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Why Are Apples Not Low in FODMAP?

Apples are not FODMAP friendly for two categories

Apples are not FODMAP-friendly for everyone because of monosaccharides. The two main FODMAP categories found in apples are fructose and sorbitol. If you are sensitive to either of these two, avoid apples.

Are apples good for you? Yes, but you might not want to eat apples if you have specific FODMAP sensitivities.

I credit the screenshots and some information in this post to the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet app. I have personally used this app to help with an elimination diet. I recommend the app to anyone interested in monitoring their FODMAPs.

Understanding FODMAP Foods

A FODMAP diet involves avoiding certain foods that cause digestive symptoms. High-FODMAP foods include a variety of common items like kidney beans, baked beans, and many varieties of apples. These foods contain chains of fructose sugars.

These sugars can lead to digestive discomfort for those with functional gut disorders. A low-FODMAP diet aims to reduce these symptoms. It does this by eliminating high-FODMAP foods during an initial phase. It is then followed by a reintroduction phase to identify specific trigger foods.

What Does FODMAP Stand For?

Monash University FODMAP App

FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols).

What are FODMAPs, and what Effect do they Have?

FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in various foods and beverages. These compounds are known to be fermentable and can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine. As a result, they can pass into the colon, fermented by gut bacteria, producing gas and other byproducts.

For individuals with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other digestive sensitivities, consuming high-FODMAP foods can trigger digestive symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

Therefore, a low-FODMAP diet is often recommended as a dietary approach to manage these symptoms.

Oligosaccharides: These include fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) found in foods like wheat, onions, garlic, and legumes.

Disaccharides: Lactose is a common disaccharide found in dairy products like milk, yogurt, and some soft cheeses.

Monosaccharides: Fructose is a monosaccharide found in apples, pears, and honey.

Polyols: These are sugar alcohols found in some fruits (e.g., apples, cherries, peaches), certain vegetables (e.g., cauliflower, mushrooms), and sugar substitutes like sorbitol and mannitol.

Why are Apples Not Low in FODMAP?

Apples are high in FODMAPs due to their excess fructose content. This means that for people on a low-FODMAP diet, apples can trigger digestive issues. This includes apple products like apple juice and apple sauce. All should be avoided during the elimination phase.

Different varieties of apples have varying levels of FODMAPs. But generally, they should be avoided for those sensitive to FODMAPs. Apples may be a hidden ingredient in some foods. Check packaging labels for the content of foods. Also, consult FODMAP food lists for similar foods so you can manage your digestive health.

Monash University FODMAP App

Fructose: Apples contain a lot of fructose, a natural sugar in fruits. Some people have difficulty digesting excess fructose, leading to symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal discomfort.

When the fructose content in a food item is higher than glucose, it can be more likely to cause digestive issues. Apples have a higher fructose-to-glucose ratio, making them problematic for individuals with fructose malabsorption or sensitivity.

Sorbitol: Sorbitol is classified as a polyol, one of the FODMAP categories. Apples contain sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol. Sorbitol is poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can draw water into the bowel, potentially causing diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, especially when consumed in large amounts.

Oligosaccharides: Apples contain fructans, which are a type of oligosaccharide. Oligosaccharides can be problematic for people with IBS because they are fermented by gut bacteria, leading to gas production and bloating.

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to matter if apples are peeled, unpeeled, turned into juice, dried, or made into sauce, if you are sensitive to fructose or sorbitol apples should stay off your plate.

Alternative FODMAP-Friendly Options

For those needing FODMAP-friendly options, there are plenty of alternatives to enjoy a balanced diet. Lactose-free milk, almond milk, and rice milk are suitable substitutes for dairy. For those who miss apples, low-FODMAP fruits like passion fruit and pine nuts can be good alternatives. Using a comprehensive database like the Monash University FODMAP app can help identify safe foods and manage a wide range of meals without causing uncomfortable symptoms.

What can you swap apples for?

If you are sensitive to these FODMAPs, you don’t need to give up all fruit.

  • Bananas: Unripe bananas are low in FODMAPs and can be well-tolerated. As bananas ripen, their FODMAP content may increase, so stick to firmer, greenish bananas.

  • Berries: Many berries are considered low in FODMAPs, including strawberries (in moderation), blueberries, and raspberries (in moderation).

  • Cantaloupe/rockmelon

  • Kiwifruit

  • Pineapple

  • Oranges (in moderation)

  • Grapes

  • Papaya

  • Dragon fruit

Managing Digestive Health

Following a low-FODMAP diet can significantly improve the quality of life for people with gastrointestinal disorders. It's essential to understand the FODMAP content of foods and avoid high-FODMAP items like apples. Incorporating FODMAP-friendly foods and consulting with a healthcare professional can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome and reduce digestive discomfort. This approach ensures a nutritious and balanced diet while managing digestive health effectively.

Alternative FODMAP-Friendly Options

For those needing FODMAP-friendly options, there are plenty of foods you can enjoy while having a balanced diet. Using a comprehensive database like the Monash University FODMAP app can help identify 'safe' foods. The database is useful for managing a wide range of meals so you can avoid uncomfortable symptoms.

Why are Apples Not low in FODMAP Summary

Apples are not low in some FODMAPs, namely fructose and sorbitol. If you have sensitivities to these specific FODMAPs, you could experience issues when you consume them. If you are not sensitive to these FODMAPs, then apples will be okay to eat.

To read more on FODMAP :

Happy reading, there will be more coming on this topic soon.


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