Deciphering the Labelling for a Low FODMAP Diet
We have already seen which foods to avoid when following a low FODMAP* diet. Avoiding individual foods such as apples, honey or wheat is rather simple. What is more complicated is figuring out whether a food or dish consisting of several ingredients contains few or many FODMAPs! For example, how do you choose a bread or breakfast cereal? In such cases, you should know how to interpret the list of ingredients.
The list of ingredients and the Nutrition Facts label on the packaging of a food may seem complicated, but here some tips on how to read them and make the right low FODMAP choices for you.
Where are FODMAPs hidden in the ingredient list?
First, let’s look at the ingredient list. To make your job easier and help you make right choices, here is a list of ingredients that contain FODMAPs and that can be found in certain foods:
- agave syrup
- chicory root
- dried fruits
- fruit juice concentrate
- garlic powder (or any other garlic flavouring)
- high fructose corn syrup
- legume flours
- onion powder ( or any other onion flavouring)
Let us recall that FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates (sugars). This explains why most of the above ingredients are sweetening ingredients! But the good news is that a low FODMAP diet need not be devoid of all sugars. Here is the list of the sweeteners that are usually well tolerated:
- brown rice syrup
- brown sugar
- cane sugar
- corn syrup
- icing sugar / powdered sugar
- maple syrup
Also bear in mind that the earlier an ingredient appears in the list of ingredients, the greater will be its amount in the food; and vice versa, if an ingredient appears at the end of the ingredient list, its presence in the product will be much less.
*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.