We have breaking news. Over the weekend Monash University changed the FODMAP ratings of some key low FODMAP foods. This has caused tears, tantrums and a lot of confusion. We are here to help and have everything you need to know about the changes in FODMAP ratings for fresh tomatoes and red capsicum/bell pepper.
In this article we will cover:
- What FODMAP ratings have changed?
- Can you still eat red capsicum/bell pepper and fresh tomatoes?
- Do you need to change how much you eat?
- Why do FODMAP ratings change?
- What happens if you suddenly stop tolerating these foods?
- How is A Little Bit Yummy handling these updates
- Low FODMAP recipes you can still enjoy
What FODMAP ratings have changed?
Monash University has reclassified red capsicum/bell pepper and common tomatoes from eat freely foods to ones that needs good portion control. Aim to eat ½ common tomato or less per meal and less than ¼ of a red bell pepper/capsicum per meal (1). These become high FODMAP quickly so need good portion control.
Cherry tomato low FODMAP serving size has been decreased from 5 tomatoes to 3 tomatoes (1).
Fresh roma tomatoes can be enjoyed in 1 tomato serves and don’t contain moderate FODMAPs until over 3 tomatoes (1).
Fresh vine/truss tomatoes can be enjoyed in ½ tomato or less serving sizes (1).
Green capsicum/bell pepper is now low FODMAP in much higher serves and a serving size of 1 green capsicum/pepper should be within low FODMAP limits. This vegetable now contains fructans in larger serves instead of sorbitol (1).
Can you still eat red capsicum/bell pepper and fresh tomatoes in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet?
You definitely can. The overall FODMAP ratings for these foods have changed but they still have low FODMAP serving sizes that you can eat in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet. You just need to be mindful about how much you eat per meal.
Check out the portion size information above and check out the Monash University FODMAP Diet App for more detailed information.
Do you need to change how much you eat?
If you have been enjoying large serves of fresh tomatoes and red capsicum/bell pepper without issues then you don’t need to reduce your serving size. The low FODMAP diet should only be as strict as needed to help you reduce gut symptoms.
If you have been eating large serves of these foods and are still struggling with gut symptoms, then we would suggest reducing your serving size to the recommended amounts for 2 weeks to see if that makes a difference. Once you test your tolerance to excess fructose in the FODMAP reintroduction phase you can then make an educated choice about increasing your serve again based on your symptoms.
Why do FODMAP ratings change?
The FODMAP diet is continuously evolving which can be both exciting and scary. It’s important to understand that there are multiple factors that can affect the FODMAP ratings of different foods. We believe these factors are important when it comes to fruit and vegetables:
- Ripeness. As fruit and vegetables ripen they taste sweeter and some might increase in FODMAP levels.
- Where they are grown. Humidity, temperature and soil nutrients can all affect a plants molecular composition. This means no two tomatoes or peppers are going to be the same. This means the FODMAP levels in fruits and vegetables could differ between locations or countries (2). As more FODMAP testing centres are established around the world we might see more variation in FODMAP levels.
- How they are stored. Whether a vegetable/fruit is picked straight from the garden or stored in a chiller for several months before eating might impact FODMAP levels (2).
- How the plants are bred. We know that often vegetables and fruit that taste sweeter are preferred by consumers. This means over time the sweeter breeds/varieties of the vegetable/fruit are often selected for growing and this might change the FODMAP content over time (2).
As you can see there are a variety of factors can influence the FODMAP ratings of a food. Regular testing of foods can help us stay up-to-date.
What happens if you hear this news and then stop tolerating these foods?
If you’ve previously been eating fresh tomatoes and red capsicum/bell pepper with minimal symptoms and things suddenly change when you hear this news – then you might have a gullible gut.
What do we mean by this?
Well, the connection between your brain and your gut can be really strong. If your brain starts telling your gut that you’re likely to react to a certain food then this can actually trigger a reaction and cause gut symptoms. Essentially your brain has talked your gut into symptoms.
If this is a pattern you recognise then that’s okay. It means it’s time to look at some additional strategies to help you manage your symptoms and calm down the communication pathway between your brain and gut.
These strategies could include daily mindfulness, gut-based hypnotherapy (we’d recommend looking at the Nerva app), yoga, or activities that help you focus on other things instead of getting caught up in your thoughts (this might be colouring, reading a book, or finding a hobby you love).
How is A Little Bit Yummy handling the FODMAP updates?
We are busy making updates to our recipes and resources. Many of our recipes need minor adjustments to bring them in line with these new recommendations. Our dietitian team are also double checking any affected recipe to make sure there isn’t FODMAP stacking based on the new information.
The majority of our free recipes and blog articles have already been updated and over the next week we’ll update our premium recipes, downloadable handouts and online courses in our online Recipe Club and Wellness Club.
We want you to eat with confidence so we’ll make sure our updates are done as soon as possible.
Low FODMAP recipes you can still enjoy
We have a range of recipes including fresh tomatoes and red capsicum/bell pepper that you can enjoy on the first phase of the low FODMAP diet.
Although changes in FODMAP ratings can feel scary it’s important to remember that there are still lots of low FODMAP foods that you can enjoy. Fresh tomatoes and red capsicum/bell pepper don’t need to be removed from your diet, instead focus on enjoying a smaller serving size. Also remember that the low FODMAP diet isn’t for life and you will be able to relax your diet once you’ve gone through the reintroduction phase.
1. Monash University. Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App. 2022-March-5. Sourced from: https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/get-the-app/
2. Collins, L. Retested Foods (just in time for Aussie Summer!) – Strawberries & Grapes. Monash University FODMAP Blog. 14 December 2021. Retrieved from: https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/retested-foods-just-in-time-for-aussie-summer-strawberries-grapes/