Is FODMAPS the Next Diet Trend?

If you’re on the fad-diet bandwagon, you may have heard about the low-FODMAP diet. Some folks mistakenly think it’s a new way to lose weight. The low-FODMAP diet is actually used for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Research has shown that the diet can help alleviate symptoms associated with IBS such as gas, abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Here’s a more in-depth look to see if you could benefit from a low-FODMAP diet.

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols — these are all the science-y names for the various types of sugar. According to Kate Scarlata, RDN, New York Times best-selling author, dietitian and low-FODMAP diet expert: “The low-FODMAP diet is a diet that temporarily reduces a group of poorly digested carbohydrates for two to six weeks followed by a careful reintroduction of FODMAP containing foods back into the diet in an effort to identify personal trigger foods. The low-FODMAP diet is an exploratory diet rather than intended to be followed long term.”

How It Works

If you suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms like gas, bloating and abdominal pain, it’s important to be evaluated by your doctor or gastroenterologist to make sure you don’t have a serious condition, like celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease or anything else. Once the doctor makes the diagnosis, you need to work with a dietitian who specializes in FODMAPs.

The first step is to eliminate high-FODMAP foods for two to six weeks. High-FODMAP foods include milk and some other dairy foods, apples, dried fruit, and cauliflower. The purpose is to determine your personal triggers, so a dietitian will work with you throughout the weeks to reintroduce FODMAPs and assess your tolerance. At the end, most people tend to find that they need to restrict only a few high-FODMAP foods in order to alleviate symptoms from IBS. Scarlata explains, “The low-FODMAP diet can be overwhelming, a bit confusing and possibly lead to nutritional deficiencies; working with a dietitian makes the diet trial a whole lot easier and likely healthier.”

It is possible for someone to lose weight if he or she follows a calorie-controlled, well-balanced low-FODMAP diet. The purpose of the diet, however, is not weight loss.

To find a reputable FODMAP dietitian, check out Scarlata’s registry on her website, or check Patsy Catsos’ registry on her IBS website.

Scarlata was kind enough to share one of her favorite low-FODMAP recipes for Pad Thai.

Low-FODMAP Pad Thai

Yield: 2 to 3 servings


4 ounces pad thai rice noodles

2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon homemade red Thai curry paste

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces

2 tablespoons garlic-infused oil

1 tablespoon ginger, minced

3 large carrots, julienned

1 medium zucchini, julienned

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1 lime, cut into quarters

Fresh cilantro or basil, chopped (2 tablespoons or so)

1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped


Cook noodles per package directions, rinse and drain well.

Add 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil and chicken to large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat. When chicken is almost cooked through, add garlic oil, ginger, carrots and zucchini until veggies are al dente.

While noodles and chicken are cooking, prepare sauce by combining remaining 1 teaspoon sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, red curry paste, brown sugar and vinegar.

Add cooked and drained noodles to chicken and vegetables. Turn off heat. Drizzle sauce over and gently mix. If sauce seems too thick, add some warm water to the dish.

Transfer mixture to a platter. Garnish with bean sprouts, fresh cilantro or basil, and nuts.

Squeeze 2 of the lime quarters over dish and reserve 2 for garnish on platter.

For additional low-FODMAP recipes, check out Scarlata’s blog or her books, 21 Day Tummy Diet and 21 Day Tummy Diet Cookbook.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.


Keep Reading

Next Up

Diet 101: OMAD Diet

We take a deep dive into intermittent fasting and what it means for your health.

Diet 101: DASH Diet

The DASH Diet was created for those with high blood pressure, but was recently voted Best Overall Diet for Healthy Eating by U.S. News. Find out what it's about.

Diet 101: Dukan Diet

Although the Dukan Diet has been a best seller for years in France, it’s been rapidly growing popularity since Kate Middleton announced that she’s on it in order to lose weight for her upcoming royal nuptials to Prince William. Other celebs like model Giselle Bundchen and Jennifer Lopez have also reportedly been on the diet to help them shed their post-baby pounds. But should you be following in the footsteps of these high profile celebs?

Diet 101: the Sirtfood Diet

Is the Sirtfood Diet the next must-do weight loss plan?

Diet 101: The Paleo Diet

The Paleo diet (a.k.a. the Hunter-Gatherer or Caveman diet) has been around for 40 years and has recently resurfaced with a vengeance. But should we be reverting back to what caveman ate thousands of years ago? Here’s the need-to-know about the oldest diet around.

Diet 101: The Military Diet

A nutrition expert weighs in on the Military Diet.

Diet 101: South Beach Diet

Once the high protein craze began to die down, the South Beach diet swooped in promising weight loss with cutting out the carbs. But is the South Beach diet all that it’s cracked up to be?

Diet 101: Wheat Belly Diet

Here’s a look at the newest popular fad diet: The Wheat Belly Diet. Is eliminating any and all wheat the healthiest way to lose weight?

Diet 101: The Mediterranean Diet

Salmon, olive oil, red wine and almonds top the list of preferred foods for this eating plan. They're all healthy picks, but read on to learn if the Mediterranean diet is the right choice for you.

Diet 101: Blood Type Diets

Is the secret to weight loss success determined by your blood type? If you ask some blood-type diet fans, yes. If you ask us, doubtful. Learn more about one of the latest diet crazes.