Your NYU Langone gastroenterologist may recommend avoiding a group of well-known dietary triggers, often referred to as the FODMAP list, for six to eight weeks to determine whether cutting them from your diet alleviates digestive symptoms.
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Foods containing these sugars can be difficult for some people, particularly those with IBS, to digest.
If eliminating these foods helps, your physician recommends reincorporating foods from the “FODMAP” list one by one to determine which ones are the triggers. By avoiding these triggers, you may discover that you feel better.
Foods high in fructose—a sugar commonly found in high amounts in some fruits—may cause IBS symptoms. Such foods include apples, mangoes, and watermelon. Processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup, such as sodas and candy, may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
Lactose, a sugar found in dairy products, may be difficult for people with IBS to digest. Foods high in lactose include cow’s milk and cream, ice cream, yogurt, and soft, unripened cheeses, such as cottage cheese, cream cheese, and ricotta.
You may also want to avoid fructans, a type of carbohydrate found in grains and vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, garlic, onions, and almost all types of breads, cereals, and pastas.
Galactans are another type of carbohydrate that may be difficult to digest. Foods containing galactans include beans, chickpeas—the main ingredient in hummus and falafel—and lentils.
Polyols are a common ingredient in artificial sweeteners. They can also be found in avocados, berries, and peaches. Many sugar-free products contain polyols, including diet soda, candy, and gum. In addition, gum can cause bloating because the act of chewing pushes extra air into the stomach.