If you haven’t yet seen the acronym “FODMAP” in the grocery store, you probably will soon. It stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These carbohydrates—found in apples, dairy, beans, wheat, garlic, and onions—can cause gas, bloating, and other digestive issues in some eaters. They may be particularly problematic for those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—roughly 12 percent of Americans.
“Low-FODMAP foods are big in Australia, but we’re starting to see them advertised here too,” Nielsen says. Processed food manufacturers whose products were always low-FODMAP are seeing the advantage of touting that fact on their labels, she says, or even formulating products just for people on low-FODMAP diets.
Take, for example, Prego’s new “Sensitive Recipe” tomato sauce (no garlic and onions) or products from FODY Foods (an entire line of low-FODMAP products). But similar to gluten-free and other labels, low-FODMAP doesn’t necessarily mean that a product is low in calories or free of sugars, sodium, refined grains, or other ingredients you should limit. For instance, the Prego sauce has 460 mg of sodium per ½-cup serving, and FODY’s Caesar Dressing has 160 calories in 2 tablespoons.
Bottom line: Check the nutrition facts label and read beyond the claim.