All therapeutic diets take effort. When you’re addressing a medical condition like IBS or symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, pain, bloating, etc., you’ve got to be strategic about it. But the low FODMAP diet is extra. It’s complex and it takes a lot of effort.
When you go low FODMAP, you’re not just having to pay attention to one big category of food like you would if you were eliminating dairy, or even going gluten free. FODMAPs hide everywhere. And keeping track of where you find them and how much you can have gets challenging, especially during the summer months when your schedule is less consistent, your kids are out of school, and you’re doing summery things like vacationing.
And although you may not be able to tell by the weather forecast, we are heading into fall when many people are ready to get back on track with their low FODMAP diet. So this month I’m making it easier for you. Last week I made some recommendations on low FODMAP fast food. This week, I’m going to tackle one of the most common spots where FODMAPs hide: condiments.
Let’s do a quick refresher. If you’re new to the low FODMAP diet and need a more detailed explanation, I’ve got some more in-depth articles on the basics of FODMAPs.
FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols. These are short-chain carbohydrates that can cause issues like bloating, gas, pain, and bowel problems like constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both.
FODMAPs draw water into your digestive tract, which can contribute to bloating and diarrhea.
FODMAPs provide food for your microbiome. But if you have an imbalance of gut bacteria, or you have bacteria living in your small intestine where they don’t belong (SIBO), then FODMAPs may not be your friend.
You’ll find fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides in this category. They show up in wheat, rye, nuts, garlic, onion, some fruits and vegetables, pulses and legumes.
Lactose — a sugar found in many dairy products — is the most common disaccharide. Lactose is present in milk, yogurt, ice cream, whipping cream, and soft cheese.
Fruit sugar, also known as fructose, is the most common monosaccharide. And it’s in a lot of fruits including apples, pears, mangos, cherries, and dried fruit. You’ll also find fructose in common sweeteners like honey, agave nectar, and high fructose corn syrup.
Polyols include the sugar alcohols you find in keto and low-sugar products, including sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. Polyols also show up in certain fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, stone fruits, cauliflower, and mushrooms.
Both onion and garlic are high FODMAP foods. And both of these flavor-enhancers show up in condiments all the time. So you’ll want to avoid anything with onion/onion powder and garlic/garlic powder in the ingredient list.
You also want to watch out for sauces or condiments that have high FODMAP sweeteners like honey, agave, or corn syrup, plus the sugar alcohols — erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol.
But since I don’t want you to have to spend all your time scanning your condiment labels, I’ve created a list of low FODMAP condiments you can count on.
Sometimes you need some soy sauce for your stir fry. And while soy sauce isn’t gluten free, it can be low FODMAP. I recommend the San-J Tamari brand or Kikkoman Soy Sauce.
Fody Foods is a great source for low FODMAP options. They specialize in low FODMAP, so anything with the Fody label is safe on the low FODMAP diet.
Yes, I know garlic and onion are both staples in Italian cuisine. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t work-arounds.
If you need some garlic flavor without the high FODMAP count, consider using some garlic-infused oil. You can make your own garlic-infused oil, or go for the Fody Foods Extra Virgin Garlic-infused Olive Oil.
There are even a couple of jarred pasta sauces you can safely eat. Look for Prego Italian Sauce Traditional Sensitive Recipe, Rao’s Homemade Sensitive Marinara Sauce, Rao’s Homemade Alfredo Sauce, or one of the four varieties of Fody Pasta Sauce.
If you need a burger and fries, or even a salad, there are ready-made low FODMAP condiments available that can add some flavor to your American-style dish.
If you’re in the mood for a salad, look for one of the four varieties of Fody Salad Dressing, or Lemonette brand Mediterranean salad dressing. You can also use basic red wine vinegar & olive oil.
If you’re looking for mayonnaise, check out Kroger Classic Mayonnaise or Best Foods Dressing & Sandwich Spread, which is a good alternative to mayo.
And of course if you’re having fries, you’ll need some ketchup. You’ll be safe with Heinz Organic Certified Tomato Ketchup or Hunt’s Best Ever Tomato Ketchup.
And for that backyard BBQ, look for one of the three varieties of Fody BBQ Sauce.
I’m not going to lie — the low FODMAP diet is a challenge. And it’s not something you want to do for very long. But if you’re doing it correctly with an experienced practitioner, you won’t have to.
The whole purpose of the low FODMAP diet is to identify the specific foods that are triggering your IBS so you can customize your diet. And if you use the low FODMAP diet in conjunction with testing and symptom analysis, your practitioner can guide you to add higher FODMAP foods back in safely.
The low FODMAP diet is not a permanent IBS solution. In fact, it can cause nutrient deficiencies and additional problems if you stay on it too long.
If you’re looking for some personalized help to identify and address the root cause of your IBS symptoms so you can let go of strict low FODMAP eating, I’m here for you. You can book a free 15 minute strategy session.
I also host The Healthy Gut Solutions Group, a supportive online community for people who are navigating IBS and other stomach issues. If you’re looking for support, ideas, and answers to your gut-health concerns, come join us!