If you suffer of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you are not alone. Like me, around 15% of the population, has the same problem, which causes abdominal pain, bloating and alternating constipation and diarrhea. IBS can be caused by stress, infection and in addition to that, some foods can aggravate the condition. Treatment options include dietary modifications and stress management.

In order to manage your IBS condition, a diet on low FODMAPs is recommended.

I have been researching and trialing this diet myself for the past few months. This article is focusing on understanding what FODMAPs are and what food should IBS sufferers eat and what food to avoid in order to manage this condition.

The Low-FODMAP diet was created by researchers at Monash University in Australia to help people suffering from common digestive illnesses and seventy-five percent of people with irritable bowel syndrome have greatly improved symptoms when they remove the FODMAP foods from their diet. 

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAP is the acronym for:

F - Fermentable
O - oligo-saccharides (galacto-oligosaccharides [GOS] and fructans)
D -Disaccharides (lactose)
M - Monosaccharides (fructose)
A- and
P - Polyols (sorbitol and mannitol)

Let's see what those words mean:

Fermentable – The process through which gut bacteria degrade undigested carbohydrate to produce gases (hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide)

Oligosaccharides – “Oligo” is a Greek prefix for having few or little and saccharide is another word for sugar.  

  • Fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) found in: wheat, rye, onions and garlic
  • Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) found in: legumes/pulses

Disaccharides – “Di” meaning two, saccharide = sugar.  So it means two sugar molecules linked together.  

  • Lactose found in: milk, soft cheese, yoghurts

Monosaccharides – “Mono” meaning one, this word is used to describe one basic sugar molecule.  

  • Fructose (in excess of glucose) found in: honey, apples, high fructose corn syrups

Polyols – Which is another name for sugar alcohols, such as sorbiotiol, mannitol, xylitol and isomalt.  These sugars are malabsorbed by everyone and are free to be fermented by bacteria where ever the bacteria find them.  

  • Sugar polyols (eg. sorbitol, mannitol) found in some fruit and vegetables and used as artificial sweeteners

FODMAPs are found in a lot of the food that we commonly eat and they can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when poorly absorbed by people.

Dr Sue Shepherd, from Australia, developed the low FODMAP diet back in 1999. Through her research she has discovered that limiting food high in FODMAP helps to treat people with symptoms of IBS. The low FODMAP diet has been widely accepted and recommended as one of the most effective dietary therapies for IBS. 

We normally associate junk food with poor health, but in the case of IBS there is a lot of really good, natural food, which is not well tolerated, by those who suffer with this syndrome.

The below lists represent, one the high FODMAP food, or the food that should be limited or avoided, and the other one, the low FODMAP food, which is the food that can be consumed. Please note that these lists are not exhaustive, and that the below products are sampled from foods commonly found in Australia and that there me be some differences in FODMAP results within the same food produced in other country. Also researchers keep on testing and reviewing these food groups.

Also it is important to bear in mind that people do not all react to foods in the same way, so please use the lists as you see fit. You can also try to remove these types of aliments for 6 weeks and than reintroduce them one at the time, for a few days and see how you feel.

High FODMAP food  (avoid)                                                                          

Low FODMAP food (go ahead)                                                                    

Vegetables and Pulses

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Baked Beans
  • Beans (all types)
  • Beetroot
  • Black eyed pea
  • Brussel sprout
  • Broad beans
  • Broccoli (large quantity)
  • Butternut Squash
  • Cabbage Savoy
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chick peas
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Green pepper (green bell pepper)
  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Leek
  • Mange Tout
  • Mushroom
  • Onion (any type)
  • Peas
  • Soy bean
  • Spring onion (white part)
  • Shallot
  • Sweet Corn
  • Sweet Potato



  • Alfaalfa
  • Bok choy / pak choi
  • Bean sprouts
  • Broccoli (small portion)
  • Butternut squash
  • Cabbage common
  • Carrot
  • Chilli red – if tolerable
  • Chives
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant / aubergine
  • Green beans
  • Ginger
  • Lettuce
  • Olives
  • Parsnip
  • Red peppers / capsicums
  • Potato
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Sweet potato
  • Tomato 
  • Turnip
  • Zucchini

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Blackberry
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Peache
  • Pear
  • Persimmon
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Prunes
  • Watermelon
  • most tinned fruit and most dried fruit
  • Banana (firm)
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberry
  • Canteloupe
  • Cranberry
  • Honeydew and Galia melons
  • Clementine
  • Grapes
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Passion fruit
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry

Cereals, Grains, Breads, Biscuits, Pasta, Nuts

  • Wheat containing products such as (check labels):
  • Biscuits
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Pasta
  • Wheat bread
  • Wheat cereals
  • Wheat noodles
  • Bran cereals
  • Couscous
  • Pistachios
  • Rye
  • Semolina

 Cereals, Grains, Breads, Biscuits, Pasta, Nuts 

  • Cornflakes
  • Corn chips
  • Rice bran
  • Buckwheat
  • Coconut – milk, cream, flesh
  • Macadamia
  • Millet
  • Oats (limited)
  • Peanuts 
  • Pecans 
  • Pine nuts 
  • Polenta
  • Potato chips
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Rice (all)
  • Rice crackers
  • Rice noodles
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Wheat free or gluten free breads
  • Wheat free or gluten free pasta


Sweets and sweeteners

  • Sugar free sweets
  • Agavae
  • Fructose
  • Honey
  • Corn syrup
  • Inulin
  • Isomalt
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol

 Sweets and sweeteners

  • Golden syrup
  • Glucose
  • Maple syrup
  • Sugar – also called sucrose
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharine
  • Sucralose

Dairy Foods

  • Buttermilk
  • Cream
  • Custard
  • Ice cream
  • Margarine
  • Milk with lactose
  • Soft cheeses 
  • Yoghurt – including greek yogurt


 Dairy Foods and Eggs

  • Brie cheese
  • Butter
  • Camembert cheese
  • Cream
  • Dairy free chocolate pudding
  • Eggs
  • Feta cheese
  • Hard cheese – such as cheddar
  • Lactose free milk
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Oat milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Rice milk
  • Sorbet
  • Swiss cheese
  • Tofu


  • Apple Juice
  • Juice from concentrate
  • Juice made of unsuitable fruit
  • Rum


  • Beer
  • Clear spirits such as Vodka
  • Coffee
  • Fruit juice (with allowed fruit)
  • Herbal tea – ensure no apple added
  • Tea
  • Wine 
  • Water





 Meats, Poultry, Fish
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Turkey

Looking at the high FODMAP list, it's disheartening to acknowledge that there are so many things that need to be avoided. I felt the same way 7 months ago, when I was diagnosed with IBS, but now I feel better and a lot healthier than I ever felt in the last few years. I have lost lots of weight and even my 'runs' to the toilet have stopped - oops too much information! 

DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment rendered by a medical doctor/GP/dietician etc..