Going on a therapeutic diet that’s as restrictive as the low FODMAP diet can be a little scary. Yes, you want to get your IBS or SIBO symptoms under control. But dramatically changing your diet is hard.
And yes, the low FODMAP diet represents a significant lifestyle change for many of the people who use it. But it’s one of the most effective strategies I use every day with my IBS and SIBO patients.
😃 It’s temporary.
This isn’t the kind of diet you should stay on long-term. The whole purpose of the low FODMAP diet is to get your symptoms under control while figuring out which foods you can handle, and which ones you need to avoid.
Once you’ve gone through the 3 stages of the low FODMAP diet, then you go off of it knowing which specific foods you need to avoid to keep your symptoms at bay. And if you’re working with a qualified practitioner, they should also be helping you get to the root cause of your IBS or SIBO so you can get back to living the life you want.
😃 It’s not all-or-nothing.
It’s the low FODMAP diet, not the no FODMAP diet. So yes, you’ll need to limit, and even eliminate certain foods. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have anything with FODMAPs in it. You totally can. You just have to be smart about it.
You can even eat pasta on the low FODMAP diet. Yes, you read that right.
If you love regular wheat pasta, I have good news and bad news for you. The good news — you can eat regular pasta on the low FODMAP diet! The bad news — you can only eat half a cup at a time. And yes, ½ cup is a sad little serving of pasta.
Also keep in mind that FODMAPs are cumulative. So if you eat your ½ cup of regular pasta, you need to make sure that you aren’t eating other FODMAPs with your meal. They add up.
Fortunately, wheat isn’t the only grain in town. There are lots of FODMAP-friendly pasta options out there. And yes, we’ll talk about sauce too. Pasta is really just the vehicle after all.
Now let’s talk about pasta made from low FODMAP grains. Traditional pasta is made from wheat flour. And wheat flour is high in fructans, which is an oligosaccharide — the “O” in FODMAP. So it’s not the best pasta choice.
But many commercial food companies are catching on that lots of people are on restrictive diets. So you can find a number of different non-wheat pasta options out there.
You’ll want to look for pasta that’s made from low FODMAP ingredients like rice, corn, quinoa, or buckwheat. But you have to be careful. Just because the main ingredient is low FODMAP doesn’t mean that it’s a low FODMAP product. You have to read the full label.
Quinoa pasta is low FODMAP. You can eat a 1-cup serving on the low FODMAP diet.
Corn contains sorbitol, which is a polyol. So it is a FODMAP food. But pasta made with corn is low in sorbitol, so a 1-cup serving is still low FODMAP.
Rice is a low FODMAP food, so pastas made from rice are a good choice on the low FODMAP diet. But that doesn’t mean you should go crazy. The Monash app recommends you stick to one cup.
If you’re not sure which ingredients are safe for the low FODMAP diet, I recommend you get a good FODMAP app. You can find my favorites (along with some other IBS and SIBO resources) in my free IBS Resource Guide.
Sometimes. There does tend to be a fair amount of crossover between gluten free and low FODMAP products. But that doesn’t mean that all gluten free products are low FODMAP.
Wheat is a problem for people who are avoiding gluten and people on the low FODMAP diet, but for different reasons. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. But the low FODMAP diet is all about carbohydrates. So if you’re on the low FODMAP diet, it isn’t the gluten you need to avoid. It’s the fructans — the carbohydrates found in wheat and other grains that cause problems for IBS and SIBO.
So, if you see a gluten free pasta in the store, it’s certainly worth your while to pick it up and look at it. Make sure it’s made with a low FODMAP grain like rice or corn. Then check and make sure that there aren’t any other FODMAP ingredients.
But watch out for legume-based pastas. While they may be gluten-free, they are unlikely to be low FODMAP. Avoid pastas with ingredients like chickpeas, peas, lentils, and beans.
If you want to go a little non-traditional, you can absolutely use spaghetti squash in place of pasta. A cup of spaghetti squash is low in FODMAPs.
If you want long strands of spaghetti squash, consider slicing it into rounds before you roast it. This keeps the strands in longer pieces than if you cut your squash down the middle before you cook it.
Jovial Foods — They offer an impressive variety of pasta shapes including farfalle, spaghetti, tagliatelle, and more. This pasta has a good texture, tastes fine, and is made with ONLY brown rice and water!
Barilla — This one is pretty easy to find in your regular grocery store. It’s made mostly of corn and rice flour and has a pretty good taste and texture.
Ronzoni — Their gluten free pasta is made from rice, corn, and quinoa. This is another common brand you may be able to find at your local grocery store.
Ancient Harvest — Gluten Free Ancient Harvest Quinoa Organic Elbow Pasta is made with corn and quinoa flour.
Tinkyada — Their Brown Rice Lasagne is made from organic brown rice and water. So yes, you can have low FODMAP lasagne (as long as you’re strategic about the other ingredients).
Finding a low FODMAP tomato-based pasta sauce is challenging. It’s not as much the tomato part — although tomatoes are a little tricky on the low FODMAP diet. Check back next week for a deep dive into tomatoes and their FODMAP implications.
The real problem? Almost all tomato-based sauces have onion and garlic, which are a no-go on the low FODMAP diet. So if you’re going to go with a tomato-based sauce, you’ll want to be really careful.
This sauce is readily available and is made without onions or garlic. It is a tomato-based sauce, so check with your low FODMAP app for an appropriate serving size.
Rao’s is another brand that is readily available in stores in the US.
Fody is a great brand for low FODMAP products. They have a variety of low FODMAP pasta sauces available.
In the mood to cook? There are loads of low FODMAP recipes to choose from. A Google search will yield over 4 million results. But if you want a place to start, here are a few from some low FODMAP recipe blogs I trust:
Low FODMAP Pasta Sauce from the Fun Without FODMAPs Recipe Blog
Pasta Salad from the Pretty Delicious Life recipe blog
Cacio e Pepe also from the Pretty Delicious Life recipe blog
Spicy Vodka Pasta from Monash
Chicken Broccoli Pasta Bake also from Monash
Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake from the A Little Bit Yummy recipe blog
A collection of Low FODMAP pasta recipes from also from A Little Bit Yummy
30 Gut-Friendly Pasta Recipe Collection from Fodmap Everyday
The low FODMAP diet can be challenging. But you don’t have to go it alone. There are lots of practitioners out there who specialize in this therapeutic approach to IBS and SIBO. If you haven’t found the right practitioner yet, you can book a consultation with me to see if we’re a good fit.
But beyond having a good practitioner, sometimes you just need some practical, day-in-day-out help to navigate a diet as complex as low FODMAP. That’s why I created the IBS Relief Blueprint. This program is like a cheat sheet for the low FODMAP diet. It’s got short, easy-to-understand (and implement) information in video and written form.
✔ Understanding the basics of the low FODMAP diet.
✔ Navigating the three stages of the low FODMAP diet.
✔ Going beyond symptom relief and learning how specific foods affect you.
✔ How to make the low FODMAP diet work with your lifestyle.