January 2020 Issue
Low FODMAPs: The Latest Products on the Market
By Brianna Tobritzhofer, MS, RD, LD
Vol. 22, No. 1, P. 14
Some of What’s New On Shelves and Online to Help Make the Low-FODMAP Diet Sustainable
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition in the United States. Treatment modalities for IBS vary case by case, depending on individual symptoms, triggers, and lifestyle factors. Although there’s no one-size-fits-all diet to help treat IBS, the low-FODMAP (fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols) diet has been studied in recent years as an approach to manage symptoms.
Despite the known benefits of a low-FODMAP diet, clients may find the eating pattern challenging to follow. Low-FODMAP diets restrict many popular and flavorful ingredients, such as onions and garlic, making it difficult for people to choose foods that are acceptable while grocery shopping and eating out.
RDs play an important role in helping to make the low-FODMAP diet sustainable for clients. Many new food products formulated specifically for low-FODMAP diets are on the market.
This article provides an overview of some of the popular and novel low-FODMAP food products to help nutrition professionals make informed recommendations for patients impacted by IBS.
What Is IBS?
IBS is a symptom-based, functional gastrointestinal disorder. There are no diagnostic tests for the condition; rather, it’s generally diagnosed after ruling out other digestive conditions such as Crohn’s disease and celiac disease. IBS typically is characterized by irregularities in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of the two. Symptoms of IBS often are contradictory and have a tendency to change over time.
The cause of IBS is unknown, but its development and flare-ups are thought to result from a mishap in the interaction among the gut, brain, and nervous system. Many people develop IBS during or after stressful life events and have symptoms that worsen in the presence of strong emotions.1-3 The condition is unpredictable, making it challenging to manage from the patient and health care provider perspective. Due to the inconvenience and debilitation the condition causes, IBS usually interferes with many aspects of patients’ lives. If left untreated, IBS has the potential to lead to negative health effects such as unintentional weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, and depression.4
Approximately 10% of the global population struggles with IBS, with between 25 million and 45 million of those cases residing in the United States. Women appear to be affected by IBS more frequently than men; approximately 70% of people with IBS are female. IBS can occur in all age groups, including children and the elderly, but it seems to appear more frequently in people aged 50 and younger.4
Treating IBS With a Low-FODMAP Diet
Treating IBS can be challenging, as the condition presents differently in every patient. Some people are more receptive to certain treatment modalities than others, and no single approach is the same.
For most people, IBS symptoms can be managed with diet, medication, and/or lifestyle changes. There are many nutrition therapies recommended to help treat IBS, such as limiting high-fat foods and avoiding caffeine.
In recent years, the potential benefits of the low-FODMAP diet have become more widely known in IBS treatment.5 The diet begins with an elimination period in which FODMAP-containing foods are limited. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates—including lactose, fructose, fructans, and galactans found in some grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products—that are difficult for some people to digest and absorb.
Once patients have eliminated FODMAP-containing foods for four to six weeks, foods are gradually reintroduced to determine which foods trigger IBS symptoms. Having identified a patient’s trigger foods, a dietitian can support the patient in developing a well-balanced eating plan aimed at managing future IBS symptoms.
Studies have shown the low-FODMAP diet to be helpful for improving fructose malabsorption, bloating, abdominal pain, and flatulence among individuals with IBS.5 However, the low-FODMAP diet hasn’t been proven to be the end-all-be-all treatment for IBS patients. Its efficacy varies case by case, but it’s certainly worth a try for those who haven’t had success with other dietary changes.
Even though the low-FODMAP diet is meant to be temporary, the restriction of food groups and popular ingredients makes it challenging to follow. In addition, it can seem impossible to adhere to the low-FODMAP diet guidelines, especially for IBS patients who don’t have the ability or time to cook meals from scratch.
Fortunately, awareness of the importance of low-FODMAP foods for people with IBS has increased in recent years, and some food companies have begun offering low-FODMAP products. Ranging from frozen meals to condiments, low-FODMAP products enable people following the diet to shop and cook with more ease.
Following are several food companies and the low-FODMAP products they offer, including the nutrient content and price ranges that dietitians can share with clients.
Fody is known for its selection of low-FODMAP products, including bars, pasta sauces, salad dressings, and seasoning blends. Many of Fody’s products are available for purchase individually or in bulk. Items can be purchased online at www.fodyfoods.com and at some retailers, such as Whole Foods. Prices for individual products range between $5.99 and $8.99 per container.
One of Fody’s most popular products is low-FODMAP salsa, available in Mild and Medium spice varieties. Two tablespoons of Fody salsa contain 5 kcal, 210 mg sodium, and 1 g carbohydrate. The salsa uses cilantro and cumin for flavor rather than garlic and onion.
Epicured is a subscription meal delivery service that offers exclusively low-FODMAP and gluten-free fresh, ready-to-eat meals, sides, soups, salads and bowls, breakfast items, beverages, and snacks. Popular offerings include Turkey Meatballs with Basil Pomodoro Sauce, Chicken or Tofu Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice, and Tacos Especiales. All meals are prepared by Michelin-star chefs.
Epicured delivers throughout the northeastern United States and will begin to ship nationwide soon. Most entrées cost $10 to $20 per serving, and, while nutrient and calorie content vary, the majority of dishes fall between 500 and 600 kcal. Detailed nutrient information can be found at www.epicured.com.
This company has several low-FODMAP products for purchase at www.rachelpaulsfood.com. Rachel Pauls is well known for its energy bars, available in many flavors, including Banana Chocolate Glee, Chocolate Chip Delight, Oatmeal Raisin Bliss, Orange Chocolate Ecstasy, Peanut Chocolate Euphoria, and Peanut Maple Pleasure. The company also sells low-FODMAP jerky, spice blends, and soup bases.
One of its Chocolate Chip Delight energy bars contains 210 kcal, 9 g fat, 8 g protein, and 27 g carbohydrate. They’re made with low-FODMAP ingredients such as brown rice crisps, oats, and flaxseed meal. A box of 12 energy bars costs $34.99 (each additional box per order is $26.99).
As a popular pasta sauce company, Prego has many products that contain onion and garlic but also offers low-FODMAP Sensitive Recipe sauce. Rather than onion and garlic, the sauce is flavored with other classic seasonings so consumers who must eat a low-FODMAP diet still can enjoy delicious Italian flavors.
A 1/2-cup serving of the Sensitive Recipe sauce contains 60 kcal, 1.5 g fat, 460 mg sodium, and 10 g carbohydrate. It’s gluten-free and doesn’t contain common allergens. Prego products are available for purchase at most grocery stores and online at www.prego.com.
Rao’s Homemade is known for its Sensitive Marinara Sauce, which is onion- and garlic-free. The sauce is flavored with low-FODMAP herbs and spices, including basil and oregano.
In a 1/2-cup serving of Rao’s Sensitive Marinara Sauce, there are 130 kcal, 11 g fat, 330 mg sodium, and 6 g carbohydrate. A jar costs around $8.99 and can be purchased online at www.raos.com.
Fodmapped has several low-FODMAP products available for purchase at some grocery stores and on Amazon. The company offers a variety of items, including soups, simmer sauces, pantry staples, pasta sauces, ready-to-eat meals, snacks, and breakfast items.
A serving of Fodmapped minestrone soup contains 100 kcal, 2 g fat, 440 mg sodium, and 19 g carbohydrate. Prices and detailed nutrition information for its products are available at www.fodmapped.com.
Casa de Santé
Casa de Santé has an online store with a wide variety of low-FODMAP products, both its own brand and a collection of curated brands. Available foods include spices, soups, salad dressings, snacks, granola, protein powders, chocolates, oils, sauces, and pasta.
One serving of Casa de Santé’s Golden Turmeric variety granola contains 200 kcal, 9 g fat, 4 g protein, 2 g fiber, and 30% DV for iron. Prices vary and can be found at https://casadesante.com.
This company provides 100% plant-based meal replacement shakes that are low-FODMAP. They’re an excellent option for a grab-and-go breakfast or for refueling after a workout. Owyn shakes are free from the top eight food allergens, including dairy and wheat, as well as artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.
One Owyn chocolate-flavored drink contains 180 kcal, 7 g fat, 270 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 20 g protein, and 5 g fiber. A pack of four shakes costs approximately $16.99 and is available for purchase at https://liveowyn.com.
Green Valley Creamery
Green Valley Creamery is known for its lactose-free dairy products, including yogurt, kefir, cream cheese, sour cream, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and butter. These items contain lactase enzymes and live, active cultures so they can be digested with ease by individuals following a low-FODMAP diet.
A 3/4-cup serving of Green Valley Creamery plain Greek yogurt contains 160 kcal, 9 g fat, 60 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, and 15 g protein. The nutrition information for the company’s products can be found at https://greenvalleylactosefree.com. Green Valley Creamery’s products are available for purchase at many specialty grocery stores.
Hundreds of other companies offer low-FODMAP food products, but those listed here are a great place to start for RDs who counsel individuals with IBS. Whether clients need premade sauces or soups, lactose-free dairy products, or convenient low-FODMAP frozen meals, there are food products on the market that address just about every challenge clients following a low-FODMAP diet may face.
— Brianna Tobritzhofer, MS, RD, LD, is based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She works for a nonprofit called Open Arms of Minnesota and provides freelance nutrition writing services through her business, Bri Toby Nutrition Company.
1. Moayyedi P, Mearin F, Azpiroz F, et al. Irritable bowel syndrome diagnosis and management: a simplified algorithm for clinical practice. United European Gastroenterol J. 2017;5(6):773-788.
2. Coss-Adame E, Rao SS. Brain and gut interactions in irritable bowel syndrome: paradigms and new understandings. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2015;16(4):379.
3. Pellissier S, Bonaz B. The place of stress and emotions in the irritable bowel syndrome. Vitam Horm. 2017;103:327-354.
4. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders aboutIBS.org website. https://www.aboutibs.org/
5. Altobelli E, Del Negro V, Angeletti PM, Latella G. Low-FODMAP diet improves irritable bowel syndrome symptoms: a meta-analysis. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):E940.