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A cartoon illustration of a salad bowl with various vegetables is on the left side of the image. The text to the right reads "FIBER HIGH, LOW-FODMAP DIET!" In the bottom right corner, there is an image of 10 almonds with the text "10 almonds" next to it.

Fruit, Fiber, & Leafy Greens… On A Low-FODMAP Diet!

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Fiber For FODMAP-Avoiders

First, let’s quickly cover: what are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.

In plainer English: they’re carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion.

This is, for most people most of the time, a good thing, for example:

When Is A Fiber Not A Fiber? When It’s A Resistant Starch.

Not for everyone…

However, if you have inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or similar, then suddenly a lot of common dietary advice gets flipped on its head:

Dietary Intolerances & More

While digestion-resistant carbohydrates making it to the end parts of our digestive tract are good for our bacteria there, in the case of people with IBS or similar, it can be a bit too good for our bacteria there.

Which can mean gas (a natural by-product of bacterial respiration) accumulation, discomfort, water retention (as the pseudo-fiber draws water in and keeps it), and other related symptoms, causing discomfort, and potentially disease such as diarrhea.

Again: for most people this is not so (usually: quite the opposite; resistant starches improve things down there), but for those for whom it’s a thing, it’s a Big Bad Thing™.

Hold the veg? Hold your horses.

A common knee-jerk reaction is “I will avoid fruit and veg, then”.

Superficially, this can work, as many fruit & veg are high in FODMAPs (as are fermented dairy products, by the way).

However, a diet free from fruit and veg is not going to be healthy in any sustainable fashion.

There are, however, options for low-FODMAP fruit & veg, such as:

Fruits: bananas (if not overripe), kiwi, grapefruit, lemons, limes, melons, oranges, passionfruit, strawberries

Vegetables: alfalfa, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, lettuce, olives, parsnips, potatoes (and sweet potatoes, yams etc), radishes, spinach, squash, tomatoes*, turnips, zucchini

*our stance: botanically it’s a fruit, but culinarily it’s a vegetable.

For more on the science of this, check out:

Strategies for Producing Low FODMAPs Foodstuffs: Challenges and Perspectives ← table 2 is particularly informative when it comes to the above examples, and table 3 will advise about…

Bonus

Grains: oats, quinoa, rice, tapioca

…and wheat if the conditions in table 3 (linked above) are satisfied

(worth mentioning since grains also get a bad press when it comes to IBS, but that’s mostly because of wheat)

See also: Gluten: What’s The Truth?

Enjoy!

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