10 most common mistakes on a Low FODMAP diet
New to the Low FODMAP diet? It can be overwhelming. You may be aware that FODMAPs are carbohydrates found in a wide range of plant foods e.g. fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and some dairy products.
High FODMAP ingredients can also be used in food processing to boost the flavour, fibre and texture of packaged foods.
From online content to apps and certification programs, there’s plenty of information out there to help you master the Low FODMAP diet. If you’re new to it or just want to learn more, check out our dietitian rated top 10 FODMAP most common mistakes you may like to watch out for.
Mistake 1: Avoiding all dairy
Cutting out all dairy on a quest to avoid lactose is a classic rookie error. Lactose-free dairy products have been modified to remove the lactose sugar and are nutritionally superior to most plant milks when it comes to keeping a balanced diet. So, unless you’re vegan or have an allergy to milk protein, there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Additionally, any cheese that you can grate, or slice is considered lactose-free, also cream, soft cheeses and Greek yoghurt have reasonable Low FODMAP serving sizes.
Here are a few of our favourite ways to enjoy dairy on a Low FODMAP diet:
Mistake 2: Not realising that Low FODMAP servings are per sitting not per day
That’s right, you do need to limit your servings of some ‘allowed’ foods like fruits and certain vegetables. But the serving size does not apply to the whole day – it is just for that meal. Leave 2-3 hours between each meal or snack, and you can eat that food again while still following a Low FODMAP diet. Try our Pesto Feta Scrolls which are perfect for a quick snack as well as a lunchtime meal.
Mistake 3: Over-restricting
Getting your head around Low FODMAP foods can be a bit overwhelming for some. A common mistake is to spend all day weighing, measuring, and double-checking your portions. What you’ll end up with is a diet that’s over-restrictive and miserable. One tablespoon of frozen peas is okay, as well as half a cob of sweet corn. Use the Monash app and your updated dietitian lists to include as many different foods as you can on a Low FODMAP diet.
Mistake 4: Missing the serving size
Although we don’t want to be over-restricting (see #3), it is worth noting that some Low FODMAP foods will become problematic at higher serving sizes. For example, sweet potato is low in mannitol at a 75g serve, but pretty high if you’re making sweet potato soup. Red cabbage is Low FODMAP at 1 cup, but at 2 cups becomes high in fructans. Weighing or measuring your usual portion as a one off can be helpful if you’re not sure what half a cup of sweet potato or thirty raspberries looks like. Use the Monash app to check the rating on your usual serving size.
Mistake 5: Cutting out all gluten
Take it from a dietitian – confusion between gluten and FODMAPs is one of the most common mistakes made. Gluten is the protein found naturally in wheat, barley and rye, and must be strictly avoided for those with coeliac disease. However, the FODMAPs in wheat, rye and barley (fructans and ‘GOS’) are quite separate from gluten.
You can include wheat products at small serves and those that have been processed to reduce the FODMAP content in larger serves like Lo-Fo Pantry Plain Flour. Don’t worry about small amounts of wheat or gluten in sauces, stocks and flavours as they are also well within Low FODMAP limits.
Lo-Fo Pantry Plain flour is milled to remove FODMAPs from premium 100 per cent Australian GMO-free wheat in an all-natural, chemical-free, wet extraction process. Lo-Fo Pantry is certified by FODMAP Friendly, and accredited for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) like symptoms.
Here’s a few of our favourite recipes that use Lo-Fo Pantry Plain Flour:
Mistake 6: Underestimating inulin
Inulin is one of the highest FODMAP ingredients. It comes from chicory root and can be added to foods to thicken the texture, increase fibre content or to make foods more filling. Watch out for inulin in the ingredients list of products as this could be giving your gut a hard time, particularly in the initial phase of the Low FODMAP diet.
Mistake 7: Not checking ingredients for other sneaky FODMAPs
There are a few common ingredients in everyday foods that can cause gut issues. Some common culprits include honey, agave syrup or fruit juice. These are often found in ‘naturally sweetened’ foods. While onion powder and garlic powder (otherwise known as ‘dehydrated vegetable’ or ‘vegetable powder’) are often found in savoury foods like crackers, crisps, flavour sachets, stocks, and marinades.
Mistake 8: Expecting a Low FODMAP diet to solve all your problems
As much as we’d like it to, the Low FODMAP diet isn’t a magic bullet. Although reducing FODMAPs will help with symptom control for most, it’s important not to forget about the big picture. Simple lifestyle measures that can help manage symptoms include stress management, exercise, chewing well, and watching known IBS triggers like alcohol, large meals, coffee, and fatty foods.
Mistake 9: Getting stuck on the Elimination phase
We get it, you feel better and don’t miss the erratic bowel motions and daily pain and bloating. But the Challenge phase of the Low FODMAP diet is imperative to helping you find your triggers. No-one reacts to all FODMAPs and the only way to test your tolerance is by taking a deep breath and systematically working through the Challenge process. We promise it will be worth it, and your gut bugs will love you for it.
Mistake 10: Not reaching out for support when you need it
Studies have shown that people who follow the Low FODMAP diet with a dietitian’s input tend to fare better. They eat a wider variety of foods, feel more positive and less stressed about their food choices. So, what is there to lose? Look for an experienced FODMAP trained dietitian to help you get the most out of the diet, pinpoint your triggers and nurture your gut health.
There you go, 10 classic mistakes you won’t be making as you confidently stride into new Low FODMAP territory!