Why FODMAP lists contradict each other?

We all had the same frustration in the early days of the diet.

By digging and cross-checking different fodmap lists gleaned here and there, we realize that they contradict each other and we end up not knowing who or which list to trust.

I’ve been there 😓
A Ian Espinosa picture from Unsplash.

Then why?

Several reasons:

  • Many are too approximate. Especially those that have only ingredients without specifying weight. Yes, there are no restriction on potatoes or grapes. But for a lot of foods, you have to consider quantities and you can’t generalize by simply saying that pineapple is acceptable or beetroot is to be avoided. No, they are to be avoided, STARTING FROM A CERTAIN WEIGHT: you can barely allow yourself 2 slices of beetroot but you can eat 1 cup of pineapple. We really need to get into the details.
  • Some of them are downright grossly mistaken. It is a highly specialized subject that requires a certain expertise. I will particularly stay away from lists in general or women’s press articles that are written in haste by journalists who do not master this diet and are just popularising it: they have neither the time nor the space to explain the subtleties.
  • But the most common reason is that recommendations have evolved!

Recommendations are evolving

It is important to understand how the fodmaps level of foods is determined.

Monash University refined its recommendations over the course of the tests by taking up certain foods and they have added subtleties. Two great discoveries:

  • They realized that some foods did not have the same levels depending on which part of the fruit or vegetable was tested. A broccoli head is very different from the branch in this respect. The green part of the leek is low in fodmaps while the white part is high. There are many examples.
  • Also, they found that the fodmaps level evolves with ripening. The best known example is the banana, which has been retested and found to be much higher in fodmaps when ripe than when it is greener.

Where to find reliable information in the end?

Therefore I recommend that you avoid any fodmap list older than 2 years. Ignore books that have not been updated and paper lists given by your physician where you see a small “2013” at the bottom of the page. Also exclude any list that does not specify weight in cups/grams or that only refers to whole food (look at broccoli, it must be separated between the head and the stalk for example).

The reference is Monash University in Australia. Any person compiling any list will rely directly or indirectly on their work.

Ok for recent books as well.

Online, prefer either lists drawn up by dieticians experts in fodmaps or my database of foods, Fodmapedia.

You can start your 14-day free trial to Fodmapedia Premium here, no card is required.

I hope this article has helped you!

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