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Garlic in low FODMAP diets

Garlic in low FODMAP diets

If you love garlic as much as I do, you will understand my horror when I learned that it was high FODMAP and if I ever wanted to avoid that dreaded bloat, I would have to banish it from my kitchen.  What about my favourite roast? My Mum’s risotto or most of all what about the garlic bread?

Why is garlic high FODMAP?

Garlic contains high amounts of Fructo-oligosaccharides (or Fructans) which fit into the oligosaccharide category, or the “O” of the FODMAP acronym. Fructans are short chains of carbohydrates that are found in wheat, onion, leek, artichokes, watermelon and of course garlic.

Since humans do not possess the enzyme needed to break down fructans into single molecules, they remain too big to be absorbed into the body. Like all molecules that aren’t absorbed in the small intestine, they remain in the digestive tract and continue their path to the large intestine, or colon where become fast food for the healthy bacteria that live there. This is great, because it keeps the bacteria healthy, which in turn keep us healthy. However, when these bacteria feed on fructans (and all FODMAPs) they ferment them and create gas as a side effect. While most people aren’t bothered by this production of gas, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are particularly sensitive to stretching of the colon and suffer with pain, bloating and even problems in the toilet department as a result.

When embarking on a low FODMAP diet, it is important to avoid garlic and foods that contain garlic during the initial phases. Garlic can be tested to assess for individual tolerance during the challenge phase.

What can you do to still enjoy our dinner?

The good news is that even though garlic is high FODMAP, you can still enjoy garlic infused olive oil on all phases of the low FODMAP diet, even if you are particularly sensitive to fructans.

WHAT – you say?

The reason that garlic infused olive oil is low FODMAP is because the fructans in garlic are water soluble but not oil soluble. This means that we can add the essence of the garlic or any other fructan containing foods (hello Onion!) to extra virgin olive oil and then use the oil for cooking. This will add flavour and aroma to the oil, but not the fructans. Perfect for those of us who love garlic, but don’t love the bloat that comes with it.

Can you make your own garlic infused oil at home?

Garlic contains a microorganism called Clostridium botulinum (, which can cause botulism. Botulism is rare, but serious. Since C. bot thrives in low oxygen environments, homemade oil can be contaminated with it. Commercially produced garlic infused olive oils go through a processing technique to prevent bacterial growth, so these are the best bet for health reasons.

Can you just cook with garlic and remove it before eating?

Unfortunately, because the fructans are water soluble,  they will leach into the rest of the food and make the whole dish high FODMAP. So cooking with garlic and removing it prior to eating doesn’t work so well.

Final thoughts

The low FODMAP diet doesn’t need to be drab and flavourless. With a little creativity and a bottle of garlic infused olive oil, you can still enjoy your favourite meals and have a happy tummy afterwards. Why not try this recipe for low FODMAP “Garlic” bread from Everyday Nutrition