Sneaky FODMAPs & Where They Hide

December 3, 2017

 As a vegan, you’re already an expert at checking labels for sneaky animal-based ingredients, so learning to spot FODMAPs will be a walk in the park!


To make things easier for you I’ve made a list of the obvious and less obvious ingredients to look for and the unlikely places they hide!  

The Obvious Ones


Just because it would be remiss of me not to list them: 


  • Honey (not strictly vegan, but for those that do eat it)

  • Agave nectar syrup

  • High fructose corn syrup

  • Onion powder (or any type of onion flavouring)

  • Garlic powder (or any type of garlic flavouring)

  • Celery powder

  • Bean flour (all types)

  • Dried fruit (apart from 10 banana chips and 1 tbsp worth of cranberries, currents, goji and raisins) e.g. Dates are used a lot to sweeten 'health" foods.


NOTE: In the UK, if an ingredient makes up less than 2% of a food item they can just call it "flavouring", which can sometimes include onion and garlic! 


Less Obvious Ones


These ones are the super sly FODMAPs, which 


  • INULIN,  a fructan oligosaccharide (chain of fructose sugar molecules). It’s sometimes listed as Chicory root.


While normally it's a brilliant prebiotic, for us IBS sufferers it's a common trigger. Unluckily for us, it is being used more and more in processed foods because it can act as a low-calorie substitute for sugar, fat, and flour (!?). So all processed foods, especially "healthier" alternatives, are potentially harbouring inulin and need to be checked. 


  • POLYOLSsorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol and isomalt. 


These are often used as sweeteners and are the sneakiest of the all the FODMAPs! 


I didn’t think to check my liquid B vitamins drops for a good few weeks. When I did, I found it contained xylitol. Luckily I’ve since found polyols are fine for me but I used tablets in the meantime. 


So check: supplements, toothpaste, flavoured drinks, sweets, anything “low-Calorie” and CHEWING GUM!


  • HERBAL TEAS! Because you just don't expect herbal teas to ever be bad for you!


- Chamomile tea. I had to mention this because it's so high in fructans and in my mind, totally unexpected! Chamomile is often used as a base in herbal tea infusions, so always check it's not listed. 

- Dandelion also a no-go

- Fennel tea - Ironically a common ingredient in "Detox" and tummy calming infusions. 

- Oolong tea 




If it's savoury, you can almost guarantee there is garlic, onion or celery in there! Mixes such as "Curry powder" or "Chilli Powder" will both have garlic in them, so sad! So double check and if you like the convenience of pre-mixed spices you can make your own, just swap the garlic/onion for a little asafoetida. 


Well, I hope this wasn't overwhelming! Much like checking food is vegan, you'll very quickly learn what are safe options or good alternatives. Have you been caught out by any sneaky FODMAPs?


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DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website is not intended to replace any information provided by a qualified health care professional and should be considered general educational information only. 

I strongly recommend consulting a registered nutritionist/dietician/medical practitioner.

* The low FODMAP diet has been shown to reduce symptoms in ~80% of IBS sufferers, so, unfortunately, it won't help 20%, but you also won't know unless you try. 

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