17 September 2015

Label reading – how to spot the FODMAPs

Label reading – how to spot the FODMAPs

By Caroline Tuck - Research Dietitian & PhD Candidate

Reading food labels can assist you to recognize suitable foods on a low FODMAP diet. The table below describes common, FODMAP containing ingredients and products where these ingredients may be found.

Remember that ingredients on food labels are listed in order of weight. So the first ingredient listed is in the highest quantity and the last ingredient listed is in the lowest quantity. When you are starting to re-introduce higher FODMAP foods, you may choose to try products which have high FODMAP ingredients such as garlic powder listed as minor ingredients. You just then need to monitor your tolerance.

NOTE: Whilst label reading is helpful, high FODMAP ingredients cannot always be identified. Some foods which may appear to be low FODMAP according to ingredients, may in fact be high FODMAP. So even if you find a product that looks like it would be safe, use trial and error to confirm that you are able to tolerate it. 

Common ingredients to avoid Potential sources
Fructose Soft drinks, sports drinks, muesli bars, breads, jams
High fructose corn syrup Soft drinks, muesli bars, breads, jams
Honey Sweetened products, muesli bars, breakfast cereals, breads
Lactose Dairy products
Sorbitol Chewing gums and mints, artificial sweetened products, cough medicines / lozenges
Mannitol Chewing gums and mints, artificial sweetened products, cough medicines / lozenges
Xylitol Chewing gums and mints
Isomalt Chewing gums and mints
Garlic. Or garlic products e.g. garlic salt, garlic powder Flavoured products e.g. pasta sauces, tomato pastes, stocks, flavoured biscuits/chips, dips
Onion. Or onion products e.g. onion salt, onion powder Flavoured products e.g. pasta sauces, tomato pastes, stocks, flavoured biscuits/chips, dips
Wheat when it is a main ingredient (i.e. listed first to third on the ingredient list) Breads, breakfast cereals, biscuits, pasta
Rye when it is a main ingredient (i.e. listed first to third on the ingredient list) Breads, breakfast cereals, biscuits
Inulin Yoghurts, biscuits
Fructan High fibre foods
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) Protein powders, sports products
Chicory Coffee substitutes
Fruit juices e.g pear juice, apple juice Muesli bars, breakfast cereals, yoghurts, ciders
Fruit pieces which make up a significant portion of the food Fruit yoghurts, muesli bars, breakfast cereals

Please note that this table is not exhaustive and not all products listed will necessarily contain these ingredients. Always check the food label to see what ingredients the product contains. 

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