What Are FODMAPS could They Be Making Me Sick?

What Are FODMAPS could They Be Making Me Sick?

It's 8 pm, and the kids are getting ready for bed. You decide to treat yourself to your favourite TV show and a cup of tea. And, of course, you know the risks of consuming too much sugar so you opt for a healthy sweet tasting ,insert any protein type bar, to round off your night.

The next day, you feel bloated, anxious and stressed and can't seem to get out of bed like you had too many glasses of wine and lacked the correct amount of sleep!

If this is something you experience, you are far from alone. And if you think it can't be caused by a small night-time snack, you are not alone in that either. Many people attribute this feeling to factors such as a lack of sleep, a busy day at work, or having a lot on their minds in general. However, it is likely that the culprit is a tiny saccharide molecules or the more broader class of FODMAPs. (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols)

Most of us are now aware that sugar - especially refined sugar - is detrimental to our health and can cause various chronic conditions, as mentioned above. We try not to give our children sweets, knowing of these risks, and instead encourage them to eat healthier alternatives; however, many of these "healthy" alternatives contain FODMAPs, which can trigger many uncomfortable symptoms and lead to chronic disease. 


FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in and added to some foods. Like these "healthy" bars that are being pushed ever more over social media these days by fitness bloggers and influencers.

FODMAPs also includes fructose (when there's more than glucose), fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose, and polyols (like sorbitol and mannitol).

These short-chained gastro-resistant carbs. instead of being absorbed into your bloodstream, reach the far end of your intestine, where most of your gut bacteria live.

Your gut bacteria then use these carbs for fuel, producing hydrogen gas and causing digestive symptoms in sensitive individuals. FODMAPs also draw liquid into your intestine, which may cause diarrhea. It doesn't end here though as the gut is more commonly being accepted to effect your entire body by causing you to suffer from chronic type symptoms associated with IBS or Chrone's disease.

You don't have to have been diagnosed with such illness to be effected by FODMAPs though. This is where an anti-reductionist view is more effective in seeing how the connection to ill health can and does exist.

Common FODMAPs include:

  • Fructose: a simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables that also makes up the structure of table sugar and most added sugars
  • Lactose: a carbohydrate found in dairy products like milk
  • Fructans: found in many foods, including grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley
  • Galactans: found in large amounts in legumes (grains, seeds, beans etc)
  • Polyols: sugar alcohols like xylitol, sorbitol, maltitol, and mannitol. They are found in some fruits and vegetables and often used as sweeteners

What symptoms can FODMAPs cause?

Unfortunately, many people ignore severe FODMAP symptoms, believing they must tolerate chronic pain and discomfort. More commonly, the modern-day human has become increasingly ignorant to the subtleties of the gut and its mechanisms of warning us of harmful molecules in our diets. (that's a sentence to be unravelled in an up-and-coming blog).

The following outward symptoms are your body's way of telling you that there is a problem: that you must make some changes to improve your lifestyle and, ultimately, your health.

These symptoms are the most common but are by no means limited to these. The gut-brain-body connection is massively complex and misunderstood by modern-day medicine in particular, so other symptoms could be related to FODMAP sensitivities too.

Remember don't take my word for it. It is always best to consult a qualified dietitian or health professional when looking into symptoms before changing and altering your diets.

  • Gas or Bloating

  • Migraines & headaches

  • Mood Swings & Anxiety

  • Excess Joint pain & Gout

  • Tiredness & Chronic fatigue

  • Trouble sleeping & Insomnia

  • Chest pain & breathing difficulties

  • Sudden Changes in your sight or Vision

Why do FODMAPs cause all these symptoms?

The short answer is inflammation!!!

When your gut is inflamed, pro-inflammatory cytokines are released throughout the body, leading to all the symptoms listed above and more.. 

The rationale behind this action is the complexity of the gut. Your gut has roughly as many neural connections as does your pet dog! So if you consider your pets intelligent, then your gut is too. It has many weapons in its arsenal, and its effect on inflammatory markers and the resulting immune response is just one way it chooses to communicate with the human outside itself.  

We could go down a rabbit hole here and explain the mechanism of action of these symptoms and the biochemistry behind it so let me know in the COMMENTS if this is something you would be interested in reading about. IF so, i will go into more depth in another article.

So what can i do?

Firstly there is no need to panic. If you have got to the point that you are aware of these symptoms, then something can be done. One solution is to try a Low- FODMAP diet.

A randomised blind study of 30 IBD (irritable bowel disease ) patients was split into two groups of 15 recent (Milajerdi, A., et al, 2020.) The low-FODMAP group saw a considerable decrease in their symptoms. And another study (Barrett, J.S. and Gibson, P.R., 2012.  5(4), pp.261-268.) saw a 74% decrease in symptoms in their tests.

This goes to show that even when you have an untreatable chronic illness, this diet can help alleviate the symptoms. Most of us thankfully haven't got to this stage, so by switching to this type of diet; we could hope to see a full recovery from all symptoms. 

It's also a great way to test if you have a gut issue because if by switching to this diet and your symptoms persist, then that is when further investigation is required, and your gut may not be the cause of the problem. So the process of elimination is vital in the understanding and self-diagnosis of the body, and especially in this day n age, due to the amount of time GPs have to assess us, it is an essential piece in the puzzle of wellness and healthy living.

 The FODMAP Diet

 High FODMAP (Avoid) Low FODMAP 
  • Fruits: apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, canned fruit, cherries, dates, figs, peaches, pears, watermelon
  • meats, fish, and eggs (well tolerated unless they have added high FODMAP ingredients, like wheat or high fructose corn syrup)
  • Sweeteners: fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol
  • all fats and oils (always avoid seed oils or oils that are liquid at room temperature when cooking) Stick to Ghee, butter and coconut oil.
  • Dairy products: ice cream, milk (from cows, goats, and sheep), most yogurts, soft and fresh cheeses (cottage cheese, ricotta, etc.), sour cream, whey protein supplements and bars.
  • most herbs and spices
  • Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, okra, onions, peas, shallots
  • nuts and seeds (including almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts, and sesame seeds but not pistachios or cashews, which are high in FODMAPs)
  • Legumes: beans, baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, soybeans
  • fruits, such as:, unripe bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, grapes, kiwi, lemons, lime, mandarins, melons (except watermelon), oranges, passionfruit, raspberries, strawberries
  • Wheat: biscuits, bread, most breakfast cereals, crackers, pancakes, pasta, tortillas, waffles
  • sweeteners (maple syrup, molasses, and stevia)
  • Other grains: barley, rye
  • dairy products if they are lactose-free as well as hard cheeses and aged softer varieties (like Brie and Camembert)
  • Beverages: beer, fortified wines, fruit juices, milk, soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup, soy milk
  • vegetables, such as: alfalfa, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, celery, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, green beans, kale, lettuce, olives, parsnips, potatoes, radishes, spinach, spring onion (only green), squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts, yams, zucchini
  • grains, such as: corn, oats, quinoa, rice, sorghum, tapioca
  • beverages (water, coffee, tea, etc)


I hope you found this useful or interesting. Please comment below if you did or have any further questions then you can talk to me an holistic performance and lifestyle coach who may guide you through such challenges of low mood and fatigue then email me and book a FREE discovery call support@tafit.co

If you want to find out more about IBS and FODMAP diets from an expert you can find that information here.

Have a good rest of your week. 

True Athletic| Redefining your paradigm of health & fitness

    1. Burisch J, Jess T, Martinato M, et al. The burden of inflammatory bowel disease in Europe. J Crohn’s Colitis. 2013;7(4):322–37.

    2. Everhart JE, Ruhl CE. Burden of digestive diseases in the United States Part III: liver, biliary tract, and pancreas. Gastroenterology. 2009;136(4):1134–44.

    3. Rogler G, Zeitz J, Biedermann L. The search for causative environmental factors in inflammatory bowel disease. Dig Dis. 2016;34(Suppl. 1):48–55.

    4. Matsuoka K, Kanai T. The gut microbiota and inflammatory bowel disease. Semin Immunopathol. 2015;37(1):47-55. 

    5. Milajerdi, A., et al, 2020.
    6. Barrett, J.S. and Gibson, P.R., 2012. Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) and nonallergic food intolerance: FODMAPs or food chemicals?. Therapeutic advances in gastroenterology5(4), pp.261-268.


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