The Definitive Guide to FODMAPs

Smiling woman using smart phone at supermarketYou could be having a fairly routine conversation about health and nutrition where everything discussed is familiar. You hear things like “carbs” and “medium chain triglycerides” and “fructose” and “macros” and “gluten” and “PUFAs,” thinking nothing of it. Like I said, routine. Then someone mentions FODMAPs. Huh? What the heck is that? Quite possibly one of the strangest, seemingly contrived acronyms in existence, FODMAPs represents a collection of foods to which a surprisingly large number of people are highly sensitive. To them, paying attention to the FODMAPs in their diets is very real and very serious if they hope to avoid debilitating, embarrassing, and painful digestive issues.

What is a FODMAP?

FODMAPs are carbohydrates and fibers that gut bacteria can ferment in the gut and cause excessive gas, intestinal discomfort, diarrhea, and/or constipation. In other words, FODMAPs are a potential source of digestive distress in susceptible people.

What does FODMAP stand for?

FODMAP is an acronym. F is for Fermentable carbohydrates that gut bacteria ferment. O is for Oligosaccharides, chains of carbohydrates. D is for disaccharides, pairs of sugar molecules. M is for monosaccharides, single sugar molecules. P is for Polyols, or sugar alcohols.

F is for Fermentable – Fermentable carbohydrates are carbohydrates that are fermented by bacteria instead of broken down by our digestive enzymes. In most people, some fermentable carbohydrates are healthy sources of food for the (helpful) bacteria that ferment them; these can include the prebiotics I’ve championed in the past and can actually improve digestive and overall health. In people with FODMAPs intolerance, certain carbohydrates can become too fermentable, resulting in gas, bloating, pain, and poor digestion, as well as proliferation of unwanted pathogenic bacteria.

O is for Oligosaccharides – Oligosaccharides are short-chain carbohydrates, including fructans (fructooligosaccharides, or FOS, and inulin) and galactans (raffinose and stachyose). Fructans are chains of fructose with a glucose molecule at the end; galactans are chains of galactose with a fructose molecule.

D is for Disaccharides – These are pairs of sugar molecules, with the most problematic being the milk sugar lactose (a galactose molecule with a glucose molecule).

M is for Monosaccharides – This describes a single sugar molecule. Free fructose is the monosaccharide to watch out for with FODMAPs intolerance.

A is for And – Every list needs a good conjunction.

P is for Polyols – Polyols include sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, or maltitol. For an idea as to their effects, type one of them into Google and note the autofill choice (hint: it’s usually “diarrhea” or “constipation” or “gas”). Since large amounts of polyols rarely occur in nature, lots of people have trouble with them.

Most people probably don’t need to worry about these categories. Most people enjoy pristine, effortless trips to the toilet that happen like clockwork and finish in under a minute. Heck, as I understand it, most people don’t even use toilet paper these days; they are that efficient and clean. Yes, it’s true: digestion worldwide has never been better!

The reality, of course, is that digestive difficulties are widespread, particularly in the industrialized world. If it’s not constipation, it’s diarrhea. Or bloating. Or gas. Or hemorrhoids. Or IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Or all of the above. These complaints are sadly very common (even more common than those stats would suggest, since many people are too embarrassed to admit they have an issue). For many of these people, FODMAPs may be exacerbating their symptoms.


Why are FODMAPs an Issue for Some People?

Normal carbohydrate digestion takes place in the small intestine, where polysaccharides are broken up into glucose, fructose, and galactose and transporters like GLUT2 and GLUT5 absorb them for the body to use as nutrients. Sometimes those sugar molecules make it past the small intestine into the large intestine where colonic bacteria – the gut flora we (sorta) know and love – gobbles it up via fermentation, potentially causing gas and painful bloating. The presence of too many sugars in the colon can also cause an influx of fluid, which could lead to diarrhea. Constipation is another common symptom, though it’s not clear exactly how FODMAPs cause it. And some polysaccharides, like the oligosaccharides, make it through to the colonic bacteria as a rule because they resist digestion in everyone (in healthy people, these have a useful prebiotic effect).

You might be thinking, “Cool, so I can just avoid those weird sounding sugars and be fine, right?” Probably not. FODMAPs are very prevalent in the food supply. Even if you avoid free fructose, don’t drink milk, and ditch processed food containing sugar alcohols, you’ll still run into them in many fruits and vegetables.

Now, FODMAPs aren’t an issue for many people. They’re either digested normally or their gut bacteria are sufficiently diverse and healthy that they can benefit from the prebiotic input. But for those who can’t digest them properly, they should be aware of high- and low-FODMAP foods.

What are High-FODMAP Foods?

The highest FODMAP foods include fibrous fruits and vegetables, fruits and other foods that have concentrated levels of fructose and sugar, processed foods full of sugar alcohols, concentrated sources of sugar like plain sugar, honey, juice, and soda, and grains full of insoluble fiber.

Okay, just so you know what you’re dealing with, here’s a big list of all the foods that are high in FODMAPs including which FODMAP they contain.

FODMAP vegetables:

  • Asparagus (fructose, fructans)
  • Artichoke (fructose)
  • Beets (fructans)
  • Broccoli (fructans)
  • Brussels sprouts (fructans)
  • Butternut squash (fructans)
  • Cabbage (fructans)
  • Celery (polyols)
  • Cauliflower (polyols)
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel (fructans)
  • Garlic (fructans)
  • Jerusalem artichoke/fartichoke (fructan)
  • Jicama (fructan)
  • Leek (fructans)
  • Mushroom (polyol)
  • Okra (fructans)
  • Onion (fructans)
  • Shallots (fructans)
  • Sweet corn (fructose)
  • Radicchio (fructans)
  • Sweet potato (polyol)


  • Apples (fructose, polyol)
  • Apricots (polyol)
  • Avocados (polyol)
  • Blackberries (polyol)
  • Cherries (fructose, polyol)
  • Plums (polyol)
  • Pluots (polyol)
  • Lychees (polyol)
  • Nectarines (polyol)
  • Peaches (polyol)
  • Pears (fructose, polyol)
  • Persimmons (polyol)
  • Mango (fructose)
  • Watermelon (polyol, fructose)
  • Dried fruit (fructose)
  • Juice (fructose)

Other FODMAP Foods

  • Honey (fructose)
  • Agave nectar (fructose)
  • White sugar (fructose)
  • Maltitol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol
  • Dairy that contains lactose, like milk, cream, butter, and soft cheeses
  • Wheat, barley, rye, spelt, emmer, einkorn, oats
  • Lentils and beans
  • Almonds, cashews, pistachios

What are Low-FODMAP Foods?

Low-FODMAP foods include meat of all kinds, poultry, seafood, fish, shellfish, eggs, and hard low-lactose cheeses. Low-fiber vegetables, fruits, and nuts also tend to be lower in FODMAPs than more fibrous fruits, vegetables, and nuts; fermentation also reduces FODMAP content.

If you suspect you have digestive issues and want to try a low-FODMAP diet, here’s an exhaustive list of what you can eat.

Animal Foods

  • Meat of all kinds: beef, lamb, pork, goat, game meats. They’re all completely free of FODMAPs.
  • Poultry: name a bird and it’s FODMAP-free.
  • Seafood, fish, and shellfish are also FODMAP-free.
  • Eggs contain no FODMAPs.
  • Hard cheeses, sour yogurts and kefirs are very low in FODMAPs.


  • Zucchini
  • Squash
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Lettuces of all kinds
  • Arugula
  • Green beans
  • Collard greens
  • Mustard
  • Pumpkin
  • Seaweed
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Cucumbers
  • Chilis
  • Fermented or pickled vegetables are low in FODMAPs, often even when the fresh versions are high. So pickled beets or sauerkraut will be lower in FODMAPs than fresh beets and fresh cabbage.


  • Melons (except for watermelon)
  • Bananas (except if green)
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Raspberries


  • Rice
  • Buckwheat (technically a pseudocereal but close enough to count)
  • Amaranth
  • Quinoa
  • Teff
  • Any fermented grain (sourdough) will be lower in FODMAPs than the same unfermented grain. Sourdough bread is much lower in FODMAPs than unfermented bread, for example.


  • Mac nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Peanuts (yeah, yeah, I know it’s a legume)

Let me reiterate before I go on, because I don’t want to scare everyone away from berries and broccoli: not everyone has problems with FODMAPs. Most people probably don’t. If you’re eating all that stuff without issue, continue doing so and consider this post merely an academic curiosity. They are largely healthy foods that provide prebiotic substrate for your healthy gut bacteria to thrive on.

Is the Low-FODMAP Diet an Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diet?

Low-FODMAP diets beat the pants off conventional dietary advice for people with IBS.1 One study found that while healthy subjects had increased flatulence on a high-FODMAP diet, subjects with IBS had increased flatulence in addition to lethargy and gut pain.2 This could indicate that both groups were feeding FODMAPs to their gut bugs (which produce the flatulence through fermentation), but only the IBS patients had enough pathogenic gut flora to produce adverse symptoms. Farts are funny. Bloating and severe pain are not.

Who else might benefit from limiting FODMAPs?

Anyone with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).

Normally, the small intestine has relatively low numbers of gut flora residents. In SIBO, it’s got tons that aren’t supposed to be there. They interfere with nutrient absorption, digestion, and just generally muck everything up. SIBO has been shown to correlate quite strongly with lactase deficiency.3 Without enough lactase, you won’t be able to digest lactose (one of the premier FODMAPs) and your colonic bacteria will have to do the job. Another, earlier study found that patients with SIBO also show malabsorption of fructose and sorbitol in addition to lactose; all three are FODMAPs.4

Anyone suffering from chronic stress.

Stress is a well-known disruptor of digestive function as anyone who’s gotten queasy, lost their appetite, or had explosive diarrhea before the big interview could tell you. There’s evidence that stress might be causing FODMAP-intolerance, too. First, stress inhibits the action of GLUT2, a transporter responsible for the small intestinal absorption of glucose, fructose, and galactose in the gut.5 If you’re unable to adequately absorb the sugar molecules in the small intestine, they end up making it to your large intestine for fermentation by colonic bacteria. Second, stress has an immediate impact on the composition and function of your gut flora, rendering your populations less diverse and allowing certain pathogenic species to overpopulate—species that feed on FODMAPs.

Anyone who thinks they’re gluten-sensitive.

Since gluten-containing grains also tend to be high in FODMAPs, many people who think they have gluten-sensitivity or celiac disease actually are just sensitive to the FODMAPs in the wheat, rye, or barley. Ask your doctor about testing for celiac, SIBO, and other digestive disorders.

Anyone with otherwise unexplained digestive problems.

Maybe you haven’t had a diagnosis. Maybe you just don’t feel right after eating almost anything. Maybe you’re chronically constipated (or the opposite). Trying a low-FODMAP diet can help you narrow your focus and start to identify some culprits.

How to Try a FODMAP Elimination Diet

If you decide you might be a good candidate for a low-FODMAP diet, try a FODMAP elimination diet trial. Go through the list of FODMAP foods from this article and eliminate the ones high in FODMAPs and limit your diet to the ones low in FODMAPs. If your symptoms improve, add FODMAP foods back into your diet one by one every three or four days to track which ones cause your symptoms. Consider keeping a diet journal to log your food and track your reactions to individual FODMAPs. Some people might really react poorly to fructose while having no issues with lactose. Point being: different FODMAPs affect different people differently. You can tolerate some and not others. And if you can tolerate them, they’re worth consuming.

Dosage matters, too. A gram of inulin might be fine, while five grams could cause distress. A half cup of blackberries might be fine while a full cup gives you bloating. Individual tolerance must be determined by, well, seeing what and how much you tolerate.

If you’re interested in healing your gut, whether from SIBO or IBS or anything else that might be predisposing you to FODMAP intolerance, well-established protocol like GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet or SCD (specific carbohydrate diet) may help and are worth looking into. 

Another good low-FODMAP diet to try is the carnivore diet. By virtue of eliminating all plant foods, it eliminates the vast majority of FODMAP foods. Read here for a good take on carnivore.

If you have no digestive issues, I would caution against trying a low-FODMAP diet “just because.” You’ll be missing out on some very nutritious, important foods, probably unnecessarily, while adding a bunch of unnecessary stress to your eating. FODMAP-related digestive issues are very noticeable. You’ll know it if you have it.

Well, that about sums it up. I hope this Definitive Guide to FODMAPs was helpful for you.

Now that we’re done, what about you? Do you have any sensitivities to FODMAPs? Has looking at that list of FODMAP foods made lightbulbs go off? Let me know below!

TAGS:  gluten

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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132 thoughts on “The Definitive Guide to FODMAPs”

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  1. A while back I started eating quite a bit of beetroot because I’d heard it was really good for you, particularly in terms of sports performance and recovery. Having never really had fresh beetroot before, I reacted quite badly to it; stomach cramps, bloating, stools that leaked purple liquid when they hit the water in the bowl… Nice!

    Since starting the PB, I’ve found that I hardly ever have flatulence any more (which I put down to no more grains and all that superfluous fibre), except when I eat cabbage. Could it be because both cabbage and beets contain fructans? Or is it something else? …as I have no problem with any of the other frutan-containing vegetables that Mark lists (broccoli, asparagus, onions etc)

    1. Cabbage – a fabulous way to solve this problem is to cut the cabbage quite finely, into a bowl, salt it quite well, stir it about to ensure it’s all salty [or do it in layers when your fingers learn how much salt to use] and then place another bowl on top and a really heavy rock [or something quite weighty] on it. Leave it a minimum of 3 hours, and when you remove the weight, drain the cabbage – quite a lot of liquid should come out, along with whatever it is that causes bloating. You can also take the shredded cabbage and squeeze it to remove a bit more liquid. ‘Wilted’ cabbage! I’ve been doing this for my fairly fructan sensitive family for a good while, voila, no farts anymore! Use the cabbage for coleslaw, or any kind of salad that takes your fancy.

  2. I think I may have some problem with apples – if I eat them for a prolonged period of time I will get canker sores.

    Funny you mentioned sorbitol in food. We give that in the hospital to relieve symptoms of constipation sometimes. The amount of sorbitol found in these fruits is pretty insignificant though.

    1. I know this is old, but what you said about sorbitol kind-of irked me. For someone with a severe sorbitol intolerance you would probably have to literally hose down the room after giving them sorbitol for constipation. The fact that they can react to a small amount of sorbitol indicates more severe intolerance. Personally, I can barely look at a piece of sugar free gum without a severe reaction. Just like some lactose intolerant people can eat hard cheeses and some can’t even though there are only tiny amounts of lactose. Perhaps you don’t see sorbitol intolerant people for constipation because they tend towards the other side of things.
      On the canker sores after eating apples, it could be Oral Allergy Syndrome. If you have seasonal allergies, it could be from your body mistaking the apples as pollen. The molecular structure is similar, and in some people when the offending pollen is in the air then they get a reaction to the food.

      1. Don’t let it irk you – it’s a general statement. If people have allergies to any kind of medication obviously it isn’t given. And as a patient it is a right to refuse any medicaiton offered to you

  3. I went Paleo in January 2013 and felt great for 4-5 months before starting to get sick daily (messy bathroom issues) in May. I basically have IBS symptoms, even while eating paleo. I recently have tried avoiding FODMAPs which is fairly difficult given broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc were staples on my paleo meals. It has helped a little. Might have to get tested for SIBO – been tested for everything else (all normal).

    1. This is a little off subject because of the food cause, but I had the same issue: 4-5 great months starting the PB, then all of a sudden daily and sudden MBI (messy bathroom issues–I love this phrase!) I started experimenting by eliminating foods one at a time, and found the cause seems to be egg yolks. This stinks (no pun intended…) because I love eggs, and they are such a nutritional powerhouse. I’ve got it now to no more than two egg yolks and unlimited egg whites. Anyone else found this??

      1. Eggs are the most common allergen as well as garlic. I discovered my intolerence to many foods including eggs when going paleo.I think because i upped my intake of certain foods like eggs and my body reacted in severe out breaks of eczema. I did however discover quail eggs! They are funny little speckled eggs that taste just like real eggs .many people with an egg alergen can eat these eggs. I found them in the superstore grocery store which is canadian but i am sure you could hunt them down. 6 quail eggs equal 1 regular egg.

      2. I´ll eat your yolks and you can get my whites. I have the exact opposite reaction: yolks yum, whites produce stinky issues in the back end of digestion tract. Ehrm.

        1. I am in the same boat! No egg whites for me – they also sometimes cause headaches as well as constipation. But the egg yolks are generally ok.

      3. Yes, I have a problem with eggs and love them…..once I ate far too many for 3 months I have been having stomach digesting issues since. Dried eggs you know, military rations don’t seem as bad ??

    2. Same exact problem !!! 6 months after paleo, definitely try avoiding egg yolks, oh and for some reason root veggies help like carrots, beets, sweet potatos and less kale and excess greens worked for me

  4. i find that an “overdose” of FODMAPS causes an increase in hypothyroid symptoms, too! anything that puts extra strain on the body signals the thyroid to slow down.

  5. Mark,

    What are the effects on FODMAPs as you cook the above mentioned fruits/vegetables?
    Since you are altering some of the properties when you introduce heat through cooking, would these food become easier to digest and not cause some or all of those symptoms?

    1. Context matters, including prep technique (cooking makes them easier to digest). So does stress levels as well as how you are eating your meals (sitting at a table, chewing food, etc). Some may find one food doesn’t bother them on vacation but it horribly upsetting to the GI tract in a typical day.

  6. The “no wiper”- an elusive, baffling, odd source of pride with a side of astonishing disbelief; regardless, it still requires an extra insurance wipe.

      1. Thank you, although I am constantly referring to myself as a no wiper so as witty as my comment may have sounded, I was simply being me.

  7. I would say better ignore that FOMAPs list, otherwise you’ll be avoiding a lot of good, healthy food. With one of those disorders, better follow your doctor’s recommendation first (it might end up being to limit some of these foods) rather than directly avoiding things like fresh onion, garlic(!), artichoke (!!), brocoli (!!!),…, and almost every fruit (!!!!)

    1. It is not meant to be a “forever” thing,,, A temporary elimination diet while you heal your gut.

    2. As the article indicates, not everyone will be bothered by all FODMAP foods. I don’t do well on onions, fresh garlic (granulated is okay), or beans. That means Mexican food, which I love, is best limited or avoided. I can eat the other foods listed with no problem. Instead of writing off all FODMAPs, try to pinpoint and avoid the ones that are troublesome.

    3. If you can find a doctor that understand nutrition and proper digestion, hang on to that doctor! They don’t study nutrition in Med School (only a few hours in total throughout their entire Med School program), but some go on to study Integrative Medicine which is where they would learn more about preventative medicine as it relates to nutrition.

  8. I could be wrong, but I thought that unlike other foods that need to be avoided, people who had problems with FODMAPs could eventually reintroduce them after a certain amount of time. Is it that people have a natural intolerance for them, or do FODMAPs just exacerbate an existing problem?

    1. What I’ve heard is after much jerking of the gut you can try to introduce in small amounts to see your “limit”

    2. Yes, you can reintroduce each group one by one to see how you react. For most people, they can tolerate fodmaps again. The total fodmap load in the meal matters as well – most people will bloat if they have a lot of fodmaps at once (like fruit salad for example).

    3. One side of our family has the same heigtened sensitivies to the same FODMAPS foods. That would seem to imply ‘natural intolerance’. However, after much experimentation, I personally found that the same fodmaps that caused me terrible complications when cooked, caused none when raw [other than a group of fructans that I can’t eat any which way]. I have NO idea what the science is behind this, and it would seem to be counterintuitive since “the science” claims cooked is easier to digest. Could it be that raw, it just takes so much chewing that we eat far less than when cooked, therefore raw naturally limits the amounts going into the body? Perhaps. re APPLES – I started buying only very small ones, or sharing half, and not eating it every day; re CAULIFLOWER, we eat that raw, too, in salads, with no negative effects; and so on. So, yeah, it’s loads of experimenting and logging reactions.

  9. The entire lunch I packed today is very FODMAPy. And I have IBS. UGH.
    But it’s delicious — cauliflower rice with meaty tomato sauce, broccoli, and a pear! I’m still going to eat it…

  10. I had been lactose intolerant for a long time- since I was little. So, from about 4th or 5th grade on I just completely ignored milk products for years, then started eating yogurt come high school. I am not lactose intolerant anymore- if I am it takes a lot more than what I am eating (yogurt and some cheese, only a little). So, I think you can make the issues go away. I didn’t realize I was healing my gut at the time, but apparently that was what I was doing. Good to know. Glad I don’t have any of the other issues, though. It sounds rough…

    1. Yogurt and cheese shouldn’t have lactose in them because that sugar should have been mostly eliminated in the fermentation process. But all those good probiotic bugs don’t hurt, either! I used to be lactose intolerant as a kid but can definitely eat cultured dairy. Any more, I don’t even really like milk or cream.

  11. I’ve never really had any issues with these fruits and vegetables, however the only fruit I cannot seem to digest is the avocado. The problem is though I love avocado but as soon as I eat it, a stomach ache comes up quite quickly and then I have a bloated painful tummy for the rest of the day. How can this be? Is this because avocado’s contain so much fat (be it very healthy fats of course) and carbohydrates? If any one has any idea I’d be grateful because I still feel I am missing out on something by not eating avocado’s.

      1. It’s so tough because I have issues with many fodmaps foods, but avocados and bananas are my saving grace. I can eat these with no issues. If only it were easier!

    1. Eva,
      I have the very same issue when I eat avocado–it’s the only food my tummy dislikes. I get a stomach ache within 30 min of eating it and it feel bloated too. I don’t have any other food allergies or intolerances and I actually like avocados and would love to be able to eat them for the healthy fats they contain. I just avoid them because even a small amount will cause some pain. I can tolerate avocado oil without any problems so I use that in salad dressings and for lightly sautéed veggies, etc.

      1. Thanks for that Paula, I think I will just stick with using the oil then for salads, as like you I don’t experience any problems with that.

    2. Eva,

      Avocados contain a lot of copper. Copper is linked to ibs. You might check into that.


    3. Avocado is in the same family as latex. Do you have a latex allergy?

  12. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve suffered from chronic constipation for years now. Since I’ve gone high-protein primal last July – it’s gotten worse. To give you an idea, I go every three to four days – once! =(

    The article makes sense, but I’m not sure HOW to figure out what the culprit is. Being primal, most of the veggies listed are my go-to for meeting my macros on a daily basis. Not to mention, milk and cheese.

    Does this mean I should ONLY be eating lettuce and meats? Where do the 3-4 eggs I eat everyday fall in the FODMAP scheme?

    Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

        1. I eat about 120-150g of protein and about 70-80g of fat a day.

      1. Hi – I drink more milk tea than coffee. And if I do, it’s one cup a day. But I didn’t drink coffee for months – even that didn’t help.

        1. Have you tried adding fat to your coffee a la “bullet proof coffee”? Kidding.

          Try increasing your magnesium. Awhile back I used magnesium supplements before bedtime to aid sleep and I “learned” magnesium can induce a laxative affect.

        2. Hmm. I will give that a try. Dude, right now – I’ll try anything to be semi-regular! I really think it’s hindering my weight loss progress.

        3. Specific foods help too. Everyone’s body is different when it comes to food so I can only go by personal N=1 observations. Make a nice chili with a full can of chipotle and adobo sauce. Like George Castanza, I like spicy chicken [foods in general]. As I learned to cook, a chili was easy. I’m taking about a Texan chili, no beans and lots of meat. I kept one-upping the heat level and discovered my body revolts at a specific chipotle level. As in t-minus and counting from spoon to mouth. With that said, I do not think that is healthy either. But you not pooping regularly is also not healthy because the human body needs to remove waste and toxins. Toss in cliches: pick your battle, or the devil you know…. Drinking lots of water helps too. Dehydration is vastly understood and under diagnosed. Paul Chek has a great book called, “How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy”. Get your hands on a copy.

          1. Hi, I know this is an old post, but I am going to chime in. I have suffered, and I mean suffered, from chronic constipation for almost 3 years. Two naturopaths, a gastroenterologist, and an MD could not figure it out. I finally went to a 3rd naturopath who tested me for SIBO and that was it. She explained that when my body fights off the SIBO, it inadvertently attacks the lining of my small intestine, which contains a protein identical to the bacteria. This paralyzes the small intestine, causing the constipation! I am now doing a low FODMAP diet plus antibiotics. I will post updates.

        4. I agree about the magnesium. You could also try Triphala. Check your local health food store. There are some products like AOR that just have Triphala, and others like RenewLife that have a product called “CleanseMore” which contains triphala, aloe, rhubarb, slippery elm, marshmallow and magnesium. However, if you have lots of sensitivities, this product may be too much for your gut. You’ll know after the first day or two.

    1. Chronic constipation might not imply IBS. If you don’t have IBS, more insoluble fiber may help (carrots, dark leafy greens, celery), especially since you’re eating lots of protein. I also find gelatin mixed with water effective in getting things moving.

    2. I was searching for info on avoiding some of the pitfalls from starting a ketogenic diet for someone recently, and “digestive distress” was one of the potential problems. Knowing that paleo/primal can be ketogenic, I included paleo as part of my search parameter. Chris Kessler did a good post about it back in January on his site. And, as others have said, upping fat and/or insoluble fiber may help. I also saw a video last week, which is no longer available for free viewing, about solving constipation (a problem I suffer from as well). One of the things mentioned that has not been mentioned here, or in the link I provided, is sodium intake. Many people who are following a paleo or primal diet may not be getting enough sodium, an important electrolyte, in their diet. I forget the exact reason sodium helps. He recommended that we get at least 3 grams of sodium a day, which is just a little over 1 teaspoon. I’m still trying to solve the problem myself, but upping fats and sodium seems to be a step in the right direction.

    3. Chronic constipation doesn’t have to be food related at all. I suffered from it for years. When I quit my job, it disappeared. I realized that I had not been making the time to take care of business. Even now, if I don’t go when my body says it’s time but instead hold it, the constipation returns. One doctor suggested that perhaps my large intestine was overly efficient at removing water.

    4. Is it problematic when you go? Multiple normal bowel movements-worth at once, too soft, too hard, messy, etc.? If you don’t have any symptoms beyond going only once every 3-4 days, it could be that there simply isn’t much stool to poop out, because you digest and use nearly everything you eat. That which is removed from your digestive tract will not exit (or reach) the colon. This is the corollary of insoluble, unfermentable fiber and other non-digestibles adding volume to your poo.

      1. Thanks guys, you are awesome. Adam, so since I’m paleo, I do eat lots of green stuff. Kale, veggies galore, sweet potato for carbs (but not too much), ghee, etc. Can’t take gelatin because I eat only Halal (Kosher) meats. And thank God, no IBS.

        B2curious – I have salt in all my meals. Salt, pepper and all sorts of other herbs. I’m pretty sure I meet the 1 tsp a day measurement easily.

        IWM – thanks.

        Bill, err yea. It’s tough to go. But when I do go, I GO! Like a lot. It’s solid. Sorry .. very nasty lol. TMI! I really want to believe that my body just holds onto it then releases it at once (every 3rd day) but I really feel my output does not equal my input. The only time I’m “normal” is when I’m on my time of the month. It’s the only time I see a swoosh in my weight back down to normal.

    5. Why high protein? Try swapping your grams-per-day figures of protein vs. fat.

    6. Have you tried glucomannan? Avoid the capsules, but a pinch of the powder in a smoothie or a number of other recipes is, um, “regulating”. It is fiber of a root that I can’t think of the name just now. As I’ve gone more and more toward paleo, I find this and coconut oil (I make it into sugar free fudge bc I just don’t like coconut oil plain) critical to intestinal function.

    7. Get off dairy and it will make you go every day. At least it did me. Too much meat can also constipated but dairy is the worst. I go every morning like clockwork since I have eliminated dairy. I do have daily nausea and bloating so may try fodsmap elimination

  13. If anyone is interested, I’ve developed an iOS app to make it simple to look up which foods contain fodmaps. I became aware that I had trouble with fodmaps several years ago (not long after going primal) and the real trick became knowing which food to treat with caution. The app is in the app store at and costs $3. I don’t sell many of them but it costs per year to have the app in the store, hence the $3, but I hope others find it useful.

  14. I don’t think I’m the only one here that has not heard of this before. Thank you for the information. I don’t think I will every fully understand what goes on inside my digestive system.

  15. Mark, I’ve read your previous post on FODMAPS many times. This one is similar. The problem is, I’m left with the question – what CAN I eat? A positive list would be a helpful addition to this post. Also, what’s you opinion on the addition (in small amounts) of starches like plantains, potato (without skin), tapioca, etc.? There are only so many lettuce leaves and green beans a person can eat without needing more – more variety, more calories, etc. Thanks!

    1. Practical Paleo has an amazing section on FODMAPS, gut healing, and specifics of replacing FODMAP foods. Seriously one of my favorite paleo books ever (next to yours, Mark >_>)

  16. Thank you Mark! You couldn’t have written this article at a better time for me.

    I’ve been having some digestive issues, shall we say, over the past fortnight or so. I had another bout of it today after my lunch and have been racking my brain to pinpoint the problem. The only thing I could find in common with the meals that seemed to be causing the problems are garlic and onions (which I consume liberally to say the least!). I told myself I’d start some investigating as soon as I got back from work and all of a sudden I see your article – relief!

    Definitely going for the food journal idea. Thanks again Mark!

  17. Not long after I cut gluten from my diet, I realized that I could no longer eat broccoli without severe digestive issues. I could almost feel it fizzing away in my gut. After a couple of years now it appears that I can tolerate small amounts and I wonder if eating (a lot of) coconut oil has helped heal me due to its antimicrobial effects.

  18. Fyreflies, it’s the eggs! I hadn’t eaten more than three eggs a week in my life until this week when I decided to change from partially primal to fully primal. I had been eating porridge or granola for breakfast and then remaining primal the rest of the day. It was on the sixth day (after about 8 eggs in the same week) I realised there was a major problem. I appeared to be developing an infection because of the blockage. After two days of pain (and some not so primal breakfasts) everything is settling down. My mum is a nurse so I had it drummed into me from a very early age that I was only allowed to eat eggs once a week so I’d never noticed I had such a massive sensitivity to them. I’m still eating primal lunch and dinner, but I’m back to grains for breakfast for the time being. And I’m definitely off eggs!

    Interestingly, I refused to eat egg yolks until the age of 10. I’m now wondering if that was an instinctive thing.

    1. Divided, the choices for breakfast aren’t as narrow as eggs or grains. I usually don’t have time for cooking in the morning so my most common meal is some cold or reheated bacon or sausage (I precook these in batches and keep in the fridge/freezer) and a big handful of raw veggies. Fast, tasty, and healthy.

      Have you seen the Noatmeal recipe around this site? If you can consume nuts without a problem this is a good breakfast food to replace your porridge. I would encourage you to get off the grains as soon as possible.

      1. That’ll be the noatmeal with 3 eggs in it, yes? I’ll pass. Or at least I will if I don’t eat it! Lol. Sorry about that!

        When I initially started dieting a month ago, I began a thyroid-friendly diet. Although I can’t attribute anything particularly to that diet, I felt loads better within the first week and I hadn’t eradicated gluten at that point. My thyroid diet means not eating cruciferous veggies raw. I definitely cannot eat bacon at breakfast as it makes me too thirsty. I’m unable to drink until lunchtime in my job and bacon leaves me parched all morning. Sausages make me miss mustard which is another thyroid no-no and I haven’t got around to making my own ketchup yet as a replacement.

        I’ve always eaten cereal or toast and am not keen to change to proper hot food, even if I could think of one! I think I might try making my own granola with extra seeds and nuts and no oats. Very helpfully, the woman who invented my favourite brand of granola has a video on her site showing you how to make it. That means I also won’t have to eat the fructose she adds. Now I’m entirely sugar-free I find it too sweet.

        1. KIND has a gluten free / low glycemic granola that is quite good.

        2. I like a substantial smoothie for breakfast. And then, if I need more, I can also have a hard boiled egg or two. Obviously that part won’t work for you, but some slice chicken might, or another meat of choice. And it’s hydrating, since your job isn’t… Lots of good smoothie recipes online, but I like a fruit, a dairy (yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, or milk, and don’t scoff, blended well cottage cheese is yummy with berries and a bit of vanilla!), greens (spinach is my go to, but baby kale is better for you, if you can tolerate it), and a little glucomannan for, ahem, digestion, and I add water or water kefir to thin it as needed.

    2. Ah! You might be onto something. I haven’t eaten so many eggs routinely in my life. It’s my trainers fault – he suggested I have 4-6 eggs a day. Maybe I should switch to egg whites and see if that gets things moving again. I hate egg whites though. =/

      I will give it a go starting tomorrow. I’m willing to try anything to get my digestion normal. If I can go every other day, I’ll be a happy camper. =)

      1. I have eliminated eggs for a while, and I either eat some kind of fish or leftovers from dinner for breakfast.

        1. Dreamer, and did that make a difference in your.. ahem trips to the bathroom?

  19. I’ve followed the FODMAP diet for several years, in a desperate effort to control IBS (diagnosis of SIBO and fructose intolerance). It worked better than anything else I’d tried but I found I had to follow it 99% and even then the IBS would flare up, particularly in times of stress. I found I could eat small amounts of some FODMAPS but no more than a single bite of others. I kept a food journal and entered it all into online sites to analyze the macro- and micronutrients, and I found that one can get all the necessary nutrients on this diet. The keys to this for me were spinach and watercress, and I have been able to tolerate heavy cream, carrots, bell peppers, blueberries, tangerines and celery, which also helped meet RDAs. I’ve been eating 70% fat, 15% protein and 15% carbs—lots of beef and eggs and also chicken, bacon and oysters. I also have been able to drink beer and eat small amounts of hard cheeses. My primal/FODMAP hybrid diet left me lean and strong with lots of energy for rock climbing, as detailed in a Friday success story a few years back. At a certain point, I gave up on being “cured” and just dealt with this diet. It isn’t an easy diet, for sure. Social situations involving food have been really difficult, not to mention trying to eat out or have anyone else cook for me. The worst part has been that sometimes certain foods would be fine, and sometimes…not. Since most of my days involve either A.) being the only adult in a classroom of small children or B.) hanging from cliffs with dudes…diarrhea is particularly inconvenient. It was a constant threat, even on the FODMAP diet, and a certain fate if I ever strayed too far from the diet.
    I felt certain the root of the problem was an imbalance of bacteria in my gut, but I’d read research about the role bacteria play in setting our moods and—being a perennially upbeat, positive and happy person—this made me reluctant to pursue a fecal transplant. (Even though this procedure seems to have a lot of validity and I’m not squeamish.)
    This summer I started seeing a naturopath, in hopes of getting a handle on some menopausal sleep issues (I’m 51). She wanted me to try to probiotics for my gut issues. I’d tried some in the past with no luck, but I understood that tweaking the gut ecosystem might require more experimentation so I gave it a try. The first round of supplements and probiotics did nothing noticeable, but then she suggested I try Saccharomuyces Boulardii. I did and within three days, there was a major change in the consistency of my stools. So then I tried eating FODMAP foods and had no diarrhea! I still can’t really believe it. After nearly a decade of being on a highly restrictive diet, I went a little crazy…I’m embarrassed to say I ate Milky Way bars and Cheetos, and fruity rum and vodka drinks while out on the town. I’ve since scaled that back, because I was gaining weight (not good for a climber!) and those foods made me feel crappy in other ways (which should not have come as a surprise….crap in, crap out.) After watching my mother die from esophageal cancer 18 months ago following decades of uncontrolled acid reflux (and a diet of Gatorade, whiskey, potatoes and Mexican restaurant food), I recognize that I still need to be careful with my diet. My hormonal/menopausal issues and asthma triggered by colds are also good reasons to be mindful of my diet and continue monitoring any impacts from changes I make to my diet. And, of course, I want to retain all the benefits of being low-carb and primal. So currently I’m exercising more self control. Sandwiches on gluten-free breads have been a huge treat that I might retain as a carby 20% treat, as well as steel-cut oats and pizza with lots of meat and veggies on a thin, gluten-free crust. My gut is still not fully healed, as my doctor has advised me, and I have managed to push the envelope too far (a late-night binge of cheap, grocery story ice cream did not work out well for me). But I bounced back quickly even from that. The Saccharomyces Boulardii has brought about an amazing and rapid change, it was the silver bullet for me—which I really had never expected to find. It’s astonishing to me that I can eat these foods and everything comes out fine in the toilet! Since I’ve only been taking it for about a month, I’m just hoping it continues to work and maybe someday things will be in such good balance that I won’t even need it. It’s too soon to tell; I guess you could say my gut remains a “Work In Progress Evermore,” how’s that for an acronym?!

    1. Thanks for writing your story, Dthalman, I will take what you learned to my naturopath, see what he thinks.

    2. I’m going to try that! I’ve tried so many things with no success.. 6 months of daily diarrhea, I’m willing to try anything at this point. Thanks!!

    3. I relate a lot to your story and I really appreciate your post! I have been thinking about trying probiotics and have heard a few times that saccuaromuyces boulardii is beneficial.

      I think will make that my next adventure through the digetive track.

  20. I would add to the stress factor that weather/temperature can also greatly affect IBS. At the change of seasons, particularly summer to fall, I will have horrible problems if I get a chill. Sounds strange, but just getting chilled will set me off, particularly mornings. Also in the office and other places with air conditioning where I’m going from one temperature to another rapidly, will set my IBS off.

  21. I had never heard of this term until today but I can totally relate to leeks, sweet potato and most the fruits…in fact I was so bloated last night after eating a small apple…of course, I have always been lactose intolerant. My sister is totally ok with drinking milk every day. The funny thing about broccoli, cauliflowers and brussell sprouts is I can feel bloated eating them but I feel so slim next morning. LOL

  22. Thanks Mark.

    That might explain a few things as I’ve not been visiting the bathroom as often as I’d like. Not that I’m bloated or in any discomfort, but still only managing about 2-3 times a week…

  23. For those who have pain/discomfort after eating fruit….try eating fruit by itself. I found that if I eat a pear after a meal = pain/discomfort. If I eat a pear before a meal or as a snack by itself = no problems!

    It is recommended by the ‘experts’ that fruit should always be eaten alone (or prior to eating a meal) – and this is definately something that works for me. Something to do with the way the body digests fructose o.o

    1. My problem is opposite, if I eat an apple with empty stomach, it literally ruins my day as I am so bloated and am in pain all day long…

    2. Absolutely 🙂
      Fruit 30 mins before a meal or 2-3 hours after a meal.

  24. You are all missing the point… The issue is FIXING the gut. Heal the gut, restore structural integrity, and you should be able to handle foods, even FODMAPS.

    1. Perhaps you are missing the point…unless you have the answer. How do we fix out guts? I tried a GAPS approach and my symptoms got worse. I tried going full Paleo, my symptoms got worse. I tried Primal, my symptoms got worse. I’ve tried eating only the foods on the okay to eat FODMAP list (like bananas). Yep, worse.

      I started an elimination diet last Saturday, eating only meat, eggs, and ghee. I’m going to try to add in one thing every three days, see what the reaction is, and hope that I can find things that don’t leave me in pain with nausea every morning when I wake up.

      I’d love to fix my gut, truly would pay all my money, hell, sell my soul. I don’t know how and it leads to depression and mood swings (not surprisingly, both linked to excess fructose in the intestine).

      Please, tell me how to fix my gut.

      Sorry, had a really bad day. I actually agree that fixing the gut is the answer, I just have no flipping idea how and am very discouraged. If I won the lottery, perhaps I could find doctors who actually know something and we could try out every conceivable possibility until we fixed me, but right now I have no health insurance and can’t afford to spend that kind of money on doctors (especially since all the times I’ve tried in the past have been in vain – my luck with docs is terrible, probably since most of them aren’t educated about nutrition and gut issues…since the research is nowhere near conclusive or finished). Until then, I’ll try my elimination diet, keep trying to fight my depression (been crying pretty much every day for a couple months now), and try to reduce my stress (find a job that actually gives its employees breaks and lunches before 7-8 hours in). Wish me luck.

      1. Hi I dont know you and I don’t have a solution but I just wanted to wish you hugs and say good luck! That’s a horrible situation to be in.

        Primal eating helped heal my gut, lots of fats plus a probiotic every day, but I know I am really lucky and that approach doesn’t work for everyone. I wish healing for you soon. Good luck.

        1. Thanks Mia! So far the meat only has eliminated my nausea, which is a great start.

      2. Might I suggest trying fermented cabbage juice… made my own after online research and drank 1/2 cup 3x a day. After one week was feeling about 50% better, and after three weeks was close to normal! Sounds contrary, cabbage and all, but my stomach pain, nausea, bloating, waking during night w/pain, etc. are all gone. Do a search on benefits of cabbage juice and fermented foods (olives, pickles, miso, etc.) for more info. I now keep a bottle of it in my fridge and have a dose or two when I mistakenly eat one of my triggers. Good luck to you in your quest.

      3. I recommend you visit an applied kinesiologist who does muscle testing if you can afford it. They test your body for nutrition imbalances and then tell you what you need to do to rebalance it. Muscle testing fixed my liver, my skin, and any digestive issues I was experiencing. My boyfriend is treated for his adrenal fatigue and the symptoms go away within 24 hours for him.

        It’s worth a visit. Good Luck!

  25. I haven’t really had trouble with FODMAPs before but last week I observed something pretty interesting. I made cauliflower rice (with lots of butter and salt…delicious!) for the first time in months and enjoyed a moderate portion, with no ill effects on my own person. But my five-month-old daughter, who is exclusively breastfed, was SO GASSY and upset for the whole next day. She’s usually the most peaceful little baby, so this was an Event. Are FODMAPs something that little folks’ guts have to learn to deal with as they grow, or is there some concern there that I should be watching out for?

  26. I’ve been following a low FODMAP diet for almost 6 months now and it has really helped things a lot. I have had digestive issues most of my life and have been diagnosed with IBS twice (at the time I didn’t believe it was an actual condition– that has now changed). Doctors always told me to eat lots of fruits and veggies plus fiber which actually caused more issues than anything. I actually found comfort in eating simple carbs and processed food. Grilled cheese sandwiches on white bread, bagels and cream cheese, cookies, ice cream, etc… all these things didn’t cause a reaction like eating “healthy” did. I knew I couldn’t really eat this way forever because I liked looking after myself and I wanted to have a good, long life. So I changed, I started eating fresh fruit and salads, whole grains and everything doctors and websites told me were healthy. That turned my digestive track on a tail spin and I started having huge issues. Nothing would sit right and I was missing a lot of work and finding that it was triggering my anxiety. It wasn’t a place I wanted to be in my life but I had been here too many times.

    One night after a difficult digestive reaction I started Googling “IBS and Junk Food” and I found an article that fit. It is possible that people with IBS have a difficult time eating “healthy diets” and then it went on to explain about fermentable sugars and FODMAPS. For the first time something fit. I was excited and I started reading up on it, a week later I entered into the elimination portion of the low FODMAP diet and suddenly I was finding foods that I could eat which were better for me than bagels with cream cheese that didn’t cause digestive distress. I remained on the elimination diet for the full 8 weeks and started reintroducing FODMAPS after. I learnt what I could eat, what I couldn’t eat, how much of it I could eat, etc. It’s important to have some FODMAP’s in your diet because it does contribute to a healthy digestive track but knowing how to eat them is the key. Wheat is an issue for me (though I would never have believed it), I have minimized my fruit in take to 2 servings a day and only those which are low in FODMAPs (fructose is easy for me to malabsorption), no garlic and white onion (green parts of the green onion and chives are fine), sugar alcohols are a no-no and easy on the fiber (both insoluble and soluble). I feel like a different person, I feel good. I can tell when I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t have and I have more control over my symptoms of IBS while maintaining a healthy eating life style.

    SIDE NOTE: I relate a lot to the post above from DThalman and am begining to think that I might want to try probiotcs again in different strains. Last year, I was eating anything I wanted with minimal issues then all of the sudden (after eating a cup of mango and spending the afternooon in the washroom) I couldn’t digest anything without an issue. Though following the low FODMAP diet has allowed me to control my symptoms and eat something rather than restricting my eating to minize issues, I still can’t get past the fact that in a difference of a day my body changed drastically. I want to explore probiotics to see if I can increase my qaulity of life further. It’s always a learning process!

  27. You probably don’t want resistant starch (cold white potatoes) either with sibo.

  28. I’ve been recently eliminating FODMAPs from my diet too, in a last ditch effort to heal my gut. Very interesting reading the replies above. Since restricting my diet two years ago (part of my treatment for Graves Disease), my sensitivities and gut health have only gotten worse. Not sure why. Never had a problem with eggs until last year. They go right through me now. And the list grows as my options narrow. Pretty much eating meat and a short list of vegetables these days.

  29. For 3 years, I felt sick (nauseous) all the while (everything seemed to be bubbling in my stomach). I occasionally also felt bloated & passed very foul smelling gas. The nausea stopped me going out & I especially hated travelling in the car, as that made me feel even more sick! The Doctor did loads of tests with no answers. I then did the SCD diet which made me even worse, because I began eating more fruit (I loved fruit salads). Then one day, I ate 2 stewed apples for breakfast (that was all I had!) & a little later began to feel really sick. I couldn’t understand why I should feel sick when I had only eaten 2 apples which are good for you! Anyway, I searched Google & came across the FODMAP diet. Thinking about it, I realised that I ate loads of FODMAPS & was always worse after the foods listed, so I went on a FODMAP free diet (very restricting), but for the 1st time in 3 years, I didn’t feel sick or bloated or pass gas! I couldn’t believe it! It was the answer to all my prayers – I absolutely hated feeling sick all the while.

    I find I can eat blueberries (just 30g per meal) & 2 sticks of celery if it is cooked. I can also eat some mange tout peas & zuccini (which some people have problems with). However, when I got really stressed once, I suddenly found that those things started to give me problems, which I couldn’t understand why at the time, but once the stress passed, I was okay to eat them again. I always keep a food diary & I tested everything individually, which is the best thing to do, because some people may tolerate Polyols, but not Fructose or vice versa etc. Although a lot of people are okay with green beans, I find that I can’t have stick beans or runner beans, but I am fine with flat beans, so everything needs to be tested, because you don’t want to leave out any more things than you have to.

    I have always taken lots of probiotics for many many years (but I now have to get the ones without FOS or inulin etc in & ones which are dairy free), so I don’t know if I will be able to heal from this, but for now, I feel that I am eating healthily enough. The main problem is eating out. If on the odd occasion, I go to a restaurant, I usually ask them in advance if they would be kind enough to do me some vegetables that I can have & then tell which ones I can have & I just avoid fruit altogether when out.

    It has made so much difference to me that I am willing to make the food sacrifices. It was always my dream to not feel sick any more.

  30. My life has changed since experiencing and being diagnosed with FODMAPS. I really hate it. Its affect my personal and emotional outlook on my future.

    I no longer enjoy my daily food experiences. Its so restrictive. My favourite Vegetables and Fruits are now out of bounds, in any quantity.

    It leaves you with little in the way of alternatives. The slightest ingestion of any of the FODMAPS (excluding lactose for me) sets me off with flatulence and bloating. In fact I know when it begins fermenting.

    Oh how I wish I could eat primal again. I miss those vegetables and Fruits and have real concerns about my longer term health given the variety of nutrients I’m missing out on due to my elimination and avoidance. Sometimes I wish I could just pop a GLUT5 or GLUT2 enzyme in a pill and chow down.

    From personal experience, this is a great article and is accurate. The key messages are the type and quantity of FODMAP foods. Recommended guidance if diagnosed is elimination of FODMAP foods followed by a carefully managed challenge period. Always consult a professional before embarking on any dietary changes.

    thank you for bringing this to peoples attention.

    Sydney, Australia.

  31. 10 cheers for this post! So well researched and so helpful. I have a few girlfriends who have gastronomical issues and have done test on top of test to figure out what the hell is wrong with them with no diagnosis. I’ve sent this their way in hopes of some answer. Thanks Mark!

  32. I recently got inspired to eat much more organically and am trying to eliminate canned foods, foods packaged in plastic and artificial sweeteners as much as possible. I drink a lot of tea daily and I like it sweet! I found this website because I started using xylitol as a sweetener, with disastrous, flatulent consequences.

    My question is: does anyone else with an intolerance for polyols find that they can consume one or two but not the others? Is it usually an across-the-board intoIerance? I recently had a similar problem with beets (which I LOVE) and I guess they contain polyols, too. I never used to have a problem, at least that I can recall, but I’m over 50 now and maybe getting older is a contributing factor?

    Also, does anyone have any tips for sneakily upgrading the overall diet of the household more or less unbeknownst to one’s housemates? My husband loves his chips, diet soda and ice-cream and any suggestions as to how to introduce healthy, or at least health-ier alternatives would be appreciated. (I don’t buy that stuff — he does.) But he’ll also often eat what I put in front of him without comment.

    I am lucky enough to have a digestive system that functions (usually) pretty well. Things move a little slowly, but that’s because I eat very little and I don’t drink enough water. I know, I know… The xylitol sure whooshed everything through though– I feel very cleaned out!

    My bro-in-law suffered with bowel problems and IBS symptoms for a long time, until he finally had a lot of his colon removed. That is a pretty drastic “solution” though, with life-long repercussions (he uses some sort of canula to eliminate, and because he has next to no colon to extract water, his “stools”, if one can even call it that, are very watery) and he wonders now if something like a fecal transplant would have helped him. I have read a fair amount about fecal transplants, including a “home-made” one done in a bathroom with “contributions” from a healthy, “regular” friend, (the patient was very pleased with the outcome and amazed at how quickly he felt better) and I wonder if people with severe digestive problems wouldn’t do well to consider putting fecal transplant higher on their list of options. Apparently if you research other cultures you will find that “yellow soup” has been considered medicinal for centuries.

    1. Correction: I think I should have said my bro-in-law had most of his large intestine removed (not colon). Sorry!

  33. I have had constipation issues for years. My diet seemed healthy: greek yogurt and honey for breakfast, salad and fruit with protein for lunch and green beans (my fav!) mushrooms (another fav!) and chicken for dinner. I was a mess. I figured something was wrong, but my doctor kept saying more fruit and veggies and add more water. Just last week she said, try the FODMAP diet. Try it for 6 weeks and we’ll see. I’m 7 days in and three pounds up! (I run 3.1 miles 6 days a week, and still!) My stomach is feeling better, but replacing greek yogurt for peanut butter seems wrong. Any menu advice would be helpful. A direction? A book? a website? Help!

  34. My GI told me about the FODMAP diet. I have severe stomach issues that arise 2 hours after eating. It has always been simply referred to as “IBS.” But a few tests (to rule out Celiac and rule in Lactose Intolerance) were nice, but didn’t eliminate the pain. A low FODMAP diet did. I was so sad to lose fruit juice, broccoli, asparagus and a few other foods, but being able to live a complete life away from dehabilitating stomach issues (pain, cramps, diarrhea, gas, gas, gas, you name it) is worth giving up just about anything. Thanks for explaining the FODMAP principals. And just remember this: Not all sugars are created equal. I don’t have the enzymes to break down lactose and fructose. But I’m okay with the other sugars. If only the US didn’t sneak fructose into EVERYTHING we eat.

  35. Kind of a late comer to this post, but glad to see this information getting attention. Thanks for putting this information out there, Mark!

    My wife is a dietitian who has had IBS for 20 years, and she finally found her freedom using the low-FODMAPs approach! It inspired us to start an online community and offer free weekly calls and online classes at for all who are interested.

    Thanks again!

  36. Thankyou so much Mark for this great article, I’ve just discovered fodmaps (and i am so grateful that I have). I’ve had severe digestive issues for 20 plus years and have just put it down to ibs, I thought I was doing the right thing eating tons of crucifous vegies, garlic, onion, apples ect, I was always sick, bloated, severely constipated, suffered skin rashes, unable to sleep because of restless leg syndrome, (which apparently is another symptom, who would have thought) fatigued and frustrated I have been taken nausitil for ages to stop me from feeling like I’m going to throw up first thing in the mornings, I had to go to emergency once because I was in so much pain. Doctors just gave the usual advice, drink more water, eat more vegies, and exercise, which I have always done. After just 2 days strictly following the low fodmap plan I already feel better. Hopefully all my symptoms will subside using this diet. Your article explains Fodmaps brilliantly, Thanks again, Maybe your next book could be a fodmaps primal info/cookbook as digestive issues seems to effect so many of us.

  37. I don’t want to lose weight. Have hiatial hernia & acid reflux.thought you may give me some advice on what & what not to eat.

  38. I had debilitating IBS for at least 4 years before doctors were able to diagnose it. Treatment with the low fodmap diet only happened later but it literally changed my life! Now however ive been on the diet for too long, I fear Im missing out on important nutrients because I am so limited in what I can eat. I occasionally indulge in onion, avocado and mangos but pay a hefty price the next day. It’s really awful. I envy people with normal bodies. Anyway I’m going to see a naturopath who is apparently quite good who can treat IBS. Id love to eat ‘normal’ again. Ive been paleo for 3 weeks now, but I haven’t noticed an increase in energy or vitality :/ not sure if its due to IBS or bad sleep. Anyway if you suffer from IBS definitely go on the lowfodmap diet, if only to test for yourself 🙂 ???? happy pooping everybody!

  39. I followed Whole30 in January with the intention of going Primal afterward. During my 3rd week I started having MBI (messy bathroom issues) so after reading this article and comments on the Whole30 forums I started eating only low FODMAP foods and I (gradually) taking a probiotic with 10 billion viable cells that has 6 probiotic strains. Not only did this not help but the intestinal problems became more prevalent. A week and a half ago I started the GAPS introduction diet. I still have seen no change. I’m not sure what else to do. My husband keeps telling me that I need to add grains back but I don’t think this is healthy or will help. I’m not sure what else to do.

    1. Hi Michele.
      If you’re finding no relief or answers, please go see a gastroenterologist!

  40. Hi. I need help! I have liver cirrhosis, a 4 inch cyst on my liver, diabetes, gastroparesis, portal hypertension, enlarged common bile duct and spleen, and a few other things going on. In the past couple of weeks, I have become more and more distressed by gastric issues. I find that immediately after eating, I get stomach pain like someone punched me in the diaphragm a couple of times, followed almost immediately by rolling, wheezing, whistling, squealing (and whatever other adjective you can think of) intestines. I can actually feel and hear the movement within my intestines, and it also feels quite similar to having quadruplets kicking up a storm in my uterus. I then have diarrhea that is nothing but colored water, almost explosive in nature. In sporadic intervals, I will eliminate MASSIVE amounts of gas, and this is constant for almost three days in a row. I am also constantly nauseated to the edge of vomiting. I plan on asking to be checked for IBS, SIBO, Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease and anything else my specialist can think of, but I don’t see him often enough to cope with the pain. I’ve eliminated milk and switched to lactose free milk, and am planning on switching to gluten free products as well. I find myself eating less and less all the time to avoid the pain. It’s so bad I just want to cry. Please give me some suggestions!

  41. I have had IBS for most of my life, and just recently heard about the FODMAP diet. I haven’t tried it yet. But I have to say that the enormous list of foods you can’t eat, is mindboggling and quite depressing. I don’t have issues with most of those foods but at least it will be helpful to see what foods I do think are triggers are on the list. But I’m certainly not cutting out most of the foods listed or I would be eating almost nothing. I’ve also seen other FODMAP lists that say I shouldn’t eat wheat at all – again, that is so very depressing. Has anyone else dealt with the emotional part of giving up almost every food you enjoy?

  42. I was recently diagnosed with lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption. After seeing a dietician, this diet (fodmap) is basically the same one I was put on. Finding it hard to eat sometimes, because it feels like I am not allowed to eat anything. Figuring out my limits though… apparently pasta is a no go and I will have to cook it at home if I want to eat it now (using gluten free options). Thank you for this page! Helped explain a little more than what I had already read/learned about these types of foods.

  43. The older I get the more I find food issues with myself. I used to like fruit when a child, but fruit doesn’t even taste right anymore and I personally feel that it’s the fertilizer, pesticides, ugly water as well as genetically modified new plants. I have noticed new farm plants from countries outside the US have been great, until they became truly commercial, then they too became digestive issue related probs. Fish makes me stink within minutes, yet anchovies I crave sometimes, and they if good quality do not bother me, also anchovies with capers set well. My grandfather ate anchovies, sardines, oyster stew cream)

  44. I only started eating veggies maybe 5 years ago as a bet that I couldn’t do it. maybe a year later is when I started having constipation issues. but I don’t eat them everyday. how long do I try adding or subtracting for me to see a difference?

  45. Would you recommend the FODMAP diet for Gastroperisis?

  46. Would you recommend FODMAP diet for someone with Gastroparisis?

  47. I would also Suggest for Low FODMAP Breakfast specially for IBS people. Protein-rich ingredients such as certain cheeses like cheddar and mozzarella as well soy or almond milk, lactose-free yogurt, or eggs are very helpful. Also read more Fodmap recipes here casadesante.

  48. This sounds EXACTLY like my struggle! I blamed the painful cramps, bloating and diarrhea in lactose only, but anything with high fructose, Inulin, and foods like broccoli and cauliflower render the same pain! This has been a very helpful starting point. Going to research more. I know for certain that ALL sugar alcohols cause severe issues, within an hour! It’s a rough thing to eat healthier, when so many healthy foods contain these.

  49. I do okay if I avoid the allium family. Some types of onions are more problematic for me (gas, cramps, bloating) than others, and they are all less of a problem cooked rather than raw. The current trend of cooking most vegetables until they’re tender-crisp (or almost raw) makes them harder to digest. I have far fewer problems if I cook my vegetables until they’re completely tender (but not mushy).They also taste better. Oddly, if I do happen to eat onions over a period of a few days, other FODMAPS foods that aren’t usually a problem will bother me as well.

  50. Thanks for the article! Very useful information that got me thinking. You need to minimize stress and rethink your eating habits. You also need to adjust your appetite cycles and meal times. I really liked the point that you need to add a lot of fruits, vegetables and nuts to your daily diet.And also add physical activity during the day, especially if you sit all day.