Top 5 Most Confusing FODMAP Foods

April 11, 2018 , , ,

The low FODMAP* diet can give a real helping hand to many trying to have better control over their symptoms related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)… but it can also be a little complicated and hard to follow! You can eat this food, but not this one, on the other hand, if you don’t eat too much of it, it can be alright. Yikes!

Despite the many lists of high and low FODMAP foods one can find everywhere on the web and through helpful tools, such as our low FODMAP meal plans, it can be difficult to know which foods are truly low in FODMAPs and which are not. I aim to help shed some light today by presenting to you below the top 5 most confusing foods and food families in terms of their FODMAP content.

Lentils, chickpeas and beans

Legumes are high in FODMAP. Right? It’s true, they are, but with a few exceptions. All dry legumes that need to be rehydrated and cooked are high in FODMAP. But, when the legumes are canned, this changes. In fact, canned lentils are low in FODMAP up to ½ cup (~46g) while canned chickpeas are low in FODMAP up to 1/4 cup (~42g).

This is because some of the FODMAPs that are in these legumes will migrate into the liquid (since FODMAPs are water soluble). The end result is a decrease in FODMAP concentration since canned legumes are rinsed before consumption and the liquid is discarded.

Green onions and leeks

Have you heard that you have to say goodbye to onions, at least during the FODMAP elimination period of the low FODMAP diet? You may even have read it in one of our articles

The truth is, for green onions and leeks, it’s only the white part of the vegetable that contains FODMAPs. Which means that the green part can be eaten without risking symptoms, since it is low in FODMAP!

If you do not want to waste the white part of the green onions or leeks, you can use chives or asafoetida powder instead for a similar flavour.

Berries and small fruit

One could easily think that all fruits belonging to the same family have the same FODMAP content. This is the case, for example, for citrus fruits, where one portion servings are all low-FODMAP, or pitted fruits (peaches, cherries, apricots, etc.) which are almost all high-FODMAP.

However, this is not the case for berries. In fact, despite the fact that most berries are low in FODMAPs, blackberries are high in FODMAP. During the exclusion period of FODMAPs, prioritize eating blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.

Tofu, soy beverage, tempeh, edamame…

Soy is a particularly complicated ingredient because it is used in so many forms. Here is the definitive list of soy products and their FODMAP content:

For more details on each of these foods, I invite you to read the article FODMAP Content in Soy: High or Low?

Spelt and sourdough bread

For spelt, it is the transformation of the cereal that makes all the difference. Indeed, spelt itself is high in FODMAP. It contains fructan, just like wheat and other grains. This means that spelt grains, spelt flour, spelt pasta and spelt flakes are all high in FODMAPs.

When spelt flour is fermented, for example in sourdough bread, the FODMAP content decreases. In fact, the leaven (the culture of bacteria and yeasts that are added to the flour in the production of sourdough bread) digests a good part of the fructans contained in the spelt flour and thus makes spelt sourdough bread low FODMAP.

So there you have it, I hope to have clarified some things for you. If you are unsure of the FODMAP content of other ingredients, I would be happy to answer your questions in the comments below!

*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.

Author

Jef L'Ecuyer
Member of the Quebec College of Dietitians (ODNQ) and Dietitians of Canada,Jef graduated from McGill University in December 2014. Recently graduated and passionate about culinary arts, Jef poses a simple, effective and practical look at daily meal planning. With this in mind, she works in conjunction with the mission of SOSCuisine...

37 comments to “Top 5 Most Confusing FODMAP Foods”

August 22, 2018 Amy Jones said:

Hi Jef! Thank you for sharing this info.. This helps for my fodmap diet.

July 3, 2019 Jenjen said:

Hi , thank you for sharing this information. Very helpful .
I am just about to start on my elimination diet and I was wondering if you know what level chickpea tempeh would be please ?
I have searched to no avail.
Thank you , Jenjen

Cinzia Cuneo
July 10, 2019 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Jenjen,
Tempeh should be low FODMAP. However in case of doubt, when you cannot find the info in the Monash app, I would leave this food until after the reintroduction.

September 6, 2019 Valerie Emhof said:

Hi! Thank you so much for this ! I was wondering if you knew anything about chickpea pasta . Would that be ok in low dose ?

Cinzia Cuneo
September 8, 2019 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Valerie,
It must be avoided during the elimination phase.

September 22, 2019 Lorraine Laframboise said:

Hi there,

I am celiac, have candidiasis and now also have to follow a low fodmap diet. I have other food intolerances and I am trying to determine what I cannot eat as I am encountering abdominal pain on a daily basis. I have read that I can eat unsweetened dark chocolate; however, I am unsure at this point in time. I am hoping that you can tell me what is acceptable on all three regimens so that I can eat a balanced diet and remain as healthy as possible at 71 years of age. I typically eat a breakfast of homemade vegetable, chicken and brown rice soup or a salad. I use the following vegetables in my meals: carrots, rutabaga, potato, green beans, broccoli, kale, swiss chard, boston lettuce, yellow and green zucchini, red cabbage, green cabbage, scallions, chives, tomatoes, radishes. I eat two to four grapes at a sitting and I incorporate wild blueberries into my pumpkin seed protein shake with coconut beverage. I am lactose intolerant; I have a high intolerance for almonds, cashews and most raw nuts. I can tolerate sunflower nut butter on occasion. I eat the occasional lactose free cheese. I eat duck eggs as I have an intolerance to chicken eggs. I eat pork, beef, chicken, turkey, fish such as cod, haddock, sole (wild) and organic salmon and trout. We try to buy organic meat as much as possible. I eat Irish soda bread made with cassava flour (one or two very small slices per day). I eat at least seven to eight vegetables a day, using the rainbow diet premise to ensure a wide variety of colour in my vegetables. I avoid apples, peaches, oranges, limes, banana, cherries and most fruit due to the sugar content. On my salads, I add organic apple cider vinegar and first cold pressed olive oil and add a bit of chives, sea salt and black pepper. I also use wild rice in my soups or brown rice pasta or quinoa. I drink peppermint tea, ginger tea, green tea and fennel seed tea. I drink lots of water. I also drink silk coconut beverage (unsweetened) in my smoothies or when I have made a gluten free, dairy free, egg free, sugar free muffin. I use pure monk fruit extract or stevia to sweeten anything I eat and only on occasion.

If you can add to my repertoire, I would be thrilled to obtain your opinion about my meal choices.

Thank you for your assistance on my journey.

Cinzia Cuneo
October 15, 2019 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hello Lorraine,
Since FODMAPs are adding up, it’s very hard to give you an opinion about your diet without knowing the exact quantity of some of the ingredients you mentioned. For example, if you eat broccoli and cabbage in the same meal, this may not be low-FODMAP any more. If you wish to have good advice, please consider subscribing to our VIP Nutrition service.

June 27, 2020 Shell said:

I think u should eat more simply and give your tummy a rest ! >

December 30, 2020 Catherine said:

Could that be sibo you have? I see some elements in your diet that might cause problems if you have sibo, and worse if it’s h2s sibo. Eg: cassava, coconut milk, meat…

October 15, 2019 Rebecca Forkner said:

Hello! Thanks so much for these clarifications!! One additional question is in regards to wheat sourdough bread… this is different from spelt sourdough, right? But also low FODMAP because of the fermentation process?

Cinzia Cuneo
October 15, 2019 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hello Rebecca,
Spelt (Triticum Spelta) is an ancient cereal grain in the wheat family. Spelt flour is almost always produced from the whole spelt grain. Wheat flour, instead, is predominantly milled to produce more commercially interesting flour derived from only part of the wheat grain.

November 16, 2019 Nirda jones said:

WHY ARE ALL FERMENTED FOODS, LIKE SOURKRAUT, KECIR AND YOGURT, AND KOMBUCHA, HIGH IN FOD BUT NOT SPIGHDOUGH SPELT BREAD? WHERE TO GET PROBIOTICS IN SUCH A DIET?

Cinzia Cuneo
November 17, 2019 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Nirda,
It’s not surprising that liquid foods such as kombucha and kefir are high in FODMAP, since FODMAPs are soluble in water.

December 29, 2019 Diane Marie Karasevicz said:

I’m guessing that sprouted spelt would still be high FODMAP? I have a made a bread from sprouted spelt berries- so good (with a lot of seeds that are low FODMAP).

Cinzia Cuneo
January 10, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hello Diane Marie,
Indeed sprouted grains or legumes may reduce their FODMAP content. Monash University has tested sprouted wheat, barley and rye but not spelt. Interesting fact: 1/4 cup (50 g) of sprouted wheat is low in FODMAP. We recommend you test a small quantity and check your symptoms.

January 17, 2020 chris said:

Hi Diane,
what about fresh rosehips / rosehip jam, sea buckthorn fresh or as jam, capers, juniper berries, pickled gherkins, sauerkraut? I could not find these on any Monash sites.

One question that has bugged me (as no info available): herbs are generally considered low fodmap – chives, parsley. I eat them in large quantities when i can, in a variety of green sauces. I also use lovage, and burnet – are these low in fodmaps. many thanks for your advice!

Cinzia Cuneo
January 21, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Chris,
Sea buckthorn berries appear to be high in excess fructose. Hence you should limit them if you are sensitive to fructose. One tablespoon (about 8 g) of capers are low-FODMAP. Pickled gherkins are low-FODMAP but be careful because additives, such as garlic, may be added to the brine solution. In such case their FODMAP content could be high. Sauerkraut is definitely high-FODMAP. There is no info on the Monash app concerning rosehip, juniper berries, ovage, and burnet. As far as herbs and spices, you may find the following article useful: https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/using-herbs-spices-low-fodmap-diet/

May 26, 2020 Sue said:

> Lovage is on the Celery family, so I think moderate amounts would be fine.

Cinzia Cuneo
May 27, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Sue,
Since the FODMAP content of lovage is not known, I would avoid it during the elimination phase.

March 23, 2020 Wendy said:

I find cooked apples in a pie for instance I can tolerate along with pastry made with wheat flour. I’m best if I ignore all fruit sadly in it’s natural state. I think chocolate gives me diarrhoea along with making me cough so as much as I love it have cut it out and noticed a difference. I eat supermarket sourdough and have no problems but other bread causes problems.

Cinzia Cuneo
April 3, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Wendy,
You may want to get expert advice to help you with your intolerances: https://www.soscuisine.com/vip-dietitian/

April 2, 2020 Kolya said:

Hello, thank you for the article!
I am confused about the difference between dried and canned legumes. If I cook dried lentils myself and discard the water, would that also be low FODMAP as the canned version?
More generally, is there a way for me to cook dried legumes to make them low FODMAP?
Thank you!!

Cinzia Cuneo
April 3, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Kolya,
FODMAPs contained in legumes are water-soluble and with time they pass into the can’s brine. When instead you cook dried legumes yourself, there is no time for the FODMAPs to leach into the water. Hence they remain in the cooked legumes.

April 7, 2020 Kolya said:

> Thank you, Cinzia for the quick reply! Would there a way for me to make the legumes less FODMAPy? Like cooking longer, keeping them in water longer and discarding the water? Thank you!

Cinzia Cuneo
April 7, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Kolya,
Unfortunately there is no known method to reduce their FODMAP content. I recommend you do the reintroduction phase to determine your own tolerance level.

April 25, 2020 Julie-anne Gilbert said:

Hi, why is KEFIR homemade, High Fodmap? the lactose is supposedly eaten so ends up low lactose when you consume it??

Cinzia Cuneo
April 26, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Julie-Anne,
According to the Monash app, the green level for kefir is only 2 tablespoons.

May 13, 2020 Linda said:

As Kolya mentioned in her comments, she’s confused as to how to cook lentils to be low fodmap, such as the canned version we buy at the store. My question is this: If we were to cook and then CAN/bottle the legumes ourselves, and let set for a few weeks, would this help it to become low fodmap?

Cinzia Cuneo
May 17, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Linda,
The FODMAP content may be reduced a bit but not enough to make it low-FODMAP. That’s why legumes/pulses must be avoided during the elimination phase.

November 11, 2021 Melissa said:

I recently purchased a probiotic with a small amount of prebiotic fructooligosaccharides as the 3rd from last inactive ingredients list. Would this be equivalent to canned lentils and ok for elimination phase?
Thank you,
Melissa

Cinzia Cuneo
November 12, 2021 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Melissa,
It would be preferable to avoid this probiotic supplement during the FODMAP elimination phase since FOS is a high FODMAP ingredient.

December 7, 2021 James said:

bad advice like this is going to cause people medical problems. You can’t just say that because you only eat a little bit then it’s good. it’s not good. if I made an entire meal of all the foods that people say are low fodmap but only in low quantities, I’d end up with a high fodmap meal. never tell people it’s OK to eat high fodmap foods!

Cinzia Cuneo
December 9, 2021 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hello James,
I do not understand why you say that we tell people to eat high FODMAP foods. We actually prepare Low-FODMAP meal plans and all the ingredients quantities are carefully calculated to ensure that each meal is indeed low-FODMAP.

January 20, 2022 Chris Allan said:

I have done Fodmap elimination for years and have never successfully been able to reintroduce Fodmap foods. Any ideas?

Cinzia Cuneo
January 20, 2022 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Chris,
Let us help you with our VIP Dietitian service: https://www.soscuisine.com/vip-dietitian/

March 29, 2022 Annie said:

This was an excellent article. Very smart.
Thank you.

I have been searching for an answer to
something in which James (12/7/2021)
commented upon: It is what I am
searching for. How to keep a full meal
low-fodmaps? How to go about the
combining of low fodmaps food portions
with other low fodmaps food portions and
not knowing WHAT low fodmaps to
combine in order to keep a meal low!!! Isn’t
there a cumulative issue to be considered?
I am not speaking of your meal plans. They
are well done. I am speaking about a way to
determine—to KNOW HOW—to choose
which foods can be combined in order to
eat properly, to keep meals low-fodmaps.
This desire seems to be an essential key
to dietary success, yet, so far, I find it
confusingly elusive.

Cinzia Cuneo
March 31, 2022 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Hi Annie, The answer to your question is not simple. We did address it in our FAQ in the following way: “For the majority of people with IBS who follow a Low FODMAP diet, it is quite possible to eat several green servings of foods in the same meal. That being said, there are of course limits; this is why it is recommended to eat several small meals/snacks per day rather than just one or two large meals, and to avoid eating portions larger than your needs.” If you follow SOSCuisine’s Low FODMAP meal plans, you never have to worry, as we do the math for you to ensure that every meal, even with multiple recipes, is Low FODMAP.

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