Have you seen the phrase “low FODMAP” and been like “what the heck is a FODMAP?” You’re probably not alone. FODMAPs are a rather foreign topic to most people, and today we are going to be answering the question: “What are FODMAPs?”
*Disclaimer: As always, this is general information intended for healthy adults. Your needs may vary based on medical status, lifestyle, or life-stage. Please never replace generalized health information you’ve read online with individualized clinical care.
So, what are FODMAPs?
“FODMAP” stands for fermentable, oligo- di-, mono-saccharides and polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates, each containing 1-10 sugars, that, when eaten in excess, have the possibility to be osmotically active in the intestines.
In FODMAP-sensitive individuals, FODMAPs may become fermented by bacteria in the intestines, which releases short-chain fatty acids and gases, often leading to bloating and gas. FODMAPs may also draw water to the intestines due to their osmotic activity – meaning they may increase diarrhea.
This may cause some FODMAP-sensitive individuals to have symptoms of functional gut or gastrointestinal disorders like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
What foods contain FODMAPS?
FODMAPs are found in many foods and food groups.
There are four types of FODMAPS:
1.Monosaccharides are made of one (mono) sugars. Fructose is a sugar that is also a FODMAPS.
- Fructose is found in some fruits like cherries, peaches, watermelon, pears, high fructose corn syrup, agave, honey, and more. High fructose corn syrup is found in most commercial non-diet sodas, packaged sweets, and is also found in many condiments like ketchup.
2. Disaccharides are made of two (di) sugars. Lactose is a sugar that is a FODMAP.
- Lactose is found in dairy and dairy-products, including yogurt, pudding, ricotta, etc.
3. Oligosaccharides are made of 3-10 (many = ‘oligo’) sugars. Fructans and galactans are FODMAPS that are oligosaccharides.
- Fructans (fructooligosaccharides) are found in wheat, broccoli, cabbage, leeks, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beets, snow peas, shallots, garlic, and onions. It is also found in added fiber sources, like ‘inulin.’
- Galactans (galactooligosaccharides) are found in broccoli, beans, lentils, and legumes (like beans and chickpeas and soy beans).
4. Polyols are sugar alcohols that are FODMAPs.
- Polyols are found in sweeteners including sorbitol, xylitol (which is found in many gums and mints), maltitol, stone fruits like cherries, nectarines, peaches and plums. Sugar alcohols (like sorbitol) are also found in diet sodas and “sugar-free” sweeteners and sweets.