Following a low FODMAP diet? Finding fuel for your workouts and sports can be tricky, here are some ideas for Low FODMAP fuel for athletes
If you have IBS or have chronic stomach problems, than you are no doubt familiar with the Low FODMAP diet. FODMAP is short for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, types of carbohydrates, starches, and sugars that are difficult to digest by people with IBS.
The Low FODMAP diet was created by the Monash University to help manage IBS and functional digestive disorders. The low FODMAP diet is one of the best ways to manage IBS.
I started going on a low FODMAP diet back in February to help me manage my IBS symptoms. It has helped me so far! I am not super strict with the diet since I already have quite a few dietary restrictions as it is, but I have been doing what I can when I can and things have improved.
After looking at the low FODMAP diet for IBS, and I really wanted to find some good carb and fuel sources for racing and training. I found that my go-to fuels had added fructose in them, so I had to find some new fueling options. Having a stomach ache during or after your run is no fun!
First off, here are some really good printable and accurate lists of FODMAPs:
- Stanford Digestive Health Center FODMAP info sheet
- Monash University FODMAP website
- Paleo low FODMAP food list from Dr. Gangemi
- Monash University FODMAP Smart phone app
Since carbohydrates are the most difficult to navigate on a Low FODMAP diet, my list is focused on carb-dense fuel options for athletes. Low FODMAP fuel for athletes:
Low FODMAP carb options (food based)
- Waxy maize (not 100% on whether this is low FODMAP)
- Lucuma powder
- Maple syrup
- Natural dextrose
- Cane sugar
- Coconut sugar
- Sweet potato powder – in moderate amounts
I’m not 100% sure about whether waxy maize is low FODMAP or not, it doesn’t show up in many of the lists I have found. Corn is typically low FODMAP in moderate amounts so waxy maize should be safe.
Everything on the following lists also happen to be dairy-free and soy-free as well. I am not 100% sure about the Hammer protein products using whey or soy since I haven’t looked too closely at them.
Fuels Lower in FODMAPs
- Ultima electrolyte powder – sugar free and sweetened with Stevia and lo han guo extract, and it has non-GMO maltodextrin and this isn’t fizzy, so no bloating, and no sorbitol. So far I have been loving the Ultima powder!
- GU Chomps – the Gu Gels have fructose in them, but the Gu Chomps do not
- Cocogo – cane sugar and some fruit juice (carbs + electrolytes). Note: coconut water powder is higher FODMAP, but may be tolerated better than fructose
- Vega Pre-Workout Energizer (both regular and sugar-free) – in moderation: contains coconut sugar and brown rice syrup
- E-Boost (both powder mix and shots) – similar to Emergen-C, but it is sugar and fructose free. It seems bitter to me but I suspect that is from the green tea extract in it
- Hammer Gel – no fructose and low sugar (2 grams)
- Jelly Belly Sport Beans – cane juice and tapioca syrup
- Clif Shots – cane sugar and maltodextrin
- Clif Shot Bloks – cane sugar and maltodextrin
Fuels higher in FODMAPs
- Emergen-C – fructose
- KIND low sugar bars – honey and chicory fiber
- Vega Energy Gel – dates
- Larabars – dates
- Hammer Fizz Electrolyte Tablets – sorbitol
- Hammer Heed Drink Mix – no fructose and low sugar, but contains sorbitol
- Gu Energy Gels – fructose
- Honey Stinger products – honey
- Power Gel – fructose
- Gu Roctane Gel – fructose
- Gu Electrolyte drink mix – fructose
- Pocket fuel – depending on the flavor there may be honey (Chia Goji Honey). Hazelnuts and almonds are moderate in FODMAPs so don’t overdo it with these since they are almond butter and hazelnut butter based
Also note that certain fizzing electrolyte tablets can bother IBS symptoms a bit and cause bloating, so I avoid any electrolyte powders or tablets that fizz (like Nuun tablets, Hammer Fizz tablets, etc). Some of those tablets (like the Hammer drink tablets) contain sorbitol, a big problem for people with IBS.
* Dates are high FODMAP, so watch fuels with dates. Some people seem to tolerate them fine yet others don’t, so go with your gut on these (pun intended 😉 )
This list is by no means comprehensive: there are lots of fueling options out there that I don’t know about and I’m not a sports nutrition expert or low FODMAP diet expert, these are just some things I have found that work or don’t work for me personally. If you know of any other great fuel options that are low FODMAP friendly, please share! And if you see that I have made a mistake on one of these, let me know that, too 🙂
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist