A low FODMAP diet removes foods that have specific characteristics which can cause gas, bloating and/or diarrhea in people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates commonly found in foods:

F- fermentable

O – oligosaccharides

D – disaccharides

M – monosaccharides

A -and

P – polyls

Some of these foods that are high in disaccharides and oligosaccharides (lactose, fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)) create more gas in our bodies. The monosaccharides and polyls (fructose, sugar alcohols) draw excess water into the intestines. Removing foods with these characteristics can help up to 75% of those who struggle with IBS. It is important to discuss with your doctor whether a low FODMAP diet is right for your child.

How does a low FODMAP diet work?

For the first 2-4 weeks, eliminating all FODMAPs will help you to see if there are some food components that are causing stomach upset. If your child feels better after removing these foods, you can then work on re-introducing foods from a one category at a time. This will narrow down which foods trigger your child’s symptoms. For example, they may tolerate oligosaccharides and disaccharides just fine, but monosaccharides and polyls really bother them.

How do I start a low FODMAP diet?

Being familiar with foods in each category can help you get started. Here are a few examples of common foods from each category:

Lactose – milk, ice cream, yogurt, soft cheeses

High Fructose – apples, pears, watermelon, mango, figs, artichokes, asparagus, agave, honey and high fructose corn syrup

Fructans – nectarine, watermelon, persimmon, dried fruits, artichokes, garlic, onion, peas, wheat, barley, rye and inulin

GOS – dried beans, soybean, split peas, some nuts like cashew and pistachio

Polyls – apples, apricots, blackberries, nectarine, peach, pear, mushrooms and cauliflower, sugar alcohols

It may seem overwhelming with the list of foods to avoid. Try to focus on what your child CAN eat!

There are many resources and tools online to help you with grocery shopping, meal planning and recipes to create healthy low FODMAP meals. Here are a couple favorites:

Remember to reach out to your doctor or dietitian to help make sure your child has a healthy, balanced diet while following the low FODMAP diet!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kristen Hami, MS, RD, CSP, is a board certified pediatric dietitian who has worked in pediatrics for over 10 years. She has specialized in gastroenterology and is passionate about helping children and their families manage GI disorders with healthy dietary approaches.
Pediatric Specialists of Virginia is a medical group created by Children's National Hospital and Inova Health System to be focused exclusively on caring for children. Our specialists are recognized as “Top Docs” by Washingtonian and Northern Virginia Magazine and have appeared in U.S. News & World Report as leading experts in their fields.

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