If you are following the Low FODMAP diet, you may have already experienced the side effects of FODMAP stacking and didn't even know it! Following a Low FODMAP diet can be puzzling, so let's piece together this common issue.
What Exactly is FODMAP Stacking?
FODMAP stacking is when you consume two or more FODMAPS that belong to the same FODMAP group in one sitting or two if foods are consumed close enough together.
Large serving sizes, and close meal timings can contribute to Low FODMAP Stacking. There are several foods that are considered low FODMAP in a small serving size, but if paired with another food from the same FODMAP group, it may be above your tolerance threshold for that FODMAP group.
An example of this would be, in the FODMAP group sorbitol you can have an 1/8 of an avocado and is considered low FODMAP, but paired with another sorbitol food such as a peach that is considered low FODMAP at 1 oz, you may be over your threshold of your tolerance to the sorbitol group.
FODMAP stacking is when you consume two or more FODMAP foods that belong to the same FODMAP group in one sitting or two if foods are consumed close enough together.
Why is FODMAP Stacking Important?
If you have been following the Low FODMAP diet, and you continue to feel moderate discomfort, these symptoms could be contributed from FODMAP stacking.
It's important to understand how our digestive tract works. It can take up to 12-48 hours for foods to reach our large bowel where our IBS symptoms occur. So, if you are eating the same FODMAP groups back to back, you likely will overwhelm your bowel with high FODMAP foods that can trigger your IBS.
Tips to Avoid Stacking:
A good way to think about FODMAP stacking is to think about a pot of boiling water. You can add a small amount of water without it boiling over, but as soon as you add just a little more water, you have a mess to clean up from the water boiling over. This limit of FODMAPs is considered your threshold.
The steps to avoid FODMAP stacking are:
Understand FODMAP serving size by utilizing tools such as the Monash University Low FODMAP smartphone app. Monash University does routine lab testing on the amount of FODMAPs in foods. So, their app is up to date on the appropriate serving sizes of foods to keep your diet low FODMAP.
Eat a variety of foods. You may be able to combine FODMAPS from two different groups, such as combining an 1/8 of an avocado from the sorbitol group and 1/2 cup of sweet potato from the mannitol group without issues. This will vary person to person based on your tolerance level.
Space out your meals. Allow time for your food to digest and pass through. I would encourage you to spread out your meals at least every 3-5 hours.
Complete the FODMAP Challenge Phase. To understand your IBS triggers it is important to complete the challenge phase where you can understand your threshold of each FODMAP group.
There are a lot of components to the Low FODMAP diet, and results vary person to person. My mission is to provide you with knowledge, tools, recipes, and accessible foods on the low FODMAP diet to live a thriving life! Know that you don't have to do this alone, seek help and guidance to better understand and control your IBS.