Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Dietary Fibre Series - Prebiotic Fibre

Erin Dwyer (Research Dietitian)


We know eating enough fibre on a low FODMAP diet can be challenging and that getting the right mix of fibres is very important, so let’s discuss prebiotic fibre.

There has been a lot of talk recently about prebiotics and probiotics and how they can affect the gut, but what really are they?

Prebiotics (including resistant starch) are non-digestible fibres found in certain foods that can stimulate the growth of some bacteria. This means that instead of being broken down within the gut the prebiotic fibre travels through the gut, stimulating growth and/or activity of probiotics i.e. the good bacteria!

Here's a list of foods that are high in prebiotics that have a 'green serve’ size – take a look at the Monash low FODMAP App to find out more!

Fruits and Vegetables

Grains and Cereals

Legumes, lentils, nuts and seeds

Mung beans
Buckwheat kernels
Lima beans
Butternut Pumpkin
Wheat free Gnocchi
Nuts – Almonds and hazelnuts
Pomegranate seeds
Wheat bran
Canned chickpeas
Dried paw paw
Pasta (wheat/spelt), cooked and cooled
Canned lentils

If you are following or have followed a low FODMAP diet you may notice many of the foods listed above are high in FODMAPs. This is because fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) are prebiotic fibres.

So if prebiotics are often high in FODMAPS, but considered part of a healthy diet, how can they be included on a low FODMAP diet?

Here are a few ideas to get you started

·         Firstly, remember that a low FODMAP diet is only meant to be LOW in FODMAPs, not completely depleted of FODMAPs

·         Also, after the initial strict phase of the diet, you may find through the rechallenge phase that you actually tolerate moderate serves of fructan and GOS rich foods quite well

·         Certain canned legumes that have been rinsed and drained are lower in FODMAPs - you can find a safe ‘green serve’ of legumes and lentils in the Monash FODMAP App. Try this recipe http://fodmapmonash.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/low-fodmap-vegan-coconut-pumpkin-curry.html

·         You can purchase wheat free Gnocchi for a low FODMAP option, serve it with a low FODMAP pasta sauce and salad – You can try this recipe http://fodmapmonash.blogspot.com.au/2016/09/low-fodmap-chicken-and-gnocchi-pasta.html

·         Add ¼ cup (green serve) of pomegranate seeds to your salad for great texture and a little sweetness

·         Snack on some almonds or hazelnuts (10 for a green serve)

It is also important to remember to continually test your tolerance to FODMAP containing foods, you may find you can tolerate different prebiotics in varying amounts. For some guidance in reintroduction you can look back on this past blog post:


  1. What do you consider Inulin (chicory root)? I have HORRIBLE reactions to it and manufacturers in the US are putting it in everything.

    1. Hi Emily,

      Unfortunately we haven't tested chicory root, only the leaves so far, so cannot comment on it's FODMAP content. I will pass this on to the food testing team to consider

      For the time being, you can always test your own tolerance of foods we haven't tested. hen your symptoms are well controlled, try a small quantity, once a day over 2-3 consecutive days. If you do not get troublesome symptoms, then it is OK to include it in your diet. You can decide how often and what quantity you can manage. Remember, your low FODMAP diet only needs to be as strict as your symptoms require.

      All the best,
      Monash FODMAP