Young woman with a notebook writing down a list of high FODMAP foods

High FODMAP Foods: What to Know

Medically reviewed on Sept 20, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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As many as 70 million Americans are estimated to have digestive diseases, while gastrointestinal symptoms and issues are highly common. [1] So, whether you’re dealing with bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, or changes in bowel habits, you might have come across FODMAP foods in your research.

High FODMAP foods are a category of foods that can be uniquely aggravating to people who struggle with digestion. [2] Thus, the Low-FODMAP diet, also referred to as the FODMAP diet, can be an effective approach to reducing gastrointestinal symptoms and digestive discomfort. [2]

While effective, the low-FODMAP diet can drastically limit what you’re able to eat.3 Knowing whether it’s the right diet for you starts with understanding high FODMAP ingredients, how FODMAPs work and whether you may be sensitive to them.

What Are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are a group of short-chain carbohydrates that include fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. [2]

To understand why they can cause digestive issues and discomfort, it helps to understand how your body processes foods with significant FODMAP content [2]:

  1. Your small intestine isn’t able to process FODMAPs well. To ensure they’re digested, the small intestine absorbs large amounts of water to help them transit to the colon.
  2. Once FODMAPs reach the colon, bacteria in your digestive tract help break them down. They do this through the process of fermentation. [2] Fermentable foods produce excessive amounts of one byproduct: gas. [2]

FODMAP foods that cause gas often cause [2]:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence (gas)
  • Bloating
  • Bowel disturbances
  • Diarrhea

Types of FODMAPs

Since the long form of FODMAPs can be a mouthful, it can help to learn which foods fall into oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and so on.

FODMAPs you may be familiar with include [4]:

  • Oligosaccharides – Oligosaccharides are soluble plant fibers. They’re found in foods like garlic, onions, and beans. They’re also found in wheat-based foods. As such, many people believed to have gluten sensitivity are actually highly sensitive to oligosaccharides, like wheat-based bread and pasta.
  • Disaccharides – The most common type of disaccharide is lactose, a primary constituent in dairy products like milk and yogurt.
  • Monosaccharides – These are the shortest-chain carbohydrates of the FODMAPs group. They’re common to many fruits, like apples, peaches, and cherries, and contain highly fermentable sugars known as fructose. [4]

Are FODMAPs Bad for You?

No—while eating FODMAPs and short-chain carbohydrates can cause health problems if consumed in excess, they aren’t inherently “bad” for your health.

However, many people with gastrointestinal conditions find that high FODMAP foods worsen their symptoms. [2] If you’ve been diagnosed with a GI disorder or have a sensitive digestive system, it may be worth exploring whether low-FODMAP foods or a low fructose diet could relieve some of your symptoms.

What Is a Low-FODMAPs Diet?

A low-FODMAP diet aims to restrict FODMAPs to curb unnecessary digestive discomfort. Typically, this means eating mostly items on this low FODMAP food list [3]:

  • Proteins like eggs, lean meats, and fish
  • Grains like quinoa, oats, and rice
  • Vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes
  • Low FODMAP fruits like citrus fruits and berries

You can also enjoy certain types of cheese, including feta and cheddar cheese, on a low-FODMAP foods diet. [2] Generally, it’s best to significantly limit highly sugary or processed foods, as these tend to be the ones bacteria feed on in the colon.

It’s important to try out the low-FODMAP food diet under the guidance of your healthcare provider (and, if necessary, a dietician). Because the low-FODMAPs diet can drastically alter what you can eat, it’s best introduced by gradually eliminating certain foods to see how they impact your symptoms. If re-introducing a certain food causes more distress, it’s best left off your plate.

In some cases, you may find that certain FODMAPs can cause discomfort while others do not.2 If your healthcare provider approves, you may still be able to enjoy those foods. [2]

Who Should Try the Low-FODMAPs Diet?

The low-FODMAPs diet is typically recommended for people with [2]:

However, FODMAPS tend to be highly irritating to many people. [2] If you frequently experience digestive discomfort, explore how you feel when you remove certain FODMAPs with an elimination diet.

That said, the low-FODMAPs diet can be effective, but highly restrictive.3 It’s not always necessary to eliminate FODMAPs completely. [2] Often, finding a sensible diet that won’t aggravate your digestion requires a combination of approaches. Dietary changes, understanding your food sensitivities, and paying attention to the signals your body sends can all be part of the process.

Discover Your Dietary Needs with Everlywell

Finding an approach to eating that accommodates your body’s needs can feel daunting.

But with the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test, you can interpret your symptoms with clarity by screening for 204 foods that may be causing digestive discomfort as a result of food sensitivities related to IgG antibodies.

All Everlywell tests are processed by CLIA-certified labs and physician-reviewed, giving you trustworthy results you can use to build a diet that works for you. Browse the full range of Nutritional Health at-home tests by exploring Everlywell today.

Low Fructose Diet: Recommended Foods

IBS Flare Up: Treatment and Prevention

8 Foods That Can Cause Gas

Common Fructose Intolerance Symptoms


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.-e). Digestive diseases statistics for the United States - NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL. Accessed Sept 15, 2023.
  2. professional, C. C. medical. (n.d.-b). Low Fodmap Diet: What it is, uses & how to follow. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed Sept 15, 2023.
  3. Veloso, H. G. (2021, December 29). FODMAP diet: What you need to know. Johns Hopkins Medicine. URL. Accessed Sept 15, 2023.
  4. Physiology, carbohydrates - statpearls - NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.-d). URL. Accessed Sept 15, 2023.
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