Low-FODMAP & High-FODMAP Food Lists for Paleo, GAPS and Gluten-free Diets

Low-FODMAP and High-FODMAP Food Lists (for a Gluten-free/Paleo/GAPS Diet)

Megan Healing Diets, Health & Nutrition 22 Comments

If you’re experiencing unexplained bloating, especially after certain meals, in this day and age, the diagnosis is likely one of two things: a sensitivity to high-FODMAP foods or SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. I look forward to addressing my solution to SIBO in an upcoming post soon. However, for those needing to overcome a FODMAP sensitivity what follows is a list of foods to avoid and also a list of foods to embrace.

This short term dietary protocol can help your body to heal. Read more about combining a low-FODMAP diet with the GAPS Diet for total gut healing.

Here is a definition of FODMAP:

FODMAPs is an acronym (abbreviation) referring to Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These are complex names for a collection of molecules found in food, that can be poorly absorbed by some people. When the molecules are poorly absorbed in the small intestine of the digestive tract, these molecules then continue along their journey along the digestive tract, arriving at the large intestine, where they act as a food source to the bacteria that live there normally. The bacteria then digest/ferment these FODMAPs and can cause symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal bloating and distension, excess wind (flatulence), abdominal pain, nausea, changes in bowel habits (diarrhoea, constipation, or a combination of both), and other gastro-intestinal symptoms. (source)

While there are other FODMAP lists available, many of them apply to those eating diets of processed foods, not whole foods, healing foods, or sustainably-sourced foods. The lists also vary some site to site. So for my clients with high-FODMAP sensitivities, for those needing not just a NO list but also a (Paleo-friendly) YES list, and for those looking for more complete lists, these will hopefully be helpful.

I’ve put the YES list first– all you can eat while you heal, a bit of encouragement before reading about potential limitation. My YES list is also gluten and grain-free, as all grains will likely impede any intense gut healing.

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The nature of FODMAP sensitivities is that you may not react to all high-FODMAP foods. However, by eliminating them all and than patiently reintroducing them one by one, after 2-6 weeks without, you’ll begin to rebuild your diet.

On a personal note I used to be sensitive to all high-FODMAPs. Now I am sensitive only to the Polyols like xylitol, which many healthy people are. My abstinence from the below list lasted much longer than 6 weeks. I spent perhaps a year on the low-FODMAPs. But, it worked. While I once avoided favorites like onion, avocado and winter squash, fearing I’d never be able to eat the foods again without bloating, I can now eat them all without reservation.

I recommend focusing on healing your gut, while being on the restricted diet. As long as you’re restricted, it’s a good time to get well.

Low-FODMAP & High-FODMAP Food Lists for Paleo, GAPS and Gluten-free Diets

YES Foods (foods to enjoy)

  • Organic or grass-fed meat: beef, buffalo, chicken, canned albacore tuna, canned salmon, eggs (organic, grass-fed, or soy and corn-free), fresh fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey, Applegate farm cured meat (nitrate-free, humanely raised), Applegate farm grass-fed hot dogs
  • Lactose-free dairy (okay for some): fully cultured (for 24 hours) yogurt, real sour cream (like Nancy’s brand), hard cheeses: aged cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss, cultured cheeses: brie, Camembert, and blue cheese
  • Soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds, in moderation, and their milks, homemade (but no pistachios or cashews, which are high-FODMAP foods)
  • Certain fruits: bananas, berries (except blackberries), cantaloupe, coconut (in small amounts), grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, tangerine, but all fruit in moderation
  • These vegetables: alfalfa, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bell peppers, bok choy, chives, cucumbers, carrots, eggplant, endive, lettuce, leafy greens, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, rhubarb, all winter squash (for some), spinach, sweet potatoes, taro, tomatoes, turnips, yams, zucchini, the green part of green onions, small amounts of garlic, most fresh herbs, ginger
  • Miscellaneous: arrowroot, weak coffee, tea (for some), most spices and dried herbs, as long as they are pure (no other ingredients), homemade broth, grass-fed butter or ghee, natural olives only (no ferrous gluconate, no vinegar, just olives, salt and olive oil, and citric acid okay), homemade aioli made with olive oil, onion powder (small amounts of dried onion may be okay for some), extra-virgin olive oil, black or white pepper, sea salt (must be “sea salt”), NuNaturals brand dextrose-free stevia, mustard powder, apple cider vinegar (for some)

NO Foods (foods to avoid)

  • Cheeses that aren’t aged and also the following dairy: buttermilk, milk chocolate, cottage cheese, ice cream, creamy/cheesy sauces, milk (from cow, sheep or goat), sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, soft cheeses (cream cheese, ricotta), sour cream (most commercially made preparations), whipped cream, yogurt (most commercially made varieties)
  • Many veggies: artichokes, asparagus, beets, leeks, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cassava, cauliflower, celery, cho cho, choko, fennel, garlic, green beans, mushrooms, okra, onions, radicchio lettuce, shallots, snow and snap peas, taro, winter squash, especially butternut (for some), the white part of green onions, yellow summer squash
  • Many fruits: avocado, apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, canned fruit, cherimoya (custard apple), cherries, dates, dried fruits, figs, guava, lychee, longon, mango, nashi fruit, nectarines, paw-paw, pears, papaya, peaches, persimmon, plums, pomegranate, prunes, raisins, rambutan, sultanos, tamarillo, watermelon
  • Legumes; Nuts and Seeds: black beans, black eyed peas, cashews, chickpeas, hummus, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, pistachios, soy products; processed almond meal, sesame seeds (for some), tahini
  • All grains: corn, high fructose corn syrup, wheat variations: einkorn, emmer, kamut, spelt, wheat flours: bromated, durum, enriched, farina, graham, semolina, white flours, barley, rye
  • Miscellaneous: black tea, chamomile and other herbal teas (for some), chai, chicory root, dandelion, carob, inulin, agave, chutneys, honey, jams, jellies, molasses, pickles, relish, pre-made sauces or salad dressings, artificial sweeteners: maltitol, mannitol, isomalt, sorbitol, xylitol (including cough drops, gums, mints sweetened with these), all juices, wine, beer. It is best to avoid almost all prepackaged foods.

If you don’t see a favorite food listed above on either list that’s probably because experts still disagree as to whether that food will cause fermentation in sensitive individuals. Foods like pineapple are best to avoid initially and may be “challenged”/reintroduced when you suspect your gut health has improved.

Have you seen relief due to a low-FODMAP diet? Are you experiencing bloating and need to find the cause? I’d love to hear your comments.

  • Renee Kohley

    This is such a useful resource! Thank you! I had to do low FODMAP for a period of time when I had a really bad Hashi’s flare and it helped so much!

  • Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    Wow, I wonder if I’m reacting to any of these. Great post Megan, always learn so much through you.

  • This is extremely helpful, Megan. I look forward to learning more from you about SIBO.

  • linda spiker

    I have never really understood the whole fodmap thing. Thanks for posting!

  • Beth Martin

    This is a great resource for many! There are so many conflicting lists. Love that you listed the YES foods first. There are lots of tasty, nutrient dense foods on that list.

  • Love this! What an awesome resource! I know I’m having issues with onions…so sad 🙁 I love them!

  • Yummy Inspirations

    Great tips! 🙂

  • Meghan

    I recently found this article in my search for info : http://chriskresser.com/why-diet-alone-is-not-enough-to-treat-sibo/ . Have you come across this perspective before? Just curious of your thoughts. I’m still looking into all this myself as I plug along on my healing journey. Looking forward to your article on SIBO!

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Meghan, her article (guest writer for Chris Kresser) brings up some great points. She mentions one of the most important issues toward the end. For those with SIBO and FODMAP sensitivities it’s important to consume rapidly digestible carbs. I think this could have been mentioned sooner. She opens by equating a low-FODMAP diet with a low-carb diet, which isn’t always accurate. I agree- carbs are important; and I LOVE the posts Chris Kresser has written about the dangers of keeping them out too long. There’s a helpful book by Norm Robillard called Fast Tract Digestion- http://amzn.to/1rn1lCR where he lists the carbs that don’t linger and ferment in the gut. There are certain carbs he lists that are the foods to allow on a low-FODMAP diet. However, some of the foods would not compliment GAPS (for those who need to stay grain-free and low starch for ultimate healing) and then, this gets into the subtlety that Chris Kresser mentions in other articles and that I work with my clients on: what comes first? How do you prioritize multiple healing needs at the same time that contradict one another? The article link you include mentions this too, which is great. The “patient” basically needs to be careful, to not stay on a low-carb version of low-FODMAP for too long. And then, most importantly, a strategy needs to be in place for getting rid of the SIBO. I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned that is helping me to heal from SIBO. Low-FODMAP is recommended for most to last only 2-6 weeks before eliminated foods begin to be reintroduced. This would be the time to find potentially high-FODMAP carbs that do not cause bloating or exacerbate/create new symptoms, in my opinion. As I mention above, not all of the FODMAP foods are reacted to by each patient. Cassava (http://bit.ly/1TlNT8M) has been my hero and it’s a good place to start. As you may have seen, I have lots of cassava flour recipes here on the blog. I recommend starting with a very small quantity of such a food to see how you do and then gradually increasing if all goes well. Thanks for the great question.

  • Megan Stevens

    Thank you.

  • Megan Stevens

    I thought I’d never be able to eat onions again. But now I do!! 🙂 There is hope! Thanks for sharing.

  • Megan Stevens

    Thanks, Beth.

  • Megan Stevens

    You’re welcome. It helps to need to understand it. 😉

  • Megan Stevens

    I’m so glad. I look forward to writing the SIBO post. 🙂

  • Megan Stevens

    I’m so glad. Thank you. I hope you’re able to isolate if there are any exacerbating foods.

  • Megan Stevens

    That’s great to hear. Thank you for sharing!

  • Meghan

    Thanks for your insight! This has been my dillema as well – how to implement so many seemingly conflicting strategies and pieces of information without becoming overly restrivtive in my diet. I’m dealing with SIBO, some FODMAP intolerances, a multitude of food allergies and sensitivities, and have been on GAPS intro since January without much progress, which I know is because the SIBO is still an issue. So far the healing strategies I’ve been experimenting with my ND have made minimal progress and seem to have hit a wall. But I’m researching and continuing to experiment with what works with my body. SO looking forward to your article on SIBO!

  • Michelle Murphy-Childs

    I never understood Fodmap before. Great informational post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Megan Stevens

    Great, Meghan. Yes, it’s such a process of research and endurance, trials and successes. A slow process. I hope that yours ends up being effective! 🙂

  • Megan Stevens

    You’re welcome! I’m so glad it was helpful.

  • Jessica Frink

    I follow a low FODMAP + Paleo diet and I have to say, I’m surprised to read that you know about FODMAPs! What are the chances of Vanilla Jill’s offering more low FODMAP Paleo options? I love your business and would love to be able to support it more, but there’s so little I can eat there now since having to cut out FODMAPs.

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Jessica, it’s not very likely. I, too, couldn’t eat a lot at our cafe for a limited time. The wonderful thing about FODMAP sensitivities is that they really respond well to dietary changes; they do go away! So there is hope soon for you! We can’t pull things like onions out of our soups, as you might imagine. 😉 Wishing you speedy healing!