Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be partly related to impaired absorption of carbohydrates. Fermentable oligo–, di– and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) in patients with IBS or IBD may reach the distal small bowel and colon where they are fermented, giving way to symptoms and increased intestinal permeability (and possibly inflammation).

Examples of FODMAPs include:

  • Fructans or inulins (wheat, onions, garlic, and artichokes)
  • Galactans (beans, lentils, legumes, cabbage, and Brussels’ sprouts)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup)
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
  • Mannitol
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums)

Avoidance of carbohydrates has been a popularized non-pharmacologic approach to reduce symptoms in IBS (and possibly modifying disease in IBD).