gas, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.

 

While beneficial, the low FODMAP diet isn’t without its challenges. There are many low FODMAP guides, from eating out low-FODMAP to following the Mediterranean diet while eating low FODMAP. But what about breakfast? This meal is often overlooked when planning low FODMAP meals.

 

Keep reading to learn the basics of the low FODMAP diet, plus 15 get easy low FODMAP breakfast ideas.

 

Understanding FODMAPs

If you’re new to the low FODMAP diet, you may wonder what “FODMAPs” means. FODMAPs is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. That’s a fancy way of saying carbohydrates that are fermented and pull water into the gut. But why does this matter for people with IBS?

 

When FODMAPs get fermented by your gut bacteria, they produce gas. For people without IBS, this isn’t a big deal. But people with IBS have what’s called visceral hypersensitivity. This means that the nerves in your gut are a lot more sensitive. When gas is produced in the gut, it can trigger feelings of pain due to extra-sensitive nerves.

 

FODMAPs can also cause other bowel issues, like diarrhea. They do this because the undigested carbohydrates pull water into the bowel, making the stool more liquid.

 

That’s where the low FODMAP diet comes in. The low FODMAP diet consists of three distinct phases:

  • Elimination.
  • Reintroduction.
  • Maintenance.


During the elimination phase, which typically lasts two to six weeks, you eliminate all high FODMAP foods and replace them with low FODMAP alternatives. This helps many people get their symptoms under control.

 

Once your symptoms are under control, you move on to the reintroduction phase. This phase is a systematic approach to helping you determine your specific food triggers. One could argue that this is the most important phase of the low FODMAP diet because it’s all about making your diet the least restrictive possible while allowing for symptom management.

 

Once you’ve determined which types of FODMAPs trigger your symptoms, you move on to the maintenance phase. During this phase, you continue to avoid the high FODMAP foods that triggered your symptoms while including the high and moderate FODMAP foods that didn’t trigger your symptoms.

 

The low FODMAP diet can be overwhelming, which is why I recommend working with a registered dietitian who has experience counselling people on the low FODMAP diet.

 

Low FODMAP Breakfast Ideas

Are you stuck for low FODMAP breakfast ideas? Here are 15 low FODMAP options to get you started. As a bonus, many of these low FODMAP breakfast ideas are high fiber options to keep your gut microbiota happy. 

Vegetable Omelet

Servings: 1

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp coconut milk (or alternative)
  • ⅛ tsp curry powder
  • ⅓ cup red bell peppers, sliced thinly
  • ⅓ cup zucchini, sliced thinly into half-moons
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Slice pepper and zucchini.
  2. Whisk eggs, coconut milk, and curry powder.
  3. Warm oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sauté peppers and zucchini until softened.
  4. Add spinach and sauté until soft, about 1 minute.
  5. Remove vegetables from the skillet. Pour in the whisked egg mixture.
  6. Cook egg gently until no liquid remains on top.
  7. Add vegetables and flip one side over to form an omelet.
  8. Transfer to a plate.

Quinoa Yogurt Parfait

Servings: 2

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa, frozen and defrosted
  • 1 cup plain lactose-free yogurt
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Cook or defrost quinoa according to package directions.
  2. Place quinoa in the bottom of four glasses or jars.
  3. Top with yogurt.
  4. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with berries.
  5. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Pineapple Wild Blueberry Quinoa Bowl with Cardamom

Servings: 2

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa (1 cup cooked)
  • 1 cup oat milk, unsweetened
  • 2 cups pineapple, chopped
  • ½ cup wild blueberries, defrosted
  • ¼ cup coconut, unsweetened, shredded
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Prep quinoa according to package directions (½ cup quinoa to 1 cup water).
  2. Chop pineapple.
  3. Defrost wild blueberries. Leave in the fridge overnight or microwave for 1 minute.
  4. Place quinoa, oat milk, cardamom, and nutmeg in a bowl. Stir to combine. Divide between 2 bowls.
  5. Top with blueberries, coconut, and pineapple.

Macadamia Almond Coconut Kiwi Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Servings: 1

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp macadamia nuts, roasted and unsalted, chopped
  • 1 tbsp toasted coconut

Directions:

  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve under cool water until the water runs clear.
  2. Place the quinoa and the appropriate amount of water (1 part quinoa to 2.5 parts water for a mushy texture, 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water for a slightly chewy texture) in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer until all water is absorbed and quinoa is tender (about 15 minutes).
  4. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
  5. In a bowl, combine quinoa, almond milk, maple syrup, and chia seeds.
  6. Garnish with kiwi, macadamia nuts, and toasted coconut.

Buckwheat Overnight Cereal

Servings: 2

Time: 15 minutes prep, 5 hours resting in the refrigerator

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 ½ cups vanilla rice milk (or other low-FODMAP alternative)
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously. Let stand for 10 minutes. Shake again, then store in the refrigerator overnight. Stir in the morning and add low-FODMAP fruit like kiwi or unripe banana.
  2. This recipe can be made with all oatmeal if you prefer. Simply eliminate the buckwheat and add 1 cup more oats.

Broccoli Bacon Cheddar Frittata

Servings: 6

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 3 bacon strips, uncured, chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk, lactose-free or a non-dairy low-FODMAP alternative
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375oF.
  2. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add broccoli, season with salt and pepper and cook until bright green (about 1-2 minutes).
  4. Add bacon and cook for 1 more minute.
  5. Whisk the eggs, milk, and cheese in a medium bowl until well combined. Pour into the cast iron skillet and stir to mix with the broccoli. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the top is set.

Simple Spinach Tofu Scramble

Servings: 2

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 scallions, green tops only, chopped
  • 1 lb tofu, extra firm, drained and crumbled
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup basil, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Directions:

  1. Dice pepper and chop spinach.
  2. Drain and crumble tofu.
  3. In a bowl, add crumbled tofu and spices. Massage until spices are well incorporated. Set aside.
  4. Spray sauté pan lightly with oil. Add peppers and scallion greens. Sauté until soft. Add tofu and sauté until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add spinach and basil to the pan and season with salt to taste.

Quick Vegetable Hash

Servings: 2

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 scallions, green tops only, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cups kale, spines removed and shredded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic-infused
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Chop scallion tops.
  2. Peel and shred carrots.
  3. Halve tomatoes.
  4. Remove spines from kale and shred the leaves.
  5. Add oil to the pan and cook scallions and tomatoes until soft. Add carrots and kale and sauté until kale wilts.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chocolate Cinnamon Muffins

Servings: 5

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup quick-cooking, gluten-free oats
  • ¼ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ banana, yellow, not brown
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (or low FODMAP alternative)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, dairy-free

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
  2. Spray muffin tins with cooking oil.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients (oats through salt).
  4. Add wet ingredients (banana through maple syrup) to the blender and process until smooth and creamy.
  5. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, place batter in a muffin tin, each ¾ full.
  7. Bake for 5-8 minutes for minis and 10-12 minutes for regular. Tops will spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove from muffin tin to cool for 2 minutes.
  9. Freeze leftovers.

Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

Servings: 6

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz smoked salmon, sliced
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chives, fresh, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop the salmon into very small pieces.
  2. Whisk eggs. Add ½ of the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add eggs and scramble.
  4. When eggs have come together but remain wet, stir in chopped salmon.
  5. Remove the skillet from heat and garnish with the remaining chives. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Spinach Low FODMAP Smoothie Bowl

Servings: 2

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen
  • ½ banana, frozen
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder, low FODMAP
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 cup water, plus additional as needed

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. If you want a smoothie rather than a smoothie bowl, simply add more water.

Green Low FODMAP Smoothie

Servings: 1

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup romaine lettuce, chopped
  • ½ cup pineapple, chopped
  • 1 ginger, fresh, peeled and chopped (for 1 tbsp)
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • Stevia, to taste

Directions:

  1. Chop romaine lettuce leaves.
  2. Chop pineapple.
  3. Peel and chop ginger.
  4. Peel and chop cucumber.
  5. Peel and chop kiwis.
  6. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Add stevia to sweeten to taste.

Peanut Butter Hemp Bites

Servings: 8

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick-cooking, gluten-free oats
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Roll the mixture into bite-sized (1-inch) balls.
  3. Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Beauty Greens Low FODMAP Smoothie

Servings: 2

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup papaya, peeled and chopped.
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and chopped
  • 12 seedless grapes
  • 1 cucumber, medium, chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger, peeled and chopped
  • ½ lime, peeled
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 ½ cups water

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop all fruits and vegetables.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Buckwheat Maple Pecan Granola

Servings: 8

Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat groats
  • 2 cups gluten-free oats
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ½ cup raw pecans, chopped
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg, ground
  • ¼ tsp ginger, ground
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325oF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Chop pecans.
  3. Add all dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Stir well.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and toss to coat. Season with salt to taste.
  5. Spread the mixture out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Watch carefully so the nuts don’t burn.
  6. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet before transferring to a storage container.

low fodmap breakfast ideas infographic with breakfast food pictures

Tips for Incorporating a Low FODMAP Breakfast Into Your Routine

Mornings are often rushed, and having a low FODMAP breakfast is often the last thing on a person’s mind. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can use to make incorporating a low FODMAP breakfast into your routine easier.

 

Plan and Prepare Ahead of Time

Planning ahead is arguably the most helpful thing you can do to ensure you eat breakfast. This could look like meal planning on the weekend and having all the ingredients you need ready to go in the morning.

 

Alternatively, you could prepare your low FODMAP breakfast beforehand, so you only need to grab it and go. Some breakfast options that work well as grab-and-go breakfasts include:

  • Quinoa yogurt parfait.
  • Buckwheat overnight cereal.
  • Chocolate cinnamon muffins.
  • Peanut butter hemp bites.
  • Buckwheat maple pecan granola.

 

Read Food Labels Carefully

Another important tip is to read food labels carefully and check for hidden high FODMAP ingredients. Some products that may seem low FODMAP could contain high FODMAP ingredients. For example, some gluten-free bagels are seasoned with onion or garlic powder. Check the ingredient list to be sure your low FODMAP choice is truly low FODMAP.

 

Use the Monash FODMAP App

The Monash University Low FODMAP app is your best friend when it comes to planning and sticking to the low FODMAP diet. Many foods become high FODMAP beyond a certain portion size (for example, strawberries, which are low FODMAP up to a serving size of five strawberries). Be mindful of portion sizes when planning your low FODMAP breakfast to ensure you don’t accidentally eat high FODMAP portions.

 

Final Thoughts

Starting your day with a low FODMAP breakfast is an important part of managing your symptoms of IBS if you’re on the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet. But remember – the low-FODMAP diet isn’t forever, and you should eventually move to the reintroduction phase once your symptoms are well-managed.

 

Low FODMAP diet not working? Consider working with a registered dietitian who can help you navigate the ins and outs of the low FODMAP diet. Keren is Monash FODMAP-trained and has years of experience helping people manage their IBS. Click here to book a complimentary 15-minute call to connect with Keren and learn about working together.

Your Complete Guide to Low FODMAP Alcohol

Your Complete Guide to Low FODMAP Alcohol

With the holidays in full swing, you might find yourself drinking more alcohol than you normally would. But if you’re following the low-FODMAP diet, finding low-FODMAP alcohol can be a challenge. However, with some thoughtful choices and a bit of creativity, you can still enjoy a drink while sticking to the low-FODMAP diet.

 

In this blog post, we’ll explore which low-FODMAP alcoholic drinks are available and offer some tips to help you navigate your way through the cocktail menu.

 

How Does Alcohol Affect the Gut?

Before diving into which types of alcohol are low-FODMAP, it’s important to understand the effect alcohol can have on the gut regardless of whether it contains FODMAPs.

 

There are many ways that excessive alcohol consumption can negatively affect gut health. They include:

 

Most of these effects have been seen with chronic, excessive alcohol consumption, so if you only drink on occasion, you likely don’t have to worry. 

 

How Much Alcohol Can I Have?

When it comes to alcohol, IBS folks need to consider that even if a drink contains low FODMAP alcohol, having too many drinks in one sitting could still lead to gut symptoms. This is because excessive alcohol consumption can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, leading to worse abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, and general digestive discomfort. 

 

Where we often see this excessive alcohol consumption is at social events and restaurants. If you want to learn more about what to eat at restaurants when you’re on the low FODMAP diet, visit my blog Low FODMAP Eating Out.

 

So, how many drinks is too much? Tolerance varies between individuals, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate alcohol consumption is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

 

A standard drink is:

  • 12 ounces of 5% ABV (alcohol by volume) beer.
  • 5 ounces of 12% ABV wine.
  • 1.5 ounces of 40% ABV liquor.

 

The guidelines also note that drinking less is better for health than drinking more. So, even if you find a low-FODMAP alcohol that you enjoy, it’s worth exploring drinking less for overall health benefits.

 

Is Beer Low-FODMAP?

I know what you’re thinking – how could beer possibly be okay on a low-FODMAP diet? Beer is typically made with wheat, rye, and barley. These grains contain a FODMAP called fructans. However, thanks to the fermentation process that is needed to make beer, many of these fructans get broken down, reducing the overall FODMAP content.

 

What does this mean for you? According to the Monash FODMAP app, one serving (375 millilitres or 12 ounces) of beer is considered low FODMAP. Therefore, if you’re on the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet, you can still enjoy beer in moderation. Be mindful of beers that use fruit as part of the production process – these could contain high-FODMAP ingredients.

 

One other thing to keep in mind: beer is carbonated, which can worsen gas and bloating. If you find that beer bothers you, it might not be the FODMAPs – it could simply be the bubbles.

 

Is Wine Low-FODMAP?

Just as beer is fermented, so too is wine. That means that many of the FODMAPs present in wine are broken down during the fermentation process.

 

Low FODMAP wine is available, provided you consume it in the correct portion size. In general, white wine, sparkling wine, red wine, and rosé wine are all low-FODMAP if you consume the standard portion size of 150 millilitres or 5 ounces.

 

However, be mindful of dessert wines like sherry and ice wine, as these can have a higher fructose content, which makes them high-FODMAP.

 

Is Hard Liquor Low-FODMAP?

Most distilled spirits are low in FODMAPs. These include:

  • Brandy.
  • Vodka.
  • Gin.
  • Tequila.
  • Whiskey/Scotch/Bourbon.

 

These spirits are low-FODMAP at a serving size of 1 shot glass (1.5 ounces). If you’re drinking hard liquor, it’s best to stick to one drink.

 

Also, be mindful of what you mix with your low-FODMAP alcohol. While many distilled spirits are low in FODMAPs, mixing them with high-FODMAP ingredients makes the entire drink high-FODMAP.

 

And what about rum? Rum contains high amounts of fructose, so it should be avoided if you’re on the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet or if you know you’re sensitive to fructose.

 

Low FODMAP Cocktails

If you want to enjoy low-FODMAP alcohol, you might be wondering if you can still enjoy cocktails. You can, but you need to be mindful of the ingredients being used to craft your drink. Here are some simple and delicious low-FODMAP cocktails.

 

Minty Mojito: 1.5 oz white rum, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, and soda water.

 

Whiskey Sour: 1.5 oz whiskey, freshly squeezed lemon juice, splash of water, a touch of maple syrup for sweetness.

 

Cucumber Basil Smash: 1.5 oz gin, fresh cucumber slices, fresh basil leaves, splash of lime juice.

 

Raspberry Fizz: 1.5 oz vodka, fresh raspberries, splash of lime juice, soda water.

 

Rosemary Citrus Highball: 1.5 oz gin, fresh rosemary sprigs, splash of grapefruit juice, soda water.

low fodmap cocktails recipes

Tips for Choosing Low FODMAP Alcohol

Here are some general tips for choosing low-FODMAP alcoholic drinks.

 

1. Clear Spirits are Your Friends

Opt for clear spirits like vodka, gin, and white rum. These spirits are generally low in FODMAPs and can be the base for a variety of cocktails.

 

2. Mind the Mixers

Mixers can be tricky, as many commercially available options contain high-FODMAP ingredients. Choose mixers like soda water and freshly squeezed citrus juices.

 

3. Experiment with Infusions

Enhance your drinks with low-FODMAP infusions. Consider adding fresh herbs, such as mint or rosemary, or fruits like strawberries and blueberries for flavour without the FODMAP overload.

 

4. Read Labels

When in doubt, read labels. Some spirits and mixers may contain hidden FODMAPs or high-fructose corn syrup. Try choosing products with minimal additives.

 

5. Sip Slowly and Mindfully

Enjoy your drinks slowly to savour the flavours and prevent drinking too much. This also allows you to monitor how your body reacts to different drinks.

 

6. Stay Hydrated

Alcohol can dehydrate you, so be sure to alternate alcoholic drinks with water to stay hydrated.

 

Final Thoughts

Choosing low-FODMAP alcohol doesn’t mean sacrificing your social life or favourite drinks. With a bit of knowledge and mindful selection, you can navigate the world of low FODMAP alcohol like a pro.

 

Remember, individual tolerance may vary, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider like a registered dietitian who specializes in IBS to tailor your choices to your specific needs.

 

If you’re looking for ways to mindfully navigate events where alcohol is involved, a registered dietitian can help. Keren has helped countless people get control over their IBS and gut symptoms. Click here to book a complimentary 15-minute call to see if you’d be a good fit for working together.

Low FODMAP Diet Not Working? Top Reasons Plus Troubleshooting Tips

Low FODMAP Diet Not Working? Top Reasons Plus Troubleshooting Tips

The low FODMAP diet has gained popularity as an effective way to manage the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It involves avoiding foods high in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs).

 

While many people experience significant relief from their digestive issues by following this diet, some may find the low-FODMAP diet not working as expected. In this blog post, we’ll explore common reasons for the low-FODMAP diet not working and provide troubleshooting tips to help you find relief from your IBS symptoms.

Infographic with reasons for the low fodmap diet not working

Problem 1: Incomplete Elimination of FODMAPs

One of the most common reasons for the low FODMAP diet not working is not properly eliminating all high FODMAP foods. FODMAPs are present in a wide range of foods, and even small amounts can trigger symptoms in people who are sensitive to them.  Restaurant foods are particularly high in garlic and onion, making limiting fructans a real challenge to those who eat out often.

 

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Re-evaluate your food choices. Review your diet to ensure you haven’t accidentally included any high-FODMAP foods. Hidden sources of FODMAPs can be found in sauces, condiments, and processed foods. If you’re struggling to figure out where the FODMAPs are hiding, try downloading the Monash FODMAP app. The app allows you to search for foods and will tell you if they are high, moderate, or low FODMAP.
  2. Check portion sizes. Even low-FODMAP foods can become high-FODMAP in large quantities. Use the Monash FODMAP app to identify which portion sizes are appropriate.
  3. Be selective when eating out. If you eat out often, read my blog Low FODMAP Eating Out for tips on how to follow the low FODMAP diet at your favourite restaurants.
  4. Be mindful of your FODMAP “bucket”. Think of your FODMAP tolerance like a bucket. You can fill it up to a certain amount without getting symptoms, but once you fill it too much, it overflows. In the case of FODMAPs, you may find that throughout the day, small amounts of FODMAPs add up and “overflow” your FODMAP bucket. Be mindful of the cumulative effect of eating even moderate FODMAP foods.

 

Problem 2: Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can make IBS symptoms worse and make it seem as though the low FODMAP diet isn’t working. When you’re stressed, your gut becomes more sensitive, which can potentially lead to worsening symptoms.

 

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Practice stress-reduction techniques. Try to incorporate relaxation exercises, meditation, or yoga into your daily routine to manage stress and anxiety. Reducing stress can help improve the effectiveness of the low FODMAP diet.
  2. Consider Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that looks at the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. It teaches you how to evaluate and modify your thoughts and behaviours to make them more helpful. A meta-analysis looking at the effects of CBT on IBS symptoms found that CBT effectively reduced IBS symptoms, improved quality of life, and improved psychological states.
  3. Try Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy. Gut-directed hypnotherapy (GDH) is a technique that uses relaxation and focus to communicate with your gut. It helps the mind and body work together to make your gut feel better without making any changes to your diet. It may help with pain, bloating, and other IBS symptoms, and research shows that it is just as effective as the low-FODMAP diet. However, it is not a quick fix and does not work for every person with IBS.

 

Problem 3: Overlooking Non-FODMAP Triggers

While FODMAPs are a common trigger for digestive symptoms, other factors can also make your symptoms worse. Some non-FODMAP IBS triggers include:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Certain medications (such as antibiotics, NSAIDs, and some antidepressants)
  • Hormonal changes
  • Vigorous exercise

 

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Limit potential non-FODMAP triggers. Reduce or eliminate non-FODMAP trigger foods from your diet to see if it helps get your symptoms under control.
  2. Keep a food diary. Record your food intake and symptoms to help you identify patterns and potential triggers that may not be related to FODMAPs.
  3. Engage in moderate-intensity physical activity. Moderate exercise can have a beneficial effect on IBS symptoms for many people.

 

Problem 4: Unbalanced Gut Microbiota

The gut microbiota is the trillions of microbes that inhabit your gut. Studies show that IBS is associated with changes in the gut microbiota. Plus, the low-FODMAP diet may inadvertently impact your gut microbiota, which could hinder its effectiveness.

 

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Consult a registered dietitian: An IBS dietitian with experience teaching people about the low FODMAP diet can help you create a balanced meal plan that supports a healthy gut microbiota.
  2. Consider probiotics. Some strains of probiotics may be beneficial for people with IBS. It’s best to discuss the use of probiotics with your healthcare provider, as there are many different types available and not all of them have been shown to help with IBS.

 

Problem 5: You’re Not Getting Enough Fibre

One of the most common problems seen when a person is following the low FODMAP diet is not eating enough fibre. Fibre is essential for promoting bowel regularity and helping your gut microbiota thrive.

 

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Focus on low-FODMAP, high-fibre foods. You can maintain a healthy fibre intake on the low FODMAP diet by choosing foods that are both low in FODMAPs and rich in fibre. These include quinoa, oats, and chia seeds. Looking for more inspiration? Check out my blog post about low-FODMAP, high-fibre foods.
  2. Increase fibre gradually. If you’re new to the low-FODMAP diet or have been avoiding high-fibre foods, it’s important to gradually introduce higher-fibre foods into your diet so your digestive system has time to adapt. Start by incorporating small servings of low-FODMAP, high-fibre foods and gradually increase your portions as tolerated.
  3. Increase soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is easier to digest and may be better tolerated by people with IBS. Foods rich in soluble fibre include unripe bananas, potatoes, and oatmeal.

 

Problem 6: Other Medical Conditions

It’s important to ensure that other causes of digestive symptoms have been ruled out before beginning the low FODMAP diet. Conditions such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and food sensitivities can mimic IBS symptoms and require different dietary and medical approaches.

 

Troubleshooting Tips:

  1. Seek medical evaluation. Consult with a healthcare provider to rule out other underlying conditions and to get appropriate testing and diagnosis.

 

Final Thoughts

The low-FODMAP diet can be a valuable tool to help you manage digestive symptoms. However, many factors can lead to the low-FODMAP diet not working for everyone or every situation. In fact, a study has shown that the low-FODMAP diet only works for around 70% of people. If you happen to fall into the group of people who don’t find relief from the low FODMAP diet, you may need to try other strategies.

 

If you’re not experiencing the expected relief from the low-FODMAP diet, try not to get discouraged. Troubleshoot possible reasons outlined by this blog post and consider working with a registered dietitian who can help tailor your dietary approach to your specific needs. Remember that individual responses to dietary changes can vary, and finding the right solution may require patience and persistence.

 

Low-FODMAP diet not working for you? Click here to book a free 15-minute call with Keren, a Monash FODMAP-trained dietitian. During the call, she will discuss your concerns and help determine if you’re a good fit for working together.

Can I Test for a FODMAP Intolerance? The Truth About Food Sensitivity Tests

Can I Test for a FODMAP Intolerance? The Truth About Food Sensitivity Tests

In a time marked by a growing emphasis on holistic wellness and personalized healthcare, it’s no surprise that health trends have emerged to satisfy these desires. Among these trends, food sensitivity testing has gained significant popularity, promising to uncover hidden sensitivities that could be contributing to various health issues. One such issue is FODMAP intolerance.

 

But are food sensitivity tests worth it, and can they actually identify FODMAP intolerance? In this blog post, we will review the differences between allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities and address the limitations and potential harms that can come from relying on these tests for dietary guidance.

 

And for further information on how to tell fact from fiction, head to my blog The Truth about Nutrition: How to Tell Fact from Fiction.

 

Food Intolerances vs. Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities – What’s the Difference?

While these terms are often used interchangeably, they’re actually different conditions. Here’s a run-down of what food intolerances, food allergies, and food sensitivities are.

 

Food Intolerances

When a person has a food intolerance, it typically refers to their body’s inability to process or digest a certain food or group of foods. They are often dose-responsive, meaning a certain amount of the food has to be eaten before symptoms arise.

 

One of the most common food intolerances is lactose intolerance. If a person has lactose intolerance, their body lacks the enzyme (known as lactase) needed to break lactose down. This can lead to unpleasant digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.


Another common food intolerance is FODMAP intolerance. FODMAPs are a type of carbohydrate that are not digested in humans. Because they’re not digested, they enter the colon and get fermented by the gut bacteria. This can lead to unpleasant symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. It’s thought that people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have a FODMAP intolerance.

 

Food Allergies

Food allergies are a more serious reaction and involve the immune system. Allergies are IgE-mediated. IgE is a type of antibody that your immune system makes when it’s exposed to an allergen. About one to two percent of adults and fewer than ten percent of children have food allergies.

 

When a person eats something they’re allergic to, their immune system produces an overblown response to the food. One of the best examples of a food allergy is a peanut or seafood allergy. Exposure to peanuts or seafood can be potentially life-threatening for people with allergies to these foods because it can lead to low blood pressure and difficulty breathing.

 

If you think you have a food allergy, you should consider allergy testing, especially if you have severe symptoms. If you are allergic to something, you must avoid that food completely and carry an Epi-Pen with you for treatment if you are accidentally exposed.

 

Food Sensitivities

Many people experience symptoms after eating food that are not related to food intolerances or food allergies. Some of the common symptoms of a food sensitivity include joint pain, stomach pain, fatigue, rashes, and brain fog. While there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to food sensitivities, it appears that when certain people eat certain foods, their immune system is triggered.

 

One of the most common triggers of food sensitivities is gluten. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) affects between three and six percent of the general population. However, unlike celiac disease (which can be diagnosed through a blood test and intestinal biopsy), there is no reliable test for NCGS.

 

 

Understanding Food Sensitivity Tests

Food sensitivity tests are often ordered by naturopaths or other alternative healthcare providers. Here are some of the most popular food sensitivity tests:

 

IgG Testing

IgG (another type of antibody) testing is one of the most popular food sensitivity tests. Some popular IgG food sensitivity tests include Life Labs Food Sensitivity Testing and Dynacare Food and Digestive Health. However, these tests are unreliable because IgG production is a normal immune response to several commonly consumed foods. 

 

In other words? If you eat those foods often, you’ll get a positive result for them on your IgG test. It’s not telling you what you’re sensitive or intolerant to – it’s simply telling you what you’ve recently eaten.

 

Because of a lack of scientific evidence to support its use, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology have both recommended against using IgG testing to diagnose food sensitivities.

 

KBMO Fit Test

The KBMO Fit Test is a delayed food sensitivity test that tests 176 foods, food colourings, food additives, and microbes used in food production. According to the company, the tests measures IgG, Immune Complexes, and the most common food-related pathways in the body.

 

Measuring these parameters supposedly enables the test to identify food sensitivities, inflammation, and “leaky gut” from a single test. However, this test has not been studied in rigorous trials, and no scientific evidence supports its use.

 

MRT Test

The MRT test, also known as the Mediator Release Test or the LEAP test, is a food sensitivity test that measures the inflammatory response to food and food chemicals. It is said to be more accurate than traditional IgG or Immune Complex tests because it measures the actual inflammatory response in the body.

 

While it was previously used by dietitians, the Commission on Dietetic Registration discontinued support for its use in 2016, citing insufficient evidence for its ability to diagnose food sensitivities.

 

Hair Strand Test for Food Intolerance

The hair strand test for food intolerance measures the mineral content of a person’s hair. It’s thought that if a “harmful” food is eaten, it will show up in the mineral makeup of the hair. However, it has not been scientifically validated. Plus, hair grows slowly, so it’s not a good indicator of what is currently happening in the body.

 

Regardless of which type of food sensitivity test you’re looking at, there simply isn’t enough scientific evidence to support their use in diagnosing food sensitivities. Plus, none of these tests are designed to identify FODMAP intolerance specifically.

 

Potential Harms of Food Sensitivity Tests

Still not convinced that you don’t need to do a food sensitivity test? Let’s review some of the downsides and potential harms of using these tests to diagnose food sensitivities:

  1. You end up with a short list of “safe” foods and a long list of foods you’re told to avoid. Avoiding many commonly eaten foods could lead to malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies.
  2. These tests can create a lot of anxiety about what you “should” and “shouldn’t” eat. In extreme cases, this could lead to disordered eating behaviours.
  3. They’re expensive. If you’re experiencing bothersome symptoms and taking time off work, expensive tests can put a huge dent in your savings.
  4. They can mask something that might actually be wrong (for example, an undiagnosed true allergy or Celiac disease).

 

Alternatives and Evidence-Based Approaches

When you have unexplained symptoms, it’s important to seek medical care to rule out any serious causes of your symptoms. If you suspect you have a food allergy, you need to consult with an allergist who can run evidence-based tests to determine what you’re allergic to.

 

If you’re struggling with digestive symptoms and have ruled out causes such as inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac disease, and colorectal cancer, you may have IBS. People with IBS have extra-sensitive guts and may be sensitive to foods high in FODMAPs.

 

If you suspect you may have a FODMAP intolerance, an elimination diet such as the low FODMAP diet can be instrumental in helping you determine which foods you don’t tolerate. However, this diet is very restrictive and should be done with the guidance of a dietitian who has experience with the low FODMAP diet.

 

Final Thoughts

Overall, medical experts and researchers agree that food sensitivity tests aren’t accurate or worth your money at this point in time. If you’re struggling with bothersome symptoms that you suspect may be related to an allergy, consider meeting with an allergy doctor to complete IgE allergy testing.

 

If you’re struggling with gut symptoms and suspect you have a FODMAP intolerance, working with a registered dietitian who can guide you through the low FODMAP diet can be helpful in determining which specific foods you’re sensitive to. Keren is Monash FODMAP trained and has completed and passed the Monash University Online FODMAP Course.

 

Click here to book a free 15-minute call with Keren to discuss your concerns and determine if you’re a good fit for working together.

High Fiber, Low FODMAP Foods for IBS

High Fiber, Low FODMAP Foods for IBS

Living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be challenging because it often involves navigating several dietary restrictions and uncomfortable symptoms.

 

One of the most common treatments for IBS is the low FODMAP diet. However, the low FODMAP diet is quite restrictive and often leads to not getting enough fiber. That’s why you need to incorporate high-fiber, low-FODMAP foods into your diet.

 

In this blog post, we will review the importance of fiber for people with IBS and introduce a range of high-fiber, low-FODMAP foods that can be safely incorporated into an IBS-friendly diet.

 

Understanding IBS and the Role of Fiber

IBS is a common digestive disorder that causes symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. While the exact causes of IBS are unknown, several factors, such as diet, stress, and imbalances in the gut microbiome, are believed to play a role in its development.

 

Fiber, a type of indigestible carbohydrate found in plant-based foods, plays a crucial role in maintaining gut health. It adds bulk to stool, promotes regular bowel movements, and feeds your good gut bacteria, which increases the diversity of your gut microbiome (this is a good thing!).

 

One of the most important functions of fiber is the formation of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). When certain gut bacteria feed on fiber, SCFAs are produced as a by-product. SCFAs play an important role in regulating metabolism, the immune system, and cell growth. They are also used as a source of energy by the cells of the large intestine.

 

When a person does not eat enough fiber, the diversity of their gut microbiome decreases. It also leads to a shift in the gut bacteria, who start using proteins and the mucous layer of the gut as fuel. This can lead to the production of harmful molecules, which can cause inflammation and damage to the gut wall.

 

For people with IBS, getting enough fiber can improve symptoms by improving how waste moves throughout the digestive tract, reducing bloating, and promoting overall gut health.

 

Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

There are two main types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.

 

Soluble fiber dissolves in water. There are two types of soluble fiber – viscous and non-viscous. Viscous soluble fiber forms a gel in the digestive tract. This can help reduce diarrhea, as the viscous soluble fiber absorbs excess water from the stool. Non-viscous soluble fiber is rapidly fermented by the gut bacteria, which can lead to gas production. 

 

Insoluble fiber bulks stool and helps waste move through the digestive tract more quickly. This type of fiber can help with constipation.

 

Fiber and the Low FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet is a widely recommended approach for managing IBS symptoms. FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. They are a group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed by the body and can trigger IBS symptoms in certain people.

 

While some high-fiber foods are also high in FODMAPs, it is possible to incorporate fiber into a low-FODMAP diet by choosing high-fiber, low-FODMAP foods. This ensures that people with IBS can reap the benefits of fiber without making their IBS symptoms worse.

 

How Much Fiber Do I Need?

The amount of fiber you need depends on your gender and your age.

 

Amount of fiber needed per day:

 

 Age 19 – 50Age 51+
Male38 grams30 grams
Female25 grams21 grams

 

If you haven’t been including a lot of fiber in your diet, it’s important to start slowly. Increase your fiber intake too fast, and you’ll likely have some uncomfortable gut symptoms.

 

Start by increasing your fiber intake by a few grams per day. After you’ve done that for a few days, increase by another few grams. Continue this pattern until you’re consistently able to hit your daily fiber goal.

 

In addition to starting slowly, it’s also important to drink plenty of water as you increase your fiber intake.

 

Click here to download our free monthly fiber tracking worksheet.

 

High Fiber, Low FODMAP Foods to Try

 

Fiber Content of Low FODMAP Foods per the Monash University FODMAP app

 Fiber (grams)Serving Size
Quinoa2.7½ cup, cooked
Oats3.71/2 cup, raw
Raspberries4.21/3 cup
Kiwi Fruit2.11 medium kiwi
Oranges3.11 medium orange
Carrots1.81 medium carrot, raw (75g)
Green beans1.6½ cup
Potatoes (skin on)1.91 medium white potato
Canned lentils1.91/4 cup  (45g)
Chia seeds3.71 tablespoon

 

Quinoa

When cooking quinoa, the ratio of quinoa to water is 1:2. For example, add half a cup of quinoa to 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

 

Try tossing quinoa in salads, enjoying it for breakfast (topped with fresh berries and peanut butter), or use it instead of couscous, rice, and pasta.

Looking for more gluten-free grains?  Here are the 6 best gluten free grains.

 

Oats

Oats will have different cooking instructions depending on what kind of oats they are. Some types of oats you might see include steel-cut oats, whole flake oats, quick oats, and instant oats.

 

Oats can be used in hundreds of different ways. Try making your own DIY granola bars, layering them with berries and peanut butter for overnight oats, or blending them into flour to make pancakes.

 

Raspberries

If you can’t find fresh raspberries, frozen raspberries are just as nutritious (and keep for longer!).

 

Try tossing a few raspberries onto a yogurt parfait, blending them into smoothies, mixing them with your overnight oats, or baking them into a low FODMAP muffin.

 

Kiwifruit

If you’re struggling with constipation, kiwi is the fruit for you! Research shows that eating two kiwi fruit per day helps waste move through the gut, improving constipation.

 

It’s thought that kiwi helps relieve constipation due to its high fiber content and because it contains an enzyme called actinidin, which breaks protein down and stimulates the large intestine.

 

The easiest way to eat kiwi fruit is to cut it in half and scrape the flesh out with a spoon, but it also tastes delicious as part of a fruit salad or in a constipation-busting smoothie!

 

Oranges

In addition to their high fiber content, oranges are packed with vitamin C, which helps support a healthy immune system.

 

Enjoy sliced oranges and vanilla yogurt for a creamsicle-inspired snack, or add to a wrap with chicken, bell peppers, onions, and ginger for an Asian-inspired chicken wrap.

           

Carrots

Carrots have numerous health benefits, but perhaps the most well-known is their importance for vision and eye health. This is due to their high content of alpha- and beta-carotene. They also contain high amounts of vitamin C, which is important for immune health.

 

Try shredded carrots in your overnight oats, steam them and serve as a side dish, or slice them and add them to a stir-fry. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, try baking shredded carrots into carrot ginger muffins.

 

Green Beans

Like many colourful vegetables, green beans are packed with vitamin C and beta-carotene. They’re also a good source of folate and potassium, which can help regulate blood pressure.

 

Try adding chopped green beans to a casserole or roasting them with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

 

Potatoes

Ah, the humble potato! It gets a bad rap by people who promote low-carb diets, but it’s a wonderful source of nutrients, especially if you leave the skin on.

 

Try a baked potato topped with lactose-free plain Greek yogurt, green onion tops, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, and lean ground beef. Or, if you’d prefer potatoes as a side dish, nothing beats smashed potatoes with some butter, salt, and pepper.

 

Canned Lentils

Canned lentils are considered low FODMAP at half-cup serving size. Canned lentils are lower in FODMAPs because the FODMAPs leach into the fluid they’re canned. By draining and rinsing the canned lentils before use, you get rid of a lot of the FODMAPs, making canned lentils an excellent high-fiber, low-FODMAP choice.

 

Try using lentils as a substitute for beef in your spaghetti Bolognese recipe, use them in a comforting lentil soup or use them to make a vegetarian chilli.

 

Chia Seeds

Small but mighty, chia seeds pack a serious nutrient punch. In addition to their high content of low FODMAP fiber, they’re also rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins.

 

One of the easiest ways to add chia seeds to your diet is to sprinkle them over cereal or into a smoothie. If you have a bit more time on your hands, try making chia seed pudding by mixing chia seeds with your milk of choice and some maple syrup and letting it sit overnight in the fridge.

 

Final Thoughts

Incorporating high fiber, low FODMAP foods into your diet is a fundamental step towards managing your IBS symptoms and promoting overall gut health. To get you started, we’ve created a 3-day low FODMAP meal plan that you can sign up for here.

 

If you struggle to get enough fiber with IBS, consider consulting with a registered dietitian to create a personalized IBS management plan. To speak with Keren, click here to book a one-time, free consultation for us to discuss your nutritional needs and see whether we’re a good fit.

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