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Legumes and a low FODMAP diet


Legumes are a food group that some don’t pay much attention to. But for others, they’re a crucial part of their daily food intake. So how do you manage legumes and a low FODMAP diet together?

Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, haricot beans, black eyed beans… the list goes on. And unfortunately, these foods all contain galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).

So how can you continue to incorporate legumes while on a low FODMAP diet?

Some legumes are exceptionally low in FODMAPs. According to Monash University’s Low FODMAP app, canned lentils, chana dal and urid dal are all safe for people following a low FODMAP diet. In the elimination stage, these can still be included safely. We do still recommend to be quite careful with inclusion though, as, anecdotally, some people do still appear to be quite sensitive, even to these.

How do you manage when you’ve finished with the eliminations and challenges though? The best thing is to ensure you prepare your legumes correctly. Soak them in water over night, then discard the water, and cook in fresh water to rid as much GOS as possible. Secondly, determine how often you, as an individual, can tolerate them. Some people find through the challenges that they are really sensitive to this group, whilst others are not so sensitive. Everyone is different; some people may be able to tolerate them a few times per week, whilst others can only stomach a small serve once a week. Experimenting with your intake will help determine this.

But why should you include them again, even when you are a little sensitive?

Well, legumes are what we call a prebiotic – a food which provides nutrition for the healthy bacteria found in our gut. Long term avoidance may have an effect on your gastrointestinal microflora, so including them to some degree is recommended.

We’d love to hear about the different ways you include them in your diet!

FODMAP list download

  • Catherine Collins

    Interesting! Can I ask something? Soaking/cooking in water will reduce or eliminate water soluble oligosaccharides which I guess contribute to a reduced prebiotic effect. But why do any remaining fermentable fibres not generate similar symptoms in IBS? Or is it a proportional effect – the reduction in GOS is sufficient to contain symptoms?

    • Hi Catherine, Great question! The soaking and cooking reduces the oligosaccharides, to the point that most people will be able to tolerate the bean/pea/lentil, in small amounts. This however is quite individual; some people are still incredibly sensitive, and don’t feel they can tolerate many (if any) at all, whilst others will find that they are able to tolerate a larger quantity. This comes back to the importance of determining which FODMAPs you are intolerant to, as this will help you make more informed choices. As a side note, it is best for everyone (not just those with IBS) to prepare their legumes this way; if not prepared well, even people without IBS may struggle to digest them. I hope that helps! Chloe

      • Catherine Collins

        Thanks Chloe for your answer… appreciated!