What is FODMAP – January 6, 2016

I’ve had a few questions lately about FODMAP – why I follow it, how did I find it, what is the real benefit?  So I am going to do my best to explain FODMAP and add in my personal experiences as I can. Most of my information has been gathered from the Stanford Digestive Health Center data available online, with some additional details from my doctor and other sources.

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols, which are basically just certain carbohydrates that may not be easily digested or absorbed by the body.  They fall in the following categories:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin etc)
  • Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc)

For a full listing of carbohydrates by category, check out the Stanford details I mentioned earlier.

When certain carbohydrates are not absorbed, they may cause a form of IBS with symptoms of bloating, constipation, diarrhea and other discomfort.  In order to determine which, if any, of the FODMAP categories cause IBS, a full elimination of all categories is recommended.  My doctor recommended that I complete the elimination diet for 6 weeks and then add in one category at a time for 1 week each.  That allows you to narrow down the exact foods that can cause stomach discomfort.

My experience:

It all started in Montreal July 2012.  Maybe it didn’t happen in Montreal, but I still blame the city J.  I went for a girls weekend in Montreal, met Redfoo from LMFAO, ate a ton of heavy food and came back to NYC with a messed up stomach.  I had a pain across the middle of my stomach that I couldn’t seem to get rid of – I tried cutting out red meat, coffee, then moved on to gluten.  I saw an internist for blood work and the ALCAT test (a slightly controversial test that is meant to identify food sensitivities), then on to a GI doctor for a CT scan, colonoscopy and endoscopy.  Everything was functioning normally, which was so confusing, because what I was feeling (pain, constipation, bloating, weight gain) didn’t feel normal!


I did the full elimination for 6 weeks and added back in a category at a time after that, landing on the below categories that I CANNOT eat at all:

  • Fructans
  • Galactans

Within Fructose, Lactose and Polyols, I can have a small amount of some items in there – I’ve kind of worked through how much lactose I can tolerate (hard cheeses, little dash of regular milk) and how much fruit I can have (a little avocado, a nectarine piece that is in my sangria 🙂 -recipe coming soon).

I cannot believe the change this has made for my body – I lost the weight I put on, I eat a normal and balanced diet and as long as I steer clear of the foods that bother me, I’m stomach pain free!

Leave me some comments on your experience with FODMAP, or feel free to ask me more about my experience! I’d love to hear from you 🙂

(Here’s my proof of meeting Redfoo!)


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