Grassland Beef - U.S. Wellness Meats
  1. Discover Blog
  2. /
  3. Diet
  4. /
  5. Paleo
  6. /
  7. Could the Fruits and Veggies You...

Could the Fruits and Veggies You Love be Destroying Your Health?

Brussels sprouts are one of the several foods that can cause digestive problems for some people.

By Kelley Herring | Healing Gourmet

Onions, garlic, apples, asparagus, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts…

These colorful fruits and vegetables would appear to be the foundation of a healthy diet. But is it possible that they could also cause digestive distress and other disorders for some people?

The answer may surprise you.

According to recent research, the foods listed above (among others) may contribute to painful and embarrassing “functional gut disorders” including bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and diarrhea.

The reason is FODMAPS, an acronym for Fermentable, Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols.

What are FODMAPS?

This group of compounds is found in various foods, ranging from berries to buttermilk. Each one can have a distinct effect on the digestive system.
Let’s take a look:

Fermentable: Fermentable Carbohydrates are those that rely on gut bacteria (rather than digestive enzymes) to break down. As these carbohydrates ferment in the digestive tract, they produce a food source for the bacteria that reside in our digestive system. For many people, fermentable carbs are a good thing. They can boost digestive health and increase the number of beneficial bacteria. But for some people, the results are gas and bloating and an overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria.

Oligosaccharides: These short-chain carbs include fructans (chains of fructose with a glucose molecule) and galactans (chains of galactose with a fructose molecule). For many who suffer from digestive distress, these compounds are poorly absorbed. This can cause an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine (called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO).

Disaccharides: Two sugar molecules bound together, with the most common being lactose (milk sugar). Many people have low levels of lactase – the enzyme that breaks down lactose – causing malabsorption when lactose-containing foods are consumed.

Monosaccharides: A single sugar molecule. Fructose (or fruit sugar) is the often most problematic monosaccharide and contributes to gas and bloating for those with FODMAPS issues.

Polyols: Also called sugar alcohols, polyols occur naturally in a wide variety of foods – from mushrooms and snow peas to cherries and apples. Polyols are also found in low-calorie sweeteners including sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol and isomalt. In excess, these substances can have a laxative affect as they are poorly absorbed in the intestine.

Can a Low FODMAPS Diet Reduce Gut Issues?

For many people, reducing foods that contain FODMAPS can provide significant digestive relief or cessation of symptoms.

In fact, according to the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, reducing FODMAPS reduced symptoms in approximately 75% of patients with functional gut disorders.

But all FODMAPS are not created equal when it comes to their impact on your health.

For example, you may react poorly to fructose but have no problems with fermentable carbohydrates.

Another critical factor is the amount of FODMAPS consumed. Because the compounds are ubiquitous in our food supply, it is almost impossible to avoid them entirely. But reducing the FODMAPS that you personally react to is the best way to reduce digestive distress from these compounds while still enjoying a diverse, nutrient-rich diet.

Take a look at the classes of FODMAPS and the foods in which they are found:

Lactose Fructose Fructans Galactans Polyols
Milk Products Apples, Pears, Peaches, Mangoes, Watermelon Artichokes, Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Beets, Cabbage, Chicory, Garlic, Leeks, Okra Chickpeas, Lentils, Kidney Beans, Soy Apples, Apricots, Blackberries, Cherries, Nectarines, Pears, Peaches, Plums, Prunes, Watermelon
Coconut Milk, Coconut Cream Grains (including wheat & rye) Vegetables (such as broccoli) Vegetables (such as cauliflower, button mushrooms, snow peas)
Dried Fruits, Fruit Juices Sweeteners (including sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, malitol, isomalt)
Sweeteners (such as agave, honey & high fructose corn syrup Insulin & Fructo-oligosacharides (FOS)
Sweet Alcohols (including sherry & port) Fruits (such as watermelon)

If you suffer from digestive issues, choosing a Paleo diet, rich in healthy fats and protein, is an excellent first step. Not only are grains, legumes, and most dairy products problematic for the GI tract, but overall health.

From there, a food journal can be beneficial in rooting out the offending FODMAPS. Pay close attention to how you feel after consuming FODMAP-rich foods to create your personalized healthy-gut diet.

Finally, eating a low FODMAP diet doesn’t have to be bland. Here are a few quick and healthy meal ideas to get you started:

•    Grass-Fed Beef and Bok Choy Stir-Fry With Red Bell Peppers
•    Oven-Roasted Pastured Chicken with Organic Tomatoes and Wilted Spinach
•    Almond Flour Paleo Pancakes with Blueberries and Sugar-Free Pork Bacon or Breakfast Sausage
•    Grilled Heirloom Pork Chops with Sautéed Carrots and Butter Lettuce Salad
•    Bison-Stuffed Bell Peppers



Kelley Herring is the author of the brand new book Better Breads – which includes information you need to know about why it is so important to avoid wheat and grains in your diet, plus how to use healthy replacements for these foods to create all the breads you love… without the gluten, carbs and health-harming effects. Click here to learn more about Better Breads


1.    de Roest RH, Dobbs BR, Chapman BA, Batman B, O’Brien LA, Leeper JA, Hebblethwaite CR, Gearry RB. The low FODMAP diet improves gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective study. Int J Clin Pract. 2013 Sep;67(9):895-903. 
2.    Gibson PR, Shepherd SJ. Evidence-based dietary management of functional gastrointestinal symptoms:  The FODMAP approach.  J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010;25(2):252-258.
3.    Ringel Y, Williams RE, Kalilani L, Cook SF. Prevalence, characteristics, and impact of bloating symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2009;7(1) 68-72.
4.    Shepherd SJ, Parker FC, Muir JG, Gibson PR. Dietary triggers of abdominal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: Randomized placebo-controlled evidence. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2008;6(7):765-771.
5.    Rumessen JJ, Gudmand-Høyer E. Absorption capacity of fructose in healthy adults. Comparison with sucrose and its constituent monosaccharides. Gut. 1986;27(6):1161-1168.
6.    Muir JG, Rose R, Rosella O, et al. Measurement of short-chain carbohydrates in common Australian vegetables and fruits by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). J Agric Food Chem. 2009;57(2):554-565.
7.    Moshfegh AJ, Friday JE, Goldman JP, Ahuja JK. Presence of inulin and oligofructose in the diets of Americans. J Nutr. 1999;129(7 Suppl):1407S-1411S.