What is a FODMAPs Diet for PCOS?

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If you suffer frequently from bloating, gas, constipation and/or diarrhea, you may have a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which affects approximately 40 million Americans. The FODMAPs diet is an evidence-based approach for managing symptoms and can help up to 75% of IBS sufferers get symptom relief.

What is a FODMAPs Diet?

A FODMPAs diet is a temporary elimination diet for those suffering from IBS or who have gastrointestinal discomforts such as pain, bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea. This evidence-based diet has been shown to be effective at helping IBS-sufferers get symptom relief.

FODMAPs are an acronym for foods with certain sugars or fibers that tend to be hard to digest: Fermentable- Oligo- Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols. These foods are poorly absorbed by the small intestine and are delivered to the large intestine where they can cause water retention, gas, and other uncomfortable GI symptoms. Many people with IBS who eat foods high in FODMAPs report feeling bloated as if they have a water balloon in their body.

In addition to GI symptoms, FODMAP foods have also been associated with affecting mood and altering the bacteria in our guts.

Examples of High FODMAPs Foods

Fermentable (fructans): wheat, rye onions,

Oligosaccharides: legumes, garlic, onions, chicory root, inulin

Disaccharides (lactose): milk and yogurt

Monosaccharides (fructose): honey, apples, watermelon, mango


Polyols (sorbitol and mannitol): apples, stone fruits, sugar-free candy or gum

This list provides an example of foods high in FODMAPs. Working with a registered dietitian nutritionist trained is FODMAPs is recommended to identify a complete list of foods and to monitor the effectiveness of the diet.

It’s important to read labels carefully when following a low FODMAPs diet. While wheat is a high FODMAPs food, eating gluten-free is not considered part of a low FODMAPs diet as many FODMAPs foods can be in gluten-free foods, such as inulin and chicory root.

What Can I Expect From Following a Low FODMAPs Diet?

FODMAPs is a learning diet to find out what foods affect your GI symptoms. After following the low FODMAPs elimination diet for 4 to 6 weeks, you will most likely start to see an improvement in your gastrointestinal symptoms. Many who follow a low FODMAPs diet also report an increase in energy levels.

After following a low FODMAPs diet for the recommended amount of time, start reintroducing small amounts of your favorite high FODMAPs foods, one at a time to see if they cause discomfort. The goal isn’t to eat a low FODMAPs diet for life, but to eat a healthy and varied diet that doesn’t cause GI distress.

Helpful FODMAPs Resources

If you are interested in learning more or want to follow a low FODMAPs diet, these resources are essential:

Use this helpful app to find high, medium, and low FODMAPs foods. The app is updated regularly for the most up-to-date foods.

This is the Monash Univeristy Low FODMAP blog for up-to-date articles and tips on following a low FODMAP diet.

Kate is a digestive health expert and registered dietitian and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Well with IBS and co-author of 21 Day Tummy, a New York Times bestseller. Visit her blog for helpful FODMAP information and resources.

This is the website for registered dietitian and FODMAPs expert Patsy Castos. Her books IBS Free at Last! Change your Carbs, Change your Life, a step-by-step guide to the FODMAP elimination diet and Flavor without FODMAPs Cookbook are great resources for following a FODMAPs diet.

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Article Sources

  • Chumpitazi BP et al. Randomized clinical trial: gut microbiome biomarkers are associated with clinical response to a low FODMAP diet in children with the irritable bowel syndrome. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2015. Ahead of print. 
  • Staudacher et al. Comparison of symptom response following advice for a diet low in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) versus standard dietary advice in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. J Hum Nutr Diet 2011 (5);487-95.