The low FODMAP diet is best implemented with the guidance of a FODMAP knowledgeable dietitian as the diet is filled with many nuances, making it a bit confusing for the low FODMAP diet newbie.
Today, let’s review my top 5 potential low FODMAP diet pitfalls:
#1 Thinking all gluten free foods are low FODMAP
Many gluten free products include FODMAP containing ingredients such as: agave syrup, honey, apple and/or pear concentrate, chicory root extract (inulin), fructans, whole soybeans (edamame, crushed soybeans or soybean flour) or other bean flours making them likely HIGH FODMAP diet choices. Read ingredient labels carefully to check for hidden FODMAP ingredients.
#2 Consuming inadequate fiber
The reality is that many of us rely on whole grain wheat for fiber in our diet and this fiber source goes straight out the window with the start of the low FODMAP elimination diet. Don’t worry, the low FODMAP diet has many sources of healthy fiber rich foods. Work with your health care provider to individualize your fiber needs based on your medical history and symptoms. I find most of my clients can tolerate 20-25 grams of fiber per day. Some examples of low FODMAP fiber rich foods include: chia seeds, oat bran, oatmeal, rice bran, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, white potato with skin, blueberries, strawberries, an orange, 1/4 cup canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed) or 1/2 cup canned lentils (drained an rinsed), to name a few.
We love our Quinoa Kale Low FODMAP Vegan Nourish Bowl that provides a generous fiber boost to the diet.
#4 Avoiding dairy foods altogether resulting in inadequate calcium intake
With careful planning, consuming adequate calcium in your low FODMAP diet is easy. Include lactose free cow’s milk, hard cheeses, lactose free yogurt (such as Green Valley brand), chia seeds and kale to boost your calcium intake. Some individuals with food sensitivities can not tolerate any dairy foods in their diet, but I find this is a small subset of individuals. Inadequate calcium intake could compromise cardiovascular, bone and dental health. If you are reducing dairy or eliminating dairy in your diet, work with your dietitian to ensure adequate intake of calcium.
We add cheese to many of our recipes on the Well Balanced FODMAPer to boost calcium intake! This Quinoa Crusted Chicken Parmesan is fiber rich too!
#5 Consuming more than one fruit serving at a time
Fructose, in excess of glucose, in a food is considered a FODMAP source though tolerance varies person to person. Fruits that are considered low FODMAP do not have excess fructose in them. Consuming too much fructose at a sitting, even if the fruit is considered low FODMAP fruit may contribute to symptoms as well. A large fructose load at one meal can be difficult for the body to absorb adequately. When fructose is not absorbed adequately from the GI tract, it pulls water into the small intestine and can contribute to GI symptoms. During the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, I encourage clients to limit to just one fruit serving per meal or snack time. The Monash University low FODMAP diet app is a great resource for FODMAP portion control. If you have a smart phone, I encourage you download this app to provide guidance. Many FODMAPers make the mistake of loading up on fruit when making a fruit smoothie! For tips on making a yummy low FODMAP smoothie, check out my post here and print out the smoothie handout!
Nothing says fruit portion control like a fruit kabob! We love the look of these kabobs too…so enticing! Fruit kabobs are a yummy accompaniment to our Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies!
And one more for good measure: Relying on convenience food products with long ingredient lists
If you are like me, your busy lifestyle lends itself to reliance on foods on the fly! I love to have a couple low FODMAP snacks with me at all times. The problem with relying on manufactured products with LONG ingredient lists is that they often contain ingredients that have not been officially tested for FODMAP content–invert sugar (might vary in FODMAP content), maltodextrin (might vary in FODMAP content) etc., corn fiber, sugar fiber have an unknown FODMAP content. Selecting foods created by Mother Nature or those with ingredients that have been tested (i.e. peanut butter) might be your best bet. Snacking on banana with a little natural peanut butter, an orange with a handful (10) almonds, popcorn, a cheese stick or two and a handful of grapes are tasty, low FODMAP and nutritious. For now, I do allow foods that contain invert sugar and maltodextrin and my clients have done beautifully with them. It is just hard to know FODMAP content of some untested ingredients as they may vary manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s easy to get hung up over ingredients… but I also recommend you listen to your body and enjoy what works for you.
These decorated bananas (with no hidden ingredients!) are so visually appealing and taste great too! We add a thin layer of peanut or almond butter and top with a variety of wholesome seed and nut toppings.
Today I will be working more on chocolate peanut butter lava cake recipes…I hope to have the recipe posted later this week!