What Exactly Are FODMAPs?


This is a diet that is based on very new research but has had many accounts of improvement to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Colitis and Crohn’s Disease sufferers symptoms. The diet can help address the following symptoms that sufferers suffer from:

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Wind and flatulence
  • Changes in bowel habit e.g. diarrhoea to constipation or viceversa)

Research shows that some carbohydrates can cause irritation to the bowels and contribute to these symptoms. The carbohydrates are called Fermentable Oligo-saccharides Di-saccharides Mono-saccharides and Polyols - otherwise known as FODMAPs.


This carbohydrate is poorly absorbed so restricting all foods with these in them will be of benefit to most people who exhibit symptoms of IBS. Sources of this carbohydate include:

  • Wheat
  • Beans, peas and pulses
  • Some vegetables - particularly onion
  • Inulin and FOS (fructooligosaccharides). these are processed food additives


The main form of di-saccharide is lactose found in animal milk such as cow and goats milk. It can be malabsorbed by certain ethnic populations. As small amounts of lactose is tolerable to most people including IBS sufferers, a complete avoidance is not usually necessary. Sources of this carbohydrate include:

  • Milk - all types including skimmed etc. Keep to 50mls or less


The main contributors to mono-saccharides is fructose. This carbohydrate is a sugar and is present in many fruits naturally as well as honey. When the amount of fructose exceeds the amount of glucose problems start to occur. Sources include:

  • Apples
  • Honey
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Fructose


Polyols are sugar alcohols which can be found in various diet and sugar free foods to lower their calorific content. Examples of polyols are sorbitol and xylotol. They can also be found naturally in stone fruits and some vegetables. Sources of polyols include:

  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Mushrooms
  • Cauliflower
  • Sugar free sweets

See the guide to FODMAP dieting for some helpful tips on the diet. Explore the site using the navigation on the right to find more helpful FODMAP related pages.