Low FODMAP Diet Is Not A Gluten Free Diet

Is Gluten Free Diet Ok For IBS?

So, here is the deal: Low FODMAP diet is not the same as a gluten free diet.

While it looks like you are being wise, by following a gluten free diet, as you are avoiding Oligos-fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) contained in wheat, barley and rye (just to mention a few), what you are trying to avoid is also fructose, polyols and lactose, which are often present in gluten free foods. This means your diet in itself is a failure for IBS control. Are you shocked? Well to be honest some gluten free foods are low FODMAP, but not all.

Food that is gluten free (free of wheat, barley, rye which are identified as the culprit mostly), may not be free of components that cause IBS symptoms. Gluten is a protein and IBS is due to carbohydrates. When you have food with gluten and have a reaction, it does not mean that gluten was the reason for your IBS. It means, that that food you just ate, also had a FODMAP component that triggered your reaction. For instance, wheat has Oligos-fructans and GOS, which are the causes of IBS symptoms, not the gluten present in wheat.

Can IBS sufferers be intolerant to wheat or to gluten (or both)?

IBS sufferers react to the Oligos-fructans in the wheat, not the gluten. Although it might be a possibility that you also suffer from gluten intolerance or you have coeliac disease too, in which case, gluten might also be a problem. However, if like me, you have been diagnosed only with IBS, your dietitian would advise you to stay away from high FODMAP food and not gluten rich food. It is hence essential to identify the cause before resolving the problems.

What other grains should be avoided by IBS sufferers?

Wheat, Rye and Barley are the major grains with fructans in them, present in the form of dietary fiber. IBS sufferers are advised to stay away from them, depending on the severity of their reactions. Ideally, avoiding wheat or rye or barley (a staple component of most diets), does not mean a Oligos-fructan free diet. There might be other ingredients in your diet that has fructans or the FODMAP components in it. Oats, on the other hand, although it may have gluten due to cross-contamination from other grains, it’s a good low FODMAP option for most IBS sufferers, who are not sensitive to gluten. So, always get your dietitian to chalk out your diet till you get a hold of your IBS.

IBS and coeliac disease – what are the differences?

Although IBS and celiac disease have some symptoms in common, IBS mainly involves the large intestine or colon. As high FODMAP food goes through the colon of a subject with IBS,  the colon becomes “irritable” and that is when the symptoms appear.  IBS does not cause damage to the intestines.

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder, which mainly affects the small intestine. When a person who is celiac ingest food containing gluten, this causes the immune system to attack and damage the small intestine.

Some people may not be celiac, nevertheless they can suffer from NCGS (Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity) and therefore they need to avoid gluten.

Conclusion: Is a gluten free diet healthy or not for IBS sufferers?

Gluten free diet is very popular at the moment and more known than the low FODMAPs diet. Gluten free diet is for those who cannot have gluten, like coeliacs and NCGS individuals, low FODMAP diet is for those who have IBS. Gluten free products can be consumed by IBS sufferers, only when the ingredients are confirmed to be low FODMAP, so as to stay away from IBS symptoms.

The bloating and pain will still be there if you have a gluten free diet, but the nasty symptoms of IBS are usually gone or at least reduced on a low FODMAP diet. By restricting your gluten intake when you only have a FODMAP requirement, may lead to over restriction and lesser dietary choices. It might also lead to not meeting normal dietary requirements, as you might be missing out on other nutrients essential for your health.

Remember this is my opinion, my research and my experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure whether you are allergic to gluten or have IBS or have both. The dietary requirements are different in each case. Make sure a qualified dietitian chooses your food regime, in any case, to be on the safer side.


Sue Shepherd FODMAPPED Foods Range

Sue Shepherd has created a range of FODMAP friendly products which can be found in Australian supermarketsand having tried a few, I can surely recommend them, especially when you don’t have the time to cook from scratch.FODMAP Friendly Logo

Food products that have been certified FODMAP Friendly can be easily recognised by the green logo on the product package.

FODMAP Friendly is the only registered certification trademark worldwide certifying FODMAP levels in food products that have been laboratory tested to be low in FODMAPs.

About Larah

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.

15 comments on “Low FODMAP Diet Is Not A Gluten Free Diet

  1. I am officially registered with IbS 2 and a half years and am checkmate the posts here, please give most – the exact diets, eating mostly rice each day 5-6 times and good, other foods can not stand

    • Hi Coin-jivko, thank you for your message, are you asking what food you can eat? Are there any vegetables, fruit, meat, eggs, nuts, seeds etc. you are able to eat without having any IBS symptoms, a part from rice? If you have access to a specialised dietitian, who knows about the low FODMAP diet, that would be the best option, if not you could download the Monash University low FODMAP app for smartphone. You may also find this article useful to get you started https://www.lowfodmapdiets.com/low-fodmap-diet-start-here/ Also have a look at the recipe page on my blog, there may be something you can eat…
      Let me know if I can help you further.

  2. Well a recent study on the Low FODMAP diet showed it actually destroyed Good Bacteria http://www.6minutes.com.au/news/latest-news/healthy-people-should-avoid-low-fodmap-diet as the article explains “The higher FODMAP intake of a typical Australian diet stimulated the growth of helpful bacterial groups, while the low-FODMAP diet reduced total bacterial abundance by an average of 47%.” So the Higher the FODMAP the more good bacteria there is, the lower the FODMAP the more poor bacteria there is. One more thing Dr. Peter Gibson of the Monash University in Australia, never gave up his studies on Gluten Free and found out people who were Gluten Intolerant who ate Gluten Free suffered from LESS DEPRESSION http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2014/s4012012.htm Not only that it takes 6 to 8 weeks for the Low FODMAP diet to work, according to Monash University in Australia study it had only 37 participants and was only a 2 week study. What is the problem well it takes 6 to 8 weeks for the Low FODMAP diet to work http://www.aboutibs.org/site/treatment/low-fodmap-diet/guidelines So how can people feel better on the Low FODMAP diet when it takes 6 to 8 weeks to work and could destroy GOOD BACTERIA.

    • I appreciate your comment Greg and thanks for pointing out the research on the low FODMAPs diet.
      For my experience (and other people I know on the same diet), eating low FODMAPs food has improved my life 1000%. I used to eat, what I thought it was a healthy and balanced diet, but I was always sick, mainly with IBS-D and it took a 2 years of going around in circle, to finally have a doctor listening to me and get me to do some tests which, through an elimination process, gave me the diagnosis of IBS sufferer. I thank that day and the visit to the dietitian who has introduced the low FODMAP diet to me, within a week or so, I already started to feel better.
      I understand my ‘good’ bacteria are suffering, not just from the diet, but I’m suspecting also from way too many antibiotics taken in the past. For that I take specific IBS support probiotic, which seem to help. At the end the low FODMAP diet, has been created for IBS sufferers and should be done under the supervision of a registered dietitian. It consists of eliminating the high FODMAPs food first and then slowly reintroduce it, one by one, to see which one affects the individual. It may not work for everybody, but I am pretty sure that most IBS sufferers would give it a go, if that meant their symptoms would improve. Thanks for taking the time to post your comment and all the best.

  3. Thanks for putting this article together, you’ve taken some confusion out it for me! I think people should do their research before starting on any diet. What works for one person, might not work for another. I do miss pizza sometimes…

    • Thank you Jessica for your comment. You are right, before starting any diet, one should always consult a dietitian. That’s what I did. I miss pizza too (I’m Italian after all), but from time to time I buy a gluten free one, it’s better than nothing.

  4. An incisive post, noticed the author has quite considerable experience in this area. Look forward to reading further

    • I appreciate your comment Jennifer. Feel free to subscribe so that you can get notified of new posts and also for free low FODMAP Christmas recipes (once I have them ready).

  5. Wow, I’m learning so much from reading your blog. Thanks for the great information all gathered here together in one handy spot. It would have taken years for me to find all of this on my own, so this is a good thing you’re doing. Up until now I thought that Low FODMAP and gluten free were one and the same. Who knew? I’ll keep reading.

  6. I’m with Marie, I thought for sure that Low FODMAP diets were gluten free. It just goes to show how every individual person needs a diet to suit their needs. There is no one size fits all!

    • Thanks for your comment Jeffrey. I am so glad now that I have written this post to understand that low FODMAP is not gluten free 😀

  7. Wow I didn’t realize any of this! I had heard of Low FODMAP diets before but I had been misinformed that it was just another name for gluten free. And I didn’t know that most gluten free foods have lactose as an ingredient. Thanks for the great info!

    • Hi Marie, a lot of people don’t understand the difference between low FODMAP and gluten free, but people who suffer from IBS get to quickly learn that not all gluten free food is safe for them. It’s not just the lactose, it could be fructose and polyols too. I am not gluten intolerant, therefore the gluten doesn’t give me any symptoms, it’s the wheat, rye and barley type of grains, which make me sick.

  8. Excellent information, Thank you for all your hard work You are appreciated! Dee Fierro in Fresno, CA

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