The low FODMAP diet is notoriously restrictive – but effective! So many favourite foods are restricted on the low FODMAP diet, especially high fiber plant foods, leading many of our clients to ask about options for low FODMAP nuts, and wondering most importantly – is peanut butter low FODMAP? Fortunately, there are many options of low FODMAP nuts. Keep reading to learn which nuts can be consumed safely on a low FODMAP diet.
FIRST OFF, WHAT ARE FODMAPS?
A FODMAP is an acronym that stands for: Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. Each of these stands for a category of foods that can cause the uncomfortable digestive symptoms that occur with IBS (1). FODMAPs cause discomfort in one of two ways:
This leads to an array of negative symptoms including bloating, distension, pain, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation.
WHAT IS THE LOW FODMAP DIET?
The low FODMAP diet is a short term (4 -6 weeks) elimination-style diet that reduces the overall amount of fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) that you consume in your diet (1). A low FODMAP diet is often used to reduce symptoms in those who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). After the elimination phase of a low FODMAP diet is the very important reintroduction phase involving testing individual tolerance of the FODMAP categories.
DOES EVERYONE WITH IBS NEED TO FOLLOW A LOW FODMAP DIET?
No! Generally speaking, FODMAP-containing foods provide lots of benefits to our gut because they act as food for the good bacteria found there (2). Often, a low FODMAP diet includes less fibre and a reduced intake of some vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – especially if you’re following a low FODMAP diet without the support of a registered dietitian. While many people with IBS see improvements in their symptoms with a low FODMAP diet, not everyone sees the symptom resolution they are looking for. However, a low FODMAP diet is often one of the first interventions recommended by practitioners.
ARE NUTS LOW FODMAP?
Nuts can be an important source of protein and healthy fats – especially for individuals who are following a vegetarian or vegan diet. If you include nuts or peanut butter in your diet on a regular basis and have been suggested to follow a low FODMAP diet, you may be wondering about what this means for you and what nuts are low FODMAP.
WHAT NUTS ARE LOW FODMAP:
- Chestnuts (20 boiled or 10 roasted)
- Macadamia nuts
- Peanuts (32 nuts)
- Pecans (10 halves)
- Pine nuts (1 tbsp serving)
- Walnuts (10 halves)
Note: suggested serving size in brackets! (3)
IS PEANUT BUTTER LOW FODMAP?
Peanuts contain only trace amounts of FODMAPs making them a very safe choice for someone following a low FODMAP diet.
Peanut butter is considered a low FODMAP food in a portion size of around 2 tablespoons. Portion sizes greater than this may cause symptoms due to a higher fructose content. If you prefer almond butter, this should be limited to 1 tbsp per serving.
HIGH FODMAP NUTS:
While following a low FODMAP diet you should LIMIT:
- Almonds, hazelnuts and brazil nuts to 10 nuts/serving – larger serving sizes contain high amounts of oligosaccharides (the O in FODMAP!).
- Activated cashews are also tolerated in 10 nuts/serving
You should AVOID:
- Cashews (high in both oligosaccharides and fructans – the F and the O in FODMAP)
- However, activated cashews can be tolerated if limited to 10 nuts per serving.
- Pistachios (high in oligosaccharides!)
If you’re not sure if you should be following a low FODMAP diet, reach out! We would love to discuss this with you further.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34376515/ (Efficacy of a low FODMAP diet in irritable bowel syndrome: systematic review and network meta-analysis)
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28846594/ (Low-FODMAP Diet Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis)
- Monash University FODMAP Diet (https://www.monashfodmap.com/)