Gluten or FODMAP? Bread or Onion, What’s Worse?

If you think you’re sensitive to gluten, think again, you may not be. Here’s why:

Foods that are high in gluten are also high in FODMAPs.

FODMAPs are forms of carbohydrate  sugars which are indigestable in the human digestive tract.  FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligo-saccharides, Di-saccharides, Mono-saccharides and Polyols.

A recent ‘double blind’ research paper showed that people were actually reacting to the FODMAP’s and not to the gluten when they experienced gastrointestinal discomfort.

So, if you thought you were sensitive to gluten and haven’t tested positive for celiac disease (wheat sensitivity), you might actually be sensitive to FODMAP’s.

Yes, grains do have high levels of gluten but they aslo have high FODMAP’s and so do many other food staples in our everyday diet.  Those include common foods such as onions, garlic, asparagus, cauliflower, most beans and many other surprises.

For a complete list of foods that are high in FODMAP’s see here.

As a physical therapist and homeopath treating patients with aggravating factors and chronic conditions, I will often look at a persons diet to uncover and remove likely obstacles to full recovery.

If you’re struggling with digestive issues and haven’t been able to pinpoint the source of the problem, schedule a visit and get the help you need.

The research, published in Gastroenterology Volume 154, Issue 3, February 2018  explored the question of why some people complain of Gluten intolerance and yet do not test positive for Celiac disease.  The double-blind research assessed the gastrointestinal symptoms of participants to high FODMAP food compared to high Gluten food and also a What was shown is that the greatest reactions were to the high FODMAP food.


It’s important to note that grains containing Gluten are also high in FODMAP’s but the very useful information is that there are many other foods than grains that are high FODMAP foods.

So,  if you are reacting to wheat and other grains it is likely you are also sensitive to FODMAP’s in those grains and most likely other high FODMAP foods too. These might include beans, cauliflower, cashews and goji berries.

* High FODMAP food (things to avoid / reduce)Low FODMAP food (good to eat food)
Vegetables and Legumes If quantities are given these are the highest amount allowed
Garlic – avoid entirely if possibleFermented cabbage e.g. sauerkrautVegetables and Legumes
Includes garlic salt, garlic powderHaricot beansAlfalfaLettuce:
Onions – avoid entirely if possibleKidney beansBamboo shootsButter lettuce
Includes onion powder, small pickled onions Try Asafoetida powder or garlic oil to substituteLima beansBean sproutsIceberg lettuce
ArtichokeLeek bulbBeetroot, canned and pickledRadicchio lettuce
AsparagusMange ToutBok choy / pak choiRed coral lettuce
Baked beansMixed vegetablesBroccoli, whole – 1 cupRocket lettuce
Bananas, ripeMung beansBroccoli, heads only – 1 cupRomaine/Cos lettuce
Beetroot, freshMushroomsBroccoli, stalks only – 1/2 cupMarrow
Black beansPeas, sugar snapBrussels sprouts – 1 serving of 2 sproutsOkra
Black eyed peasPickled vegetablesButternut squash – 1/4 cupOlives
Broad beansRed kidney beansCabbage, common and red up to 1 cupParsnip
Butter beansSavoy CabbageCallalooPeas, snow – 5 pods
CassavaSoy beans / soya beansCarrotsPickled gherkins
CauliflowerSplit peasCeleriacPickled onions, large
Celery – greater than 5cm of stalkScallions / spring onions (bulb / white part)Celery – less than 5cm of stalkPotato
ChokoShallotsChicory leavesPumpkin
FalafelTaroChick peas – 1/4 cupPumpkin, canned – 1/4 cup, 2.2 oz
Chilli – if tolerableRadish
Fruit – fruits can contain high fructoseChivesRed peppers / red bell pepper / red capsicum
ApplesMangoCho cho – 1/2 cup dicedScallions / spring onions (green part)
ApricotsNectarinesChoy sumSeaweed / nori
AvocadoPaw paw, driedCollard greensSilverbeet / chard
BlackberriesPeachesCorn / sweet corn – if tolerable and only in small amounts – 1/2 cobSpaghetti squash
BlackcurrantsPearsCourgetteSpinach, baby
CherriesPineapple, driedEggplant / aubergineSun-dried tomatoes – 4 pieces
Custard applePomegranateGreen beansSwiss chard
DatesPrunesGreen pepper / green bell pepper / green capsicumSweet potato – 1/2 cup
FeijoaRaisinsGingerTomato – canned, cherry, common, roma
FigsSea buckthornsKaleTurnip
Goji berriesSultanasKarelaWater chestnuts
GrapefruitTamarilloLeek leavesYam
Guava, unripeTinned fruit in apple / pear juiceLentils – in small amountsZucchini
Meats, Poultry and Meat SubstitutesAckeeLemon including lemon juice
ChorizoBananas, unripeLime including lime juice
Cereals, Grains, Breads, Biscuits, Pasta, Nuts and CakesBreadfruitPassion fruit
Wheat containing products such as (be sure to check labels):Bran cerealsCarambolaPaw paw
Biscuits including chocolate chip biscuitsBread:CantaloupePapaya
Bread, wheat – over 1 sliceGranary breadCranberry – 1 tbspPineapple
BreadcrumbsMultigrain breadClementinePlantain, peeled
CakesNaanDragon fruitRaspberry
Cereal bar, wheat basedOatmeal breadLingonberriesRhubarb
CroissantsPumpernickel breadGrapesStrawberry
CrumpetsRotiGuava, ripeTamarind
Egg noodlesSourdough with kamutHoneydew and Galia melonsTangelo
PastriesCous cous
Pasta, wheat over 1/2 cup cookedEinkorn flourMeats, Poultry and Meat SubstitutesFish and Seafood
Udon noodlesFreekehBeefCanned tuna
Wheat branGnocchiChickenFresh fish e.g.
Wheat cerealsGranola barKangarooCod
Wheat flourMuesli cerealLambHaddock
Wheat noodlesMuesli barPorkPlaice
Wheat rollsPistachiosProsciuttoSalmon
WheatgermRyeQuorn, minceTrout
Almond mealRye crispbreadTurkeyTuna
Amaranth flourSemolinaCold cuts / deli meat / cold meats such as ham and turkey breastSeafood (ensuring nothing else is added) e.g.
Barley including flourSpelt flourProcessed meat – check ingredientsCrab
Condiments, Dips, Sweets, Sweeteners and SpreadsMussels
AgaveRelish / vegetable pickleOysters
Caviar dipStock cubesPrawns
FructoseSugar free sweets containing polyols – usually ending in -ol or isomaltShrimp
Fruit barSweeteners: 
Gravy, if it contains onionInulinCereals, Grains, Breads, Biscuits, Pasta, Nuts and Cakes
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)IsomaltWheat free breadsOatcakes
Hummus / houmousMaltitolGluten free breadsPeanuts
HoneyMannitolBread:Pecans – max of 15
Jam, mixed berriesSorbitolCorn breadPine nuts – max of 15
Jam, strawberry, if contains HFCSXylitolOat breadPolenta
MolassesTahini pasteRice breadPopcorn
Pesto sauceTzatziki dipSpelt sourdough breadPorridge and oat based cereals
Quince pastePotato flour breadPotato flour
Wheat free or gluten free pastaPretzels
Prebiotic FoodsBread, wheat – 1 sliceQuinoa
The follow items may be hiding in yoghurts, snack bars etc:InulinAlmonds – max of 15Pasta, wheat – up to 1/2 cup cooked
FOS – fructooligosaccharidesOligofructoseBiscuit, savouryRice:
Biscuit, shortbread – 1 onlyBasmati rice
Drinks and Protein PowdersBrazil nutsBrown rice
Beer – if drinking more than one bottleSoy milk made with soy beans – commonly found in USABulgur / bourghal – 1/4 cup cooked, 44g servingRice noodles
Coconut waterSports drinksBuckwheatWhite rice
Cordial, apple and raspberry with 50-100% real juiceTea:Buckwheat flourRice bran
Cordial, orange with 25-50% real juiceBlack tea with added soy milkBuckwheat noodlesRice cakes
Fruit and herbal teas with apple addedChai tea, strongBrown rice / whole grain riceRice crackers
Fruit juices in large quantitiesDandelion tea, strongChestnutsRice flakes
Fruit juices made of apple, pear, mangoFennel teaChips, plain / potato crisps, plainRice flour
KombuchaChamomile teaCornflour / maizeRice Krispies
Malted chocolate flavored drinkHerbal tea, strongCrispbreadSeeds:
Orange juice in quantities over 100mlOolong teaCorncakesChia seeds
Quinoa milkWine – if drinking more than one glassCornflakes – 1/2 cupEgusi seeds
RumWhey protein, concentrate unless lactose freeCoconut – milk, cream, fleshPoppy seeds
Sodas containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)Whey protein, hydrolyzed unless lactose freeCorn tortillas, 3 tortillasPumpkin seeds
Crackers, plainSesame seeds
Dairy FoodsHazelnuts – max of 15Sunflower seeds
ButtermilkKefirMacadamia nutsStarch, maize, potato and tapioca
Cheese, creamMilk:MilletSorghum
Cheese, HalmoumiCow milkMixed nutsTortilla chips / corn chips
Cheese, ricottaGoat milkOatmeal, 1/2 cupWalnuts
CreamEvaporated milkOats
CustardSheep’s milk
GelatoSour creamCondiments, Dips, Sweets, Sweeteners and Spreads
Ice creamYoghurtAspartameOyster sauce
Almond butterPesto sauce – less than 1 tbsp
Cooking ingredientsBarbecue sauce – check label carefullyPeanut butter
Carob powderCapers in vinegarRice malt syrup
Capers, saltedSaccharine
Chocolate:Shrimp paste
Dark chocolateSoy sauce
Milk chocolate – 3 squaresStevia
White chocolate – 3 squaresSweet and sour sauce
Chutney, 1 tablespoonSucralose
Fish sauceSugar – also called sucrose
Golden syrupTamarind paste
GlucoseTomato sauce (outside USA) – 2 sachets, 13g
Jam / jelly, strawberryVegemite
Ketchup (USA) – 1 sachetVinegars:
Maple syrupApple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp
MarmaladeBalsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp
MarmiteRice wine vinegar
Mayonnaise – ensuring no garlic or onion in ingredientsWasabi
Miso pasteWorcestershire sauce – has onion and garlic but very low
Drinks and Protein Powders
Alcohol – is an irritant to the gut, limited intake advised:Drinking chocolate powder
Beer – limited to one drinkFruit juice, 125ml and safe fruits only
Clear spirits such as VodkaKvass
GinLemonade – in low quantities
WhiskeyProtein powders:
Wine – limited to one drinkEgg protein
Coffee:Pea protein – up to 20g
Espresso coffee, regular or decaffeinated, blackRice protein
Espresso coffee, regular or decaffeinated, with up to 250ml lactose free milkSacha Inchi protein
Instant coffee, regular or decaffeinated, blackWhey protein isolate
Instant coffee, regular or decaffeinated, with up to 250ml lactose free milkSoya milk made with soy protein
Black tea, weak e.g. PG TipsGreen tea
Chai tea, weakPeppermint tea
Fruit and herbal tea, weak – ensure no apple addedWhite tea
Dairy Foods and Eggs
BrieGoat / chevre
CottageRicotta – 2 tablespoons
FetaSwiss cheese
Dairy free chocolate pudding
Almond milkMacadamia milk
Hemp milkOat milk – 30 ml, enough for cereal
Lactose free milkRice milk – upto 200ml per sitting
Soy protein (avoid soya beans)
Tofu – drained and firm varieties
Whipped cream
Coconut yoghurtLactose free yoghurt
Greek yoghurt, in small amountsGoats yoghurt
Cooking ingredients, Herbs and Spices
Herbs: Basil, Bay leaves, Cilantro, Coriander, Curry leaves, Fenugreek, Gotukala, Lemongrass, Mint, Oregano, Pandan, Parsley, Rampa, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon, ThymeCocoa powder
Spices: All spice, Black pepper, Cardamon, Chilli powder (check ingredients, sometimes has garlic added), Cinnamon, Cloves, Cumin, Curry powder, Fennel seeds, Five spice, Goraka, Mustard seeds, Nutmeg, Paprika, Saffron, Star anise, TurmericCream, 1/2 cup
Oils: Avocado oil, Canola oil, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Peanut oil, Rice bran oil, Sesame oil, Soybean oil, Sunflower oil, Vegetable oilGelatine
Garlic infused oilGhee
Onion infused oilIcing sugar
Asafoetida powder – great onion substituteLard
Baking powderNutritional yeast
Baking sodaSalt
Cacao powderSoybean oil