Certain fruits can be an issue for those with IBS due to their high level of different FODMAPS. Fortunately, there are many fruits which are low FODMAP per serve. Most individuals with IBS should tolerate low FODMAP fruits. But because a fruit is low FODMAP does that means it won’t cause any gut grief?
Unfortunately for low FODMAP fruit, like most things in life, there is always a catch. This catch being a flare up of IBS symptoms for certain individuals, even though it is considered as low FODMAP. So what are the key reasons why you may not be able to tolerate the low FODMAP fruit?
Fructose & Portion Size
Being a type of FODMAP, fructose is often poorly absorbed. This is particularly true for those with a sensitive stomach. High intakes of fructose commonly cause diarrhoea, bloating, and gas for those with IBS. Whilst low FODMAP fruits contain low levels of fructose, this is per serve. For example, blueberries are low FODMAP per serving of 20 berries. However, servings of more than 40 berries is high FODMAP. You should be aiming to eat 2 serves of fruit per day. A standard serve is equal to: 1cup chopped fruit OR 1 medium piece fruit OR 150g. However, be mindful of the serving sizes recommended for specific fruits based on their FODMAP content, as these differ, and may not quite fit normal serving recommendations.
Fructose malabsorption occurs in approximately 1 in 3 people with IBS. It is also possible to have fructose malabsorption but not have IBS, meaning some individuals’ may only need to avoid excess fructose.
Some IBS sufferers find increasing their fibre intake helps their symptoms, whereas others find it worsens symptoms. Some individuals find reducing their intake of insoluble fibre (found in the skin of fruit) helps their IBS, and some find increasing intake of soluble fibre (found in the flesh and pips of fruit) can improve symptoms such as constipation.
Fruit is a good source of fibre, and therefore may cause symptom flare ups in those who do not tolerate fibre well. So if certain fruits cause grief and are low FODMAP, there is a chance it could be high fibre causing problems, and why you should still be careful of low FODMAP fruits.
Salicylates are chemicals which are found naturally in many plants, including fruits. Some individuals are sensitive or intolerant to salicylates and experience various symptoms such as stomach pain/upset stomach, itchy skin, and headaches. If you think you may react to salicylates, it is recommended you see an accredited practising dietitian for further investigation, as a supervised elimination diet is usually required to confirm.
The Monash University Low FODMAP app has a large range of foods and their traffic light rating (green= low FODMAP, amber=moderate FODMAP, red=high FODMAP). This includes different fruits and their recommended serving size, which can be very helpful.
Click here to download the FODMAP challenge food list, which includes fruits which should be avoided on a low FODMAP diet.
By Amanda Gaukroger