What on earth is a FODMAP?

Often when I first mention the term FODMAP to a client, they either look at me as though I have sworn at them or as if I am from another planet.

I distinctly remember the first time I heard the term FODMAP in a meeting of Dietitians (just after I had returned from Maternity leave). I spent the whole meeting wondering what on earth this term meant.

FODMAPs are Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols. They are the various types of carbohydrates that do not get fully digested in the stomach or small intestine. FODMAPs draw extra fluid into gut or get broken down by gut bacteria. This causes a range of uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms for IBS sufferers including bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea.


This group of fermentable carbohydrates were collectively named FODMAPs by the founders of the low FODMAP diet from Monash University in Melbourne Australia. FODMAPs and the low FODMAP diet is the evidence based dietary approach to managing IBS and is used by Dietitians around the globe. The food industry is responding with more and more products suitable for IBS and accreditation programs for low FODMAP foods.

Believe it or not, I am quite content spending most of my day in conversations about poo and wind and smelly farts, diarrhoea and constipation. I understand that people with IBS really don’t have anyone else to share their concerns and symptoms with and I know I can help. It is wonderful to work in a field of dietetics where clients respond so quickly and convincingly, and truly appreciate the impact of dietary change on their quality of life.

If you think you might benefit from a low FODMAP diet, take our Gut Feelings Quiz to find out.

Although the term FODMAP is becoming increasingly recognised, what it actually means can still be a bit confusing for IBS sufferers. To start with you may like to remember the term FODMAP in a different way – how about FOOD OR DRINK that MAY AFFECT POO!

Blogged by Kerith Duncanson – April 2015


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