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What is the FODMAP Diet and What is the FODMAP diet for?

Updated on August 10, 2014

Does food cause my Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction?

When you are dealing with diseases of your digestive system, the food you eat has a direct impact on your overall health and well being. GI doctors vary on this topic as popular opinion is shifting. Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is a complex biliary disease that causes severe pain. It is difficult to control with medications and surgical procedures.

Although one GI doctor may tell you "food doesn't matter" another may prescribe you the FODMAP diet.

The FODMAP diet is complex, but gaining in popularity as patients who have Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction have shown a marked improvement in their pain symptoms within a few weeks of following the diet.

How Do I Remove FODMAPs from my Diet?

If your doctor has prescribed you the FODMAP diet, it is very likely that you are experiencing uncontrollable pain, nausea, and overall poor health. The last thing you want to do is go on a restrictive diet, because the whole process is simply overwhelming.

Try not to despair, and consider that this is a step in the process of healing. If you have been diagnosed with Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, removing FODMAPs from your diet may work better than any pain medication ever could.

To begin removing FODMAPs from your diet, print out this list of low FODMAP foods and head to the grocery store. If you are feeling overwhelmed, keep it simple in the beginning. Choose a few foods that you will eat and go slowly.

Removing FODMAPs from your diet takes time. You will find high fructose corn syrup, garlic, or onions in almost every prepared food you find in the store. This diet is about calming down the storm that is your digestive tract, so it will take time to calm the beast down.

You didn't get this way overnight, and you aren't going to heal using the FODMAP diet overnight.

Fruits That are Safe for the FODMAP diet

Fruit choices matter when on the FODMAP diet
Fruit choices matter when on the FODMAP diet | Source

Fruits that are Safe on the FODMAP Diet

Choose your fruits carefully. While all fruit is healthy for a person who is not having trouble with inflammation, some fruits need to be avoided while on the induction phase of the FODMAP diet. On their own, the fruits are full of nutrients. They should be removed temporarily from your diet because these fruits are high in the small chain carbohydrates that can cause inflammation for sensitive people.


Good FODMAP diet fruits include:

Avocado (limit to 1/8), Banana (small), Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Coconut, Dragonfruit
Grapefruit (1/4 only), Grapes, Honeydew melon, Kiwifruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Papaya, Passion fruit, Pineapple, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Starfruit, Strawberries, Tangelo

Do your best, but try not to stress out if you accidentally eat a fruit that might cause inflammation. Take this diet one day, one snack or meal at a time.

Safe Vegetables on the FODMAP Diet

Vegetables that are Safe on the FODMAP Diet
Vegetables that are Safe on the FODMAP Diet | Source

Carrots are Safe on the FODMAP Diet

Carrots are a good source of vitamins on the FODMAP diet
Carrots are a good source of vitamins on the FODMAP diet | Source

Scallions are a Great Substitute for Onions on FODMAP

Make sure to only eat the green part of the scallions while following the FODMAP diet.
Make sure to only eat the green part of the scallions while following the FODMAP diet. | Source

Safe Vegetables on the FODMAP Diet

All vegetables are healthy for you, but what is stressed with the FODMAP diet is that some vegetables cause inflammation while other vegetables are easy to digest and do not cause inflammation. The following vegetables are considered safe to eat when following the FODMAP diet:

Alfalfa Sprouts
Bamboo shoots
Bean sprouts
Beets (limit to 4 slices)
Bok choy
Bell Peppers
Broccoli (limit ½ cup)
Brussels sprouts (limit ½ cup)
Butternut squash (<1/4 cup)
Bok Choy
Common Cabbage
Corn (half a cob)
Celery (1/4 stalk)
Green beans
Peas (<1/4 cup)
Potato, white
Scallions (green part only)
Summer squash
Sweet potato (limit to ½ cup)
Swiss chard
Water chestnuts

FODMAP Safe Pesto

While pesto may not seem very exciting, it can be used on gluten free pasta instead of traditional spaghetti sauce and on pizza. Traditional pesto includes garlic, and garlic is not safe on the FODMAP diet. To make FODMAP safe pesto, you need the following ingredients:

  • 30 basil leaves
  • 20 pine nuts (substitute sunflower seeds if pine nuts are too expensive)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic infused olive oil

chop up the basil leaves until they are tiny and paste like.

add chopped up pine nuts.

add salt and pepper to taste.

mix in two tablespoons of garlic infused olive oil.

If you decide to make a much larger batch, you can freeze this mixture and it will be fine for months and ready for your next pasta or pizza meal.

Homemade Basil Pesto Safe on FODMAP Diet

Find sauces that are FODMAP safe to make cooking easier.
Find sauces that are FODMAP safe to make cooking easier. | Source

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Sphincter of Oddi

While Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction has been discussed, this should not be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction is a digestive disorder that involves the sphincters that control the flow of bile from your stomach, to your pancreas and liver. Dietary changes are unlikely to help Sphincter of Oddi, if that is your only condition. But most patients of Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction find that they also have inflammation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or food allergies.

While it's important to try and determine the cause of your abdominal pain, it is not always possible. Sometimes trying various diets and medications is the only way to get relief from the pain that you are suffering on a daily basis. Unfortunately even when there is an answer, there is not always a clear cut solution.


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