January 18th, 2017

Trend Alert: Low FODMAP Eating

Move over Gluten Free products, low FODMAP foods are sneaking their stake into the supermarket real estate.


Blake Lively is doing it, and our Fox News Health article on the topic was just featured at the top of SmartBrief’s daily newsletter for Health and Wellness Professionals, SmartBrief for Nutritionists (1/17/17). Newsweek has even referred to it as “the next healthy diet craze,” noting that “corporate food giants are pouncing on this burgeoning food trend” in their article November 2016 article on it. 

The “it” we’re referring to here is low FODMAP eating, and it is clearly on the upswing to #TRENDING. But, what is a FODMAP? Seriously, FODMAPWTF?! 

FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates that are potentially difficult for people to digest. Following a low FODMAP eating plan has gained popularity and recognition recently as it has been shown with great clinical significance to appease IBS symptoms. In fact, a 2014 Australian clinical trial published in the Journal of Gastroenterology has shown that following a low FODMAP diet may reduce IBS symptoms by as much as 50%!

It’s fair to assume the food industry will respond to this burgeoning trend, and we’ll soon see an influx of low FODMAP products on the marketplace. According to Newsweek’s article, How A Low-FODMAP Diet Can Help The Millions Tortured By Irritable Bowl Syndrome, the low FODMAP trend will be similar to the gluten-free phenomenon. The food industry positioned gluten-free as “simply a healthier way to eat,” and people, well, ate it up (pun intended). Newsweek quotes Christine Couvelier, president of Culinary Concierge (a company that tracks global food trends),

“The challenge…will be for companies to translate the complex details of the diet into something that is easy to understand.”

We attempt to make the concept of low FODMAP eating more digestible for you to understand here and here (pun intended here, too – who said talking about IBS couldn’t be fun?!)

To further dissect this food trend, our own Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD spoke with Dr. Rachel Pauls, founder of Rachel Pauls Food, about low-FODMAP eating plans and her career. Dr. Pauls’s work in the field has led to the first known lab test in North America capable of analyzing food for FODMAP content and Rachel Pauls Food is a line of low-FODMAP products, created with the intention of helping people more easily manage their digestive issues.  

Check out Tanya’s interview with Dr. Rachel Pauls here: 

TZ: You are a pelvic surgeon; how does that relate to working with the low-FODMAP diet?

RP: I have IBS and many of my patients have IBS. So I’ve experienced the enormous benefits of low-FODMAP food both personally and professionally. It can change a life. After years of dealing with awful IBS symptoms, low-FODMAP food has made me and many of my patients feel healthy and energetic again.

The difficult part of a low-FODMAP diet can be finding convenient and great-tasting food. But I knew it didn’t have to be that way! I was confident I could come up with a yummy, healthy, low-FODMAP energy bar for everyone to enjoy and so after spending some time tinkering with different recipes in my kitchen, delicious, low-FODMAP Happy Bars were born!

TZ: What is a low-FODMAP diet?

RP: FODMAP is an acronym for certain carbohydrates commonly found in food. Unlike some other carbohydrates, FODMAPs are tricky to digest, so they stick around longer. As a result, they can pull too much or too little water into the gut, or be fermented by gut bacteria. For some people, this can trigger IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramping, constipation and/or diarrhea. Since eating FODMAPs triggers the symptoms, a low-FODMAP food plan often makes people feel much happier and healthier! For more information about FODMAPs, you can visit our website at www.rachelpaulsfood.com.

TZ: What conditions does a low-FODMAP diet help with or treat?

RP: A low-FODMAP diet is generally considered a very effective treatment for IBS and may be effective for other digestive disorders. It has definitely worked for me! However, before switching to a low-FODMAP diet, you should consult with a healthcare professional, such as your doctor or dietitian.

TZ: How do you determine what foods are low FODMAP?

RP: We have a laboratory test that determines the FODMAP content of food. Our laboratory verifies all Happy Bars are low FODMAP. When you see the Dr. Rachel Pauls Low-FODMAP Seal of Approval, it means the product has been scientifically analyzed and verified as low FODMAP and contains less than 0.5 grams of total FODMAPs per serving.

TZ: Is it difficult to find low-FODMAP snacks?

RP: It used to be, but now we have delicious, natural and portable Happy Bars! Happy Bars come in four delectable flavors: Chocolate Chip Delight, Orange Chocolate Ecstasy, Peanut Chocolate Euphoria and Peanut Maple Pleasure. Each delicious Happy Bar is designed to be nutritious and contains:

  • Simple, all-natural ingredients
  • 8 to 10 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 210 to 215 calories
  • Less than 0.5 grams of total FODMAPs per serving
  • No preservatives

Happy Bars can be purchased online with free shipping at www.rachelpaulsfood.com.

TZ: The gluten-free market exploded, in part because of self-diagnosis. It’s been predicted that the low FODMAP trend will follow suit. How do you feel about gluten-free/self-diagnosis trend?  

RP: If you are having digestive issues, you should consult with your doctor or dietician to determine the best course of action.

TZ: How does a low-FODMAP diet compare with some medications for the treatment of conditions such as IBS?

RP: Recent research indicates that the low-FODMAP diet is generally more effective in relieving IBS symptoms than many common IBS medications. However, before switching to a low-FODMAP diet or treating your IBS in any manner, you should consult with your doctor.

TZ: Should everyone be following low-FODMAP or just people with IBS?

RP: The benefits of a low-FODMAP diet may extend to other digestive disorders. However, if you are having digestive issues you should consult with your doctor or dietician to determine the best course of action. Ask them about a low-FODMAP diet and if it is right for you.”

TZ: What’s next for Rachel Pauls Food?

RP: 2017 will be an exciting year!  We plan to add new flavors to the Happy Bar family. We are also expanding into several different convenience-food categories. Our team is working to bring new yummy low-FODMAP products to market and includes people involved in recipe development, manufacturing, marketing, order fulfillment and laboratory analysis.

TZ: Do any specific career highlights or success stories bring a smile to your face?

RP: The response to Happy Bars has been enormously gratifying. It makes me smile and brings tears to my eyes. Everything has exceeded our wildest expectations. Happy Bars are helping people live happier and healthier lives. One customer told us they are like manna from heaven. You really can’t ask for a bigger compliment. Everybody seems to love them. The feedback has made our work tremendously rewarding.