Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Tolerant Host: Low FODMAP Food List

Catering for an Intolerant Diner
The Low FODMAP Diet
If you’re hosting a dinner party and one of your guests suffers from fructose malabsorption and/or lactose intolerance, you should create dishes that follow the Low FODMAP Diet. You don’t need to worry about the science behind the low FODMAP diet, or even what it’s an acronym for.[1] You just want to know what’s on the ‘OK to Eat’ and ‘Foods to Avoid’ lists, don’t you?
To be on the safe side avoid the fruits and vegetables in the ‘Foods to Avoid’ column, although you could check with your guest if they can tolerate small quantities of some of these foods.
Sucrose (table sugar) is usually OK in moderation as is 1-2 glasses of dry white or red wine. Sweet, sticky wines should be avoided.
If you’re cooking from scratch, catering for your intolerant diner should be fairly straightforward. Care should be taken with packaged foods, especially ones that contain ‘hidden’ onion ingredients. Instead of onions, the following foods can be used for flavour:
·      chives
·      spring onions (the green part)
·      ginger
·      coriander
·      basil
·      lemongrass
·      chilli
·      mint
·      parsley
·      marjoram
·      oregano
·      thyme
·      rosemary
·      asafoetida powder
·      garlic infused oil (place 4-5 cloves of raw garlic in oil and allow to infuse for 1 week before use).
This document has been created for people catering for guests on a Low FODMAP Diet. If you suffer from fructose malabsorption and/or lactose intolerance you should seek professional advice to establish your levels of tolerance. This is not a comprehensive list.
OK to Eat
Foods to Avoid
Nashi Fruit
Carambola (star fruit)
Avocado (limit)
Honeydew Melon
Blackberries (only berry on avoid list)
Paw Paw




Dried Banana Chips

Dried Cranberries

Dried Currents

Dried Paw Paw

Dried Pineapple



The fruits on the ‘OK to Eat’ list should be limited to one serve every 2-3 hours. A serve is 1 medium banana or orange, up to ½ glass of juice, a small handful of berries or a very small serve of dried fruit (e.g. 10 sultanas).

OK to Eat
Foods to Avoid
Sugar snap peas
Bamboo Shoots
Artichokes (Globe & Jerusalem)
Bean Shoots
Beans (green)
Bok Choy
Brussel Sprouts
Capsicum (green & red peppers)
Dandelion Leaves
Choy Sum
Legumes and Lentils
Onion (brown, white, Spanish & powder)
Lettuce (all varieties)
Spring Onion (white part)
Snow Peas



Spring Onion (green part only)




Sweet Potato





Zucchini (courgette)

In addition to fruits and vegetables there are other foods to watch. On the next list wheat and rye are only a problem in large amounts (e.g. breads, cereals and pasta). Small amounts on breadcrumbed foods and in cookies should be OK. Trace amounts of wheat in sauces such as soy sauce are acceptable on a Low FODMAP Diet. Gluten-free[2] breads, pastas and wraps are a good wheat-free alternative for your intolerant guest, so long as they do not contain any of the foods on the Food to Avoid lists.  
Other foods to watch
OK to Eat
Foods to Avoid
Golden Syrup
Pure/Natural Maple Syrup
High Fructose Corn Syrups
Corn Syrup Solids
Rice Syrup
Yeast Extract (e.g. VegemiteTM)
Wheat Based Products
Peanut Butter
Rye Based Products
Chocolate Spread (e.g. NutellaTM)
Coffee Substitutes (chicory-based e.g. EccoTM, CaroTM, Nature’s CuppaTM)
Jam & Marmalade (small quantities)[3]
Dandelion Tea
Sucrose (table sugar, cane sugar, castor sugar, icing sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar)
Inulin (artificial fibre used in some processed foods, e.g. low fat dairy products, ‘high-fibre’ or ‘fibre-enriched’ products).
Regular Tea & Coffee, Decaf Coffee, Herbal Teas
Artificial Sweetners: Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol & Isomalt (found in some ‘diet’, ‘sugar-free’ or ‘low carb’ foods. Packaging has the warning ‘Excess consumption may have a laxative effect’.
Barley, Bran, Chia Seeds, LSA (Linseed, Sunflower & Almond Meal), Psyllium, Oat Bran, Rice Bran

Nuts and Seeds

Suitable Sweetners include EqualTM, NutrasweetTM, SucralosTM, Aspartame, Saccharine, Stevia, Agave, Agave Syrup, Agave nectar.

PK Juicy FruitTM, MintiesTM, Tic TacsTM, MentosTM

Lactose Intolerance List
Think you’ve got the hang of it? If your guest is also lactose intolerant then you’ll need to take a look at this list, too:
You should avoid serving more than 4g of lactose in one sitting.
OK to Eat
Foods to Avoid
Lactose free milk
Skim Milk (250ml = 16g lactose)
Icecream (1 scoop = 3g lactose)
Evaporated Milk (½  cup = 13g lactose)
Custard (¼  cup = 3g lactose)
Low Fat Milk (250ml = 13g lactose)
Dark Chocolate (0g lactose)
Regular Milk (250ml = 12g lactose)
Cream Cheese (1tbsp = 3g lactose)
Low Fat Yoghurt (200g = 9g lactose)
Milo (1 tbsp = 2.5g lactose)
Full Cream Yoghurt (200g =8g lactose)
Cottage Cheese (2 tbsp = 1g lactose)
Cheesecake (150g = 6g lactose)
Cream (1tbsp = 1g lactose)
Milk/White Chocolate (50g = 5g lactose)
Sour Cream (1tbsp = 1g lactose)

White Sauce (2tbsp = 1g lactose)

Cakes (150g = 0.5g lactose)

Butter (1tbsp = 0.1g lactose)

Cheese. Cheaddar, Blue Vein, Brie, Feta, Edam, Gouda, Swiss, Bocconcini, Mozzarella (30g = 0.1g lactose)

In general, small quantities of soft cheeses are OK and larger quantities of hard cheeses can be tolerated. It is important that people with lactose intolerance seek medical advice to make sure that
If your dinner guest is not a vegetarian then most meat dishes are fine. Avoid processed meats that may contain hidden fructose ingredients.

[1] FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides (e.g. Fructans and GOS) Disaccharides (e.g. lactose) Monosaccharides (e.g. excess Fructose) and Polyols (e.g. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt). For more detailed information on the Low FODMAP diet visit and select the ‘Information Fact Sheets’ tab.
[2] A Low FODMAP Diet is not a gluten free diet. Gluten-free foods do not contain wheat, rye, oats or barley. As gluten free foods are wheat and rye free, they can be suitable for people on a Low FODMAP Diet. However, people following a Low FODMAP Diet can still include barley and oats.
[3] Limit use of ‘100% fruit spreads’ as they are often sweetened with pear juice.


  1. Hey, I'm vegetarian and on a low FODMAP diet. But worse, i find all gluten products a problem. The things i find the most challenging as a vegetarian is the lack of legumes. Not haveing tofu is a killer. And so many gluten free breads have soy flour in them. And i am totally overdosing on eggs and cheese for protein. Which are not actually a great for my IBS either as they are too high in fat. As are nuts. Any ideas? has this been your experience?

  2. I recommend you contact Shepard Works at:
    Sue Shepard she is a dietitian and nutritionist who is senior researcher within the Department of Gastroenterology at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne. Through her research she has an up-to-date list of safe foods for people on a low FODMAP diet.You can sign up for a newsletter on her website.

    I went to a Sheperdworks talk and was told not to stop eating legumes or tofu. They said it's important on a vegetarian diet to ensure I get enough protein and iron. They suggested having them in moderation, so perhaps including them in one daily meal, not every meal. You could try adding a small amount to your evening meal and then build up until you discover your tolerance level. For lunch you could then have a quinoa, cheese or egg dish. You could also add Chia seeds to your breakfast or salads. Don't be put off adding nuts to your meals either, they contain good fats. Also, 100% spelt flour bread is on the safe food list and I think tastes much better than the gluten-free alternatives. You must check the ingredients though that the Spelt flour hasn't been mixed with wheat flour. I'm OK with most gluten-free foods, provided they don't have fructose in them. I will be posting recipes with tofu and legumes.

    So, in short, I'm not restricting myself to just eggs and cheese (although I enjoy both). Let me know how you get on. I'd be happy to post your recipes on this site if you have any.

  3. Look forward to the recipes. I need to try this diet but cannot tolerate the thought of eating flesh or bovine excretions! Yuck! Thanks for your website!

  4. Thx for that list, Worst Dinner Guest! BUT there have been some updates -- eggplants and sweet potatoes are now considered to have enough FODMAPs to cause some people trouble. A few other changes, too. Searching sites such as for updates may help you here. See archives for updates from the last 6-12 months for updates by category (eg milk/meat, veggies, fruits, etc)

    Also @ Redindigotea - I have the same restrictions as you, although I was more toward vegan when I discovered my FODMAP trouble. Now I've reincorporated eggs/goat cheese!!! WOW - I thought I must be the only person in the world with such a limited diet -- especially since the vegetarianism is by choice!!! Eggs are getting to be a bit dreary, so very interested in the recommendations Worst Dinner Guest indicated from Shephard Works.

    BTW, has a few veggie and vegan fodmap suggested meals in June 2011 blog posts - as well as others. There's a search engine on the site.

    I have the book (IBS, FREE AT LAST), too. Pretty decent in terms of being inclusive for vegan/vegetarians and how to modify various recommendations for these particular diet choices.
    Thx all!

  5. Hi Vegan,
    I suggest you try the elimination diet for two weeks only, after which you should gradually re-introduce lentils, pulses and tofu. Slowly build up the quantities until you find your tolerance level. Remember that the Low FODMAP diet is not about weight loss, but about reducing symptoms of irritable bowl syndrome. You can always use vegan alternatives to egg and cheese in my recipes.

    Hi KCChicago,
    Thanks for your information. I am investigating the sweet potato and egg plant fructose content. The website you mentioned has fabulous information for vegetarians and vegans. I think the key is that vegetarian proteins should only be eliminated for a couple of weeks and then gradually reintroduced until the tolerance level is established. A key point being that we must ensure we get enough protein. It made me smile that you said that you thought you were the only person in the world with such a limited diet. That's how I felt, but this blog has had over a thousand hits on it from all over the world, so you are not alone.

  6. hi "worst dinner guests". i am vegetarian, coeliac, have just found out i am lactose intolerant so probably qualify for that title too. I have been doing a low chemical diet for 6 weeks (look that up - rice, eggs, green beans, pears...) and have now moved onto FODMAPS (because of daily headaches and nausea - more than a year of this). i LOVE it when i find out someone has a dietary restriction (especially one contradictory to mine - eg eggs) - it is such a challenge to make something delicious for them. i always have to take my own food. i know not everyone loves cooking like me but really they don't seem to get that food is such a social event and not being able to partake is really depressing (eg party where you can't have any finger food, xmas where you have to bring your own food).

  7. Good news. I contacted Shepherd Works, they are involved in the research in Australia on the fructose content of foods. They said that eggplant does not contain significant amounts of any FODMAP, so it is on the OK to eat list. Sweet potato is what they would consider a 'moderate' food, so 1/2 cup or less in a serve would be okay, but over that amount may be a problem to sensitive people.
    And, Toadfool, I love your have a go attitude to making food for 'intolerant' people.

  8. Hello! I just found your blog this morning and was THRILLED to find another vegetarian having to follow the FODMAPS diet and Australian too! I find the hardest things is giving up "real" pizza (because a lot of the time when you eat pizza is the only vego option) and onions (because they are in just about everything!). I notice you haven't posted for a while - please don't give up on your blog! I need the encouragement and someone who understands! Thanks heaps xxxx

  9. Don't worry NessyS, I haven't given up. I have a few new recipes in the pipeline. Thanks for your encouragement.

  10. Hello! Very informative blog especially for vegetarians. I eat Indian foods. Do you know if mung beans, fenugreek seeds are low FODMAP? I use a lot of spices like cloves, coriander, cumin seeds, turmeric, mustard seeds etc.. Whatever I eat turns into gas. Please help and thank you so much for taking the time to give us a ray of hope that we can sit down & have a decent meal without starving or changing to Primal diet.

  11. I've just posted a vegetarian curry for you. It does contain chickpeas, but remember that we do need to still need to have protein. I'd try completely cutting out the spices above for a week then gradually introducing them one at a time until you work out which ones affect you. My guess would be the mung beans and fenugreek seeds.

  12. Thanks for posting such helpful information. I made a DELICIOUS blueberry and almond tart tonight, and cut it into 20 thin slices. Pretty sure it'd qualify for low FODMAP at that size. Here's the recipe:
    Blueberry and Almond Tart
    Serves 16-20

    Shortcrust Pastry:
    • 100g brown rice flour, plus extra for dusting
    • 100g fine yellow cornmeal
    • ½ tsp mineral salt
    • 100g chilled butter, diced
    • 30g caster sugar
    • ¼ tsp organic pure stevia
    • 1 egg

    Tart Filling:
    • 185g raw, whole almonds
    • 85g softened butter
    • 100g caster sugar
    • ¼ tsp organic pure stevia
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • few drops vanilla extract
    • 250g blueberries (frozen is fine)
    • icing sugar, for dusting

    1. Make the Shortcrust Pastry: put all of the pastry ingredients (except the egg) into the food processor and blend until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix until the mixture clumps together. Knead it on a surface dusted with rice flour until smooth. Shape it like a squished ball, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    2. Grind almonds until fine and set aside.
    3. Beat together the butter and sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the stevia. Mix in the ground almonds, eggs and vanilla extract.
    4. Roll out the pastry between baking paper and cling film and place in a 23-24cm pie dish on the baking paper (makes it easy to transfer, bake and remove from the tin). Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5.
    5. Spread a thin layer of the tart filling over the base.
    6. Gently fold the blueberries into the tart filling mixture, and then spoon into the pastry case. Smooth the top using the back of a metal spoon.
    7. Bake for 45-50 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden, and the filling is golden and feels firm to the touch.
    8. Cool the tart for 10 mins in the tin, then lift onto a serving plate. Dust with a little icing sugar and serve warm or at room temperature.

    Recipe adapted from Good Food magazine, May 2011 (tart filling), and Gluten-Free Shortcrust Pastry only slightly adapted from

  13. For vegetarians on a FODMAP diet, try washing legumes very thoroughly, after soaking, and then multiple times during cooking drain and refresh the water. I've heard that most of the chemicals causing gas leach out of beans during soaking. (Canned legumes are especially worst as they sit in that substance.)

  14. Hi, did you ever find out more about fenugreek seeds? I'd be interested to know.

    Also, agave is one of the least safe sweeteners for FM as it contains at least 90% fructose. Maybe this is new information since you wrote this post. Great site!

  15. I was just about to say the same thing about agave. But great site indeed. I'll be back.

  16. Are all lactose free products OK on a low FODMAP diet? For example lactose free cream and sour cream?

  17. Yes, provided they are lactose free I consume them. In Australia we have Zymil milk and cream. Alternatively pharmacy and health food stores stock tablets to take just prior to consuming non-lactose free products. These can be convenient when out and about.