FODMAP information

What is FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. All these possibly foreign words are different types of carbohydrates. They are rather common in a normal Western diet. Examples include fructose, glucoses, sorbitol and xylitol.

Some people suffering from IBS have a very poor or lacking ability to absorb FODMAPs. The carbohydrates thus pass through to the large intestine where they ferment and cause symptoms.

What is IBS?

IBS stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It is a diagnose for patients suffering from a range of bowel-related symptoms without any other distinct diagnose. There is no Cure, and causes may vary. Some patients With IBS will improve from following a low-FODMAP diet.

How do you get IBS

There is some uncertainty as to the precise cause of IBS. However, it appears to stem from large strain which is put on the large intestine which alters the natural bacteria flora in the bowels. The syndrome occurs when the bacteria flora does not manage to restore it self. Food poisoning or antibiotic treatments increase the chance of getting IBS. The precise nature of the bacteria imbalance is yet unaccounted for.

What are the symptoms?

If a person suffering from what we will call FODMAP-in toleration eats FODMAP containing food, he or she can be subject to a number of symptoms. Most if which are similar or the same as patients with celiac disease. The two diagnoses are therefore easily confused. Many patients are never correctly diagnosed, and it is not uncommon to have both FODMAP-intolerance and celiac disease.


  • Uncommonly large production of gas in the bowels.
  • Bloated belly
  • Gas pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Disinterest in sex
  • Less joyous mood and reactions to surroundings

(This is not a complete list, but some of the most prominent symptoms. Patients will usually experience several symptoms at a time.)

How is FODMAP-in toleration treated?

Dr. Sue Shepherd

Dr. Sue Shepherd

There is no known cure for FODMAP-in toleration. However, you can live a symptom-free life by following a low-FODMAP diet. Sue Shepherd developed a form of fructose malabsorption diet.  Subsequently a team at Monash University, led by Professor Peter Gibson and including Dr Shepherd and others, developed the low FODMAP diet. The diet consists of foods which contain low amounts of FODMAPs. Some patients do not become entirely symptom free on such a diet, and may require a no-FODMAP diet instead. There are many diet versions, and those found available on the internet should be viewed with criticism. If you believe you may have FODMAP-in toleration, consult your physician, and if diagnosed see a nutritionist for a diet plan which suits you.

It is not advised to follow a low-FODMAP diet unless you actually have been diagnosed. It is not a health fad; in fact, it is not particularly healthy unless your body requires it.


Where can I find more information about FODMAP

Whilst there are many different diet plans and pages out there on the web, the quality varies. Recommended pages will be added here:


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