2020’s TOP Healthy and Unhealthy Diets and Are They FODMAP Friendly?

Every year the worst and best diets are ranked based on effectiveness for weight loss, healthfulness, safety and other important factors in diet ease and use.

But most of you on a FODMAP friendly diet are already suffering from conditions like colitis, IBS or other stomach issues. So you follow the FODMAP diet. It essentially is a science based/proven diet that takes the sugar’s that are in your body and follows how they break down in your body. Foods that break down too quickly or don’t absorb in your colon cause stomach upset. But sometimes following the FODMAP can be tough. It’s hard enough to remember what you can and can’t have on your FODMAP friendly list. I’m years into the FODMAP diet and STILL can’t remember everything. And to top it off, some of the “low” FODMAP things I’ve found I can’t have.

What are the best FODMAP friendly lists to find?

My favorite lists to go off of are from the Kresser Institute. I don’t really like the Monash, even though it’s the most popular and widely distributed. Some of the things that the Monash says are appropriate to have a lot of people who follow the FODMAP diet say aren’t. It was actually the Monash that was the result of one of my ER visits. I thought I could have it, and once I went off Kresser’s list, found I couldn’t. It hasn’t been an issue since.

Why are you looking for a modified FODMAP diet?

Maybe you are looking for a healthier diet to start the new year, or want to lose weight. Can these best and worst diets adapt to the FODMAP diet?

So what are the best and worst modified FODMAP diets?

For this Thursday’s Thoughts I’ve ranked the top 3 best and worst diets for the new year based on the US News Report and let you know if they are able to be FODMAP friendly too. In addition, I know that starting anything new has to be easy too, especially if you already spend a good portion of your day trying to figure out if you can or can’t eat something so I’ve provided links to places you can find meal plans to get you started too. (And not just ones that you have to purchase).

How did US News rank the diets?

They had specific categories: prepared diets, healthiest overall, meal plans, and worst diets. We took the top 3 of each category and ranked them.

What Does YOUR List Include?

We know that following the FODMAP diet already brings some difficulty. And I HATE the word DIET with FODMAP. The FODMAP is science based, has good long term studies backing it, and continues to be studied. Our list includes the healthiest and worst diets, lets you know if there are FODMAP friendly options, gives you lists of foods you can have on that diet and then gives you links to some recipes you can look through that are specific to that diet and FODMAP so you can decide if there will be enough food and recipes for you to try that you will like.

A lot of these diets require modifications. What do you suggest to make modifications easier?

I promise if you’re new to this and trying to figure out your triggers, it feels daunting. But as you reintroduce foods it gets easier to cook and eliminate what you can’t eat. I also fell across this site recently, Fody Foods. It offers snack bars, spices, dressings, BBQ sauce, ketchup and marinara sauce that is all FODMAP friendly. This helps a TON when you are trying to modify recipes to just be able to easily sub in your marinara sauce or spice mix for recipes.

BEST DIETS OVERALL

Mediterranean Diet

Research and statistics show that those who live in the area by the Mediterranean sea live the longest and healthiest lives. Eating a diet rich in diverse foods and flavors while good fro your heart and overall health is one of the bonuses of this diet.

This is also a fantastic diet for those on a FODMAP diet. It is easy to incorporate, and only needs some simple tweaks to recipes to make it FODMAP friendly.

FODMAP Friendly Options: Yes, but may require omitting certain fruits, dairy, or vegetables.

Links:

Incorporating a Mediterranean Diet and FODMAP by Monash

Low FODMAP Mediterranean Diet by Funky Junk Interiors

Gluten Free Mediterranean Recipes (FODMAP Friendly) by E.A. Stewart

Dash Diet

The Dash Diet isn’t really a diet, but a modification of the Mediterranean Diet. It’s a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy. It also includes mostly whole grains; lean meats, fish and poultry; nuts and beans. It was originally designed to lower blood pressure, not as a weight loss tool but many have seen some great benefits from it as an overall healthy eating tool.

Following the Dash diet would be similar to the mediterranean in that substitutions would need to be made for some of the fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts the diet includes.

FODMAP Friendly Options: Yes, but very, very limited. It was difficult to easily find lists, recipes, etc that met the Dash and FODMAP friendly lists. Following the more accessible Mediterranean Diet would be more friendly for those on the FODMAP.

Links:

No strong links available at this time. Will continue to look for some.

Flexitarian Diet

The flexitarian diet is a nice, easy flexible vegetarian diet. You eat a vegetarian diet but don’t flinch when the urge to eat a steak or hamburger hits. It is still a great balanced diet as you are eating more of a plant based diet but add in animal based proteins on occasion.

FODMAP Friendly Options: Yes, but could be difficult as many vegetarian diets have a lot of beans included in recipes. Substitutions will often have to be made.

Low FODMAP list for Vegans/Vegetarians by The Vegan RD

Plant Based Diet Recipes by Sharon Palmer

Flexitarian FODMAP Recipes by E.A. Stewart

COMMERICIAL DIETS

WW (Weight Watchers)

Weight Watchers has long been around and is one of the oldest most popular diets. With coaching, in person training and a flexible diet, Weight Watchers is one of the most successful commercial diets on the market.

It can be thought that with the flexibility of the diet would come the ease of being on a FODMAP diet as well. There are some pros and cons. Yes, that is true that there is more ease of being able to eat what fits into my diet. However, I struggled with a lot of the recommended recipes. I was often needing to modify recipes heavily or finding a lot of food suggestions didn’t fit into what I could eat.

FODMAP Friendly Options: Yes, but you will need to check a lot of the recipes as they aren’t a lot of FODMAP friendly options and you will need to modify the suggested meal plans and recipes offered on the site.

Links:

Healthy Weight Watchers Foods for People With IBS by Simple Nourished Living

Weight Watchers and IBS Story by Weight Watchers

Jenny Craig

Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are kind of synonymous of each other. Jenny Craig came about to make dieting easier. No points counting, just easy meal plans and products to make dieting simple for you. That’s probably why it made US News #2 spot. Now, Jenny Craig offers a DNA test that helps figure out what foods are best for your DNA.

But while easier, is it FODMAP friendly? I instantly thought “no.”

Typically these plans are more expensive. I went to the website and instantly ruled out most of the plans. The only plan that might work on the Jenny Craig plan would be the reduced carb plan, but even then you would need to see an ingredient list and have the option of eliminating certain meals that aren’t FODMAP friendly. In addition, the website states that Jenny Craig is not food for those who have celiac as many of their products contain gluten.

But….there are some GREAT meal delivery services that offer FODMAP friendly meals now so if you are looking for ease and convienence, head to some of our links!

Links:

Modify Health: We LOVE this meal plan. It offers the ease and convienence for those of you who are new to the FODMAP world and trying to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. Meal plans include the Get Better and Stay Better plan. The Get Better plan offers meals that are for the beginning stages of the FODMAP plan when you are trying to figure out what is irritating your stomach and the Stay Better plan offers you the ability to pick your meal plans with the foods that you know won’t irritate your stomach. You also have access to a dietitian so if you are looking to loose weight you can consult with them on your plan.

Epicured: Epicured delivers prepared meals nationwide to your doorstep. All are FODMAP friendly, there are a lot of varieties to choose from (from classic mac n’ cheese to flavors from around the world) and you can even order ala carte items like just BBQ chicken. While not solely dedicated to weight loss, the meals are portion controlled and offer enough variety to not get you bored of healthy eating.

FODMAP Meal Plans by PlateJoy : If having pre paid meals is too expensive, you can also do your own meal planning. Simply use this site to make your list the week before, cook your meats and get everything dished into portion control sizes for the week.

WORST DIETS

Paleo

The diet of the caveman is supposed to ward off diseases that caveman never suffered from. The diet takes out refined and processed foods and has you eating red meat, fish, poultry and vegetables. All things that are great for you. But is a Paleo diet FODMAP friendly? The jury is still out. US News ranked it among the worst diets. While you can find lot’s of FODMAP friendly Paleo recipes, overall it probably isn’t recommended. A lot of Paleo recipes you find including those for Paleo “bread” all include nut flours, especially almond flours–something that needs to be in low moderation for FODMAP diets. So it really is hard to stay on a Paleo diet long term if you are on a FODMAP diet unless you can really devote yourself to cooking from scratch and have the time to look through and adapt recipes and labels. Most of us don’t.

FODMAP Friendly Options: Yes, but not recommended for long term sustainability due to the time needed to make recipes FODMAP friendly. A lot of packaged items contain high FODMAP foods, and adaptation is necessary in a lot of Paleo recipes containing Paleo flours.

Links:

Paleo FODMAP approved foods list by Kresser Institute

Paleo FODMAP approved recipes by Fun without FODMAPS

Whole30

Whole30 was a widely popular diet several years ago. A coworker of mine just did this one recently. Basically you omit certain foods from your diet for 30 days. By the end of the month, you don’t crave those foods anymore, loose weight and reset your eating. This diet has been widely questionable with a lot of people and most people initially post good results, but the sustainability of the diet over long term is where US News draws the line. Not too many people do well on this long term. It also doesn’t make a whole lot of sense with the FODMAP plan. Whole30 and the FODMAP diet don’t really go together. When I started the FODMAP, I was so sick. I was already omitting so many foods. It took almost a year ON the FODMAP to slowly reintroduce foods back into my body to make sure there weren’t any issues that I wouldn’t want to go back OFF again. The issue with the compatability of FODMAP and Whole30 isn’t OMITTING, it’s FINDING foods, recipes, etc that aren’t going to irritate your stomach all the time anymore. But, Whole30 does offer some healthier eating options and may help reset some of your unhealthier eating habits.

FODMAP Friendly Options: Yes. But not recommended due to the difficulty of following the two plans.

Links:

Whole30 FODMAP shopping list by Whole30.com

Whole30 FODMAP Recipes by The Roasted Root

Whole30 and FODMAP diet plan tips by Casa de Sante

Dukan & Keto

The Dukan Diet is a four phase program that is low carb and high protein where the keto diet is another low carb diet that places your body into a state of ketosis to burn weight. NO long term studies have been done on either of these diets.

The Dukan diet is not FODMAP friendly due to the extreme nature of the diet. A lot of information is also not readily available to help those following the FODMAP diet to also follow the Dukan diet. Your options at the time of this writing are very limited.

The keto diet has also come under attack lately. For me, living with an ex husband who had Type 1 diabetes, ketosis=bad. Ketones in the urine? Not good. And now there is a diet that says it’s good? I’ve NEVER been sold on this diet from the beginning and the lack of really good science on it coupled with some solid studies including long term ones has my researcher mind running away. FAST. But many have said that it is a great kick start diet and one that has really helped aide in weight loss. Symptoms of starting this diet may include the “Keto Flu.” If you’re already sick of being sick all the time, this may not be a good diet fit. But my sister says she has loved it, feels great but is only using it to jump start her diet so for short term I would say it is probably an okay short term diet.

Dukan Diet FODMAP Friendly Options: Yes, but extremely limited during certain phases of the diet.

Keto Diet FODMAP friendly Options: Yes

Links to Dukan Diet:

100 Allowed Foods on the Dukan Diet by DukanDiet.com (Please note that of the 100 allowed foods, you cannot have ANY of the dairy items he lists as allowed or many of the vegetarian proteins. As the diet goes on he allows 4tbsp/week of wheat gluten–also not on the FODMAP).

25 Low FODMAP Diet Dinner Recipes by My Dukan Diary

Links to Keto Diet:

Low FODMAP Keto Food List by Case de Sante

18 Low FODMAP Keto Meals by Healthful Pursuit

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting has exploded over the past year. It’s a diet that involves limiting times for eating. Those who participate in intermittent fasting may only eat from 12pm-8pm and fast the rest of the time. While good, it’s not yet known if it is the best for those on a FODMAP or who have IBS or other stomach issues. While some have seen success on the intermittent fasting diet, the Gastro Center of New Jersey states this, ” success with intermittent fasting isn’t guaranteed. Depending on your type of IBS, your stomach might respond negatively to a lack of food. Intermittent fasting may not be useful for patients whose symptoms occur as a response to an empty stomach.”

Intermittent Fasting and IBS–Is it Good For You and Recommendations by Fodmap Everyday

Tips for Intermittent Fasting and IBS by Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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