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How to spot FODMAPs in packaged foods

FODMAPs are sneaky and love to hide in packaged foods.

If you are having unexplained symptoms, or are just starting the low-FODMAP diet, make sure you know what FODMAPs to look out for in your processed foods.

Premade spice mixes, stock, sauces and salad dressings

These convenience products are great staples in many New Zealand homes. Unfortunately, for us FODMAPers, these products are often the source of hidden FODMAPs. When choosing these products, look out for onion and garlic (powdered or dehydrated), as well as high-FODMAP sweeteners (see quick reference table below). Also double check products that have ‘spices’, ‘dehydrated vegetables’ or ‘natural flavours’ listed on their ingredient lists, as onion and garlic powder can be hidden under these terms. If in doubt, give the manufacturer a call, explain you have a medical condition, and tell them that you need to know if onion or garlic is included under these terms.

Gluten-free bread, pasta and other products

Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security when you see the words ‘gluten free’. While these products don’t contain wheat, rye, and barley (major sources of fructans), they can be laden with high-FODMAP ingredients. Pay close attention to the ingredient lists and look out for apple, pear or fruit juice concentrate, apple fibre, inulin, chicory root fibre, dietary fibre, date puree, date paste, and honey. Also, check what gluten-free flours have been used and avoid products that contain amaranth flour, lupin flour, garbanzo/besan flour, or large amounts of soy flour or coconut flour.

Breakfast cereals and muesli bars

Step away from the muesli bars – most muesli bars and many breakfast cereals on the market contain high-FODMAP dried fruit (apple, apricot, currants, dates, mango, pear, pineapple, raisins, sultanas) as well as high-FODMAP sweeteners that are likely to cause tummy troubles. Sometimes you might be better off making your own low-FODMAP cereal or muesli bars at home.

Lactose free and coconut yoghurts

Lactose-free yoghurt and coconut yoghurt can be a fantastic way to get some FODMAP-friendly probiotics into your diet. However, not all yoghurts are made equal and many of them like to hide high-FODMAP fruits, honey, inulin, high-fructose corn syrup, and agave syrup. When choosing coconut yoghurt, look for ones that contain coconut cream or coconut milk, and avoid products that contain coconut water.

Dairy-free ice-cream

We all deserve a treat while on the low-FODMAP diet, and a small scoop of dairy free ice-cream is a ‘go to’ for me. There are some low-FODMAP brands available in New Zealand, however to find them you will need to be a label-reading ninja to spot the stealthy high-FODMAP ingredient. The major FODMAP enemies to look out for are fructose, isolated fructose or fructose syrup, as these are all names for high-fructose corn syrup. Also stay alert for inulin, high-FODMAP fruits, and polyols (sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol, isomalt, xylitol, maltitol).

Soy milk and milk alternatives

Soy milk is tricky on the low-FODMAP diet. You want to choose one that is made from soy protein not whole soy beans. When choosing your milk alternative, also check for fructose, inulin, and avoid products fortified with chickpeas.

Want more low-FODMAP labeling reading information? Make sure you check out my Low FODMAP Guide To Reading Labels as well as the quick reference table below.

Quick reference list of high-FODMAP ingredients

High-FODMAP sweeteners Honey, agave syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, crystalline fructose, isolated fructose, fructose syrup, yacon syrup, fructose-glucose syrup, apple juice, pear juice, fruit juice concentrate, fruit sugar, sorbitol, mannitol, erythritol, isomalt, xylitol, maltitol. Also avoid large serves of golden syrup or molasses.
Ingredients that hide lactose Lactose, milk, milk powder, milk solids, buttermilk, milk curds, yoghurt, sour cream, whey protein concentrate
Ingredients that hide onion and garlic Onion powder, garlic powder, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, spices, natural flavours, dehydrated vegetables, and chicken salt.
High-FODMAP flours Amaranth flour, coconut flour, einkorn, emmer, khorsan, kamut, lupin, barley, amaranth, soy flour, wheat flour. Gram flour and lentil flour are also suspected of being high FODMAP. Just remember if soy flour or coconut flour are not the dominant flour in the bread, then the product could still be FODMAP safe. Talk to your dietitian and test your tolerance levels.
Ingredients that hide oligosaccharides Inulin, chicory root extract, chicory root fibre, dietary fibre, fructooliogsaccharides (FOS),


Article sources and references

Date modified: 8 January 2021
First published: Mar 2017


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