Thanks to the Monash University testing performed on the *FODMAP content of many foods, we know which ones to avoid and those we can consume in moderation. It is therefore easy to know what quantity of quinoa, almonds, broccoli or onions you can eat (or not) when following a low-FODMAP diet. What becomes more complicated is when you need to examine processed or ultra-processed food products. In this article we help you to understand what to do if the product in question mentions “spices” or “natural flavours” or “artificial flavours” in their list of ingredients.
While it’s always best to cook your own meals and avoid ultra-processed foods, you might still choose to eat them and be confused by the FODMAP content of items in their lists of ingredients. Hopefully the product in question has been tested by Monash University and you can find it in the app, but what if you can’t find it, what can you do then?
Whether you are in Canada, the United States, or in Europe, the labelling regulations are not the same. So be careful with the following labels.
In the United States, manufacturers must declare the presence of garlic and onions on their food labels and cannot hide them under the ingredient “spices.” So, there is no need to avoid foods containing spices.
In Canada, manufacturers are not required to declare specific ingredients contained under the term “spices”. However, in Canada, this term refers to the aromatic part of the plant such as the seed, fruit, or bark, and is therefore very unlikely to contain onions or garlic. It is therefore not necessary to avoid foods containing spices.
On the other hand, in Europe, if a product contains the term “spices”, then it may contain garlic or onions. If you want to be clear about it you can contact the company directly to ask. Otherwise it is better not to consume the product as a precaution.
*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.