Are strawberries actually free from FODMAPS?

Posted on May 26, 2021

Strawberries are a FODMAP ‘grey area’ – there is conflicting evidence as to whether or not they are safe to eat on a low FODMAP diet. Today we’re going to take you through FODMAP Friendly’s evidence-based stance on the FODMAP content of strawberries so that you can make an informed decision on whether to include them throughout your initial phase of the low FODMAP diet and at which portions.

The FODMAP Friendly stance on strawberry FODMAP content

Our aim here at FODMAP Friendly is to educate our community and provide you with the most up-to-date research regarding FODMAP contents in foods. Another FODMAP organisation have posted that strawberries are free from FODMAPs; however, our recent testing of strawberries shows that while they are low FODMAP, they are not FODMAP free.

The results surrounding strawberries may create confusion for those on the low FODMAP diet, which already has confusing elements (that we continually endeavour to make easier for you!). We wanted to take this opportunity to remind you, our readers, that FODMAP Friendly have a team of Dietitians and Nutrition Scientists who produce the content behind everything we do – everything is evidence-based.

Testing can sometimes vary between laboratories as FODMAP content is affected by source of origin, ripeness and processing methods. However, FODMAP Friendly independently test for FODMAP content of food at a National Association of Testing Authorities Australia (NATA) Accredited laboratory. As such, our laboratory is highly credible, Melbourne based, supports dairy farmers with Dairy Farm Assurance assessments and is the leading specialist of milk analytical services and dairy product testing in Australia and across Southeast Asia.

Here is what you need to know:

Fresh strawberries:
Low FODMAP at a 50g serve size (approximately four strawberries). Any higher, it has excess fructose and is no longer considered low FODMAP.

Dried strawberries:
Low FODMAP at a 5g serve size. Any higher, it has excess fructose.

These results are in the process of being updated on the FODMAP Friendly App.

Why is there a difference between FODMAP content in fresh and dried strawberries?

You’ll notice from the above information that fresh and dried strawberries differ greatly in their FODMAP contents. Preparation of dried fruit involves dehydrating the fresh fruit to get rid of the water. When we remove the water content, we concentrate the sugars and the associated FODMAPs (in this case, fructose) that were present in the fresh fruit initially. Dried fruit also tends to shrink compared to the original size of the fresh fruit – you’ll notice fresh strawberries are much larger than their dried equivalent! This is why serve sizes are so important when it comes to the low FODMAP diet.

Why may I feel ill when I eat too many strawberries?

Some fruits are better tolerated than others in those with IBS. Fruits, such as strawberries are high in fructose (a monosaccharide, the ‘M’ in FODMAP). Excess fructose continues to the large intestine where it is fermented by bacteria, resulting in uncomfortable gut symptoms. This is why you may feel fine eating a low FODMAP serve of strawberries but feel ill when you eat a larger amount.

In Summary

Fresh strawberries are low FODMAP in a 50g serve size but should not be considered FODMAP free. As always, it is important to see a FODMAP-trained Dietitian for individualised advice and support in finding your own tolerance.

Written by Charlotte Barber (Student Nutritionist)
Reviewed by Kiarra Martindale (Accredited Practising Dietitian)

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