To bean or not to bean on a low FODMAP diet


Most people who eat beans experience wind. This is because beans contain galacto-oligosaccharides or GOS, a prebiotic fiber that travels through GI tract undigested and malabsorbed.  Humans lack the enzyme called α-galactosidase to break up the bonds between simple sugars, thus GOS reaches the colon where fermentation by gut bacteria occurs. Fermentation leads to the production of gases, which cause bloating and belly distention. In people with IBS, excessive gas production may lead to abdominal pain due to the sensitive nerve endings lining the intestines. You can read about ways to alleviate the bloating in my other post. (10 ways to decrease the bloating).


Most health organizations recommend eating beans several times per week due to their health protective benefits. Beans pack minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that aid in preventing the development of adverse health conditions.  Fermentation process by colonic bacteria produces anti-inflammatory short-chain fatty acids which are beneficial for overall health. In addition, GOS acts as prebiotics and provide food for healthy bacteria in the gut, specifically for bifidobacteria and lactobacillus species, and promotes their growth.  

Other benefits of beans are:

  • Blood sugar regulation. Beans have lower glycemic index and don’t produce spikes in blood glucose after a meal due to the high content of dietary fiber, which slows down the uprise of glucose in the blood.
  • Weight management. High fiber amount in beans increases satiety and helps us to feel full for longer periods of time reducing frequent eating and snacking.
  • Constipation relief. Beans contain insoluble fiber which adds the bulk of the stool for faster movement and elimination from the GI tract.
  • Cholesterol control. Dietary fiber helps with removing excess cholesterol out of the body.

So, GOS is not bad after all.


The Elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet recommends significant decrease of beans consumption due to the presence of galacto-oligosaccharides and fructans, which may cause diarrhea and/or constipation, abdominal pain, and excessive gas in people with IBS. However, it doesn’t mean that complete elimination of beans is necessary. You can still include small portions of beans in your diet and shouldn’t experience any adverse gut symptoms.

Here is the list of some beans that are high in GOS and fructans but may be included in small quantities on the low FODMAP diet:

□ Baked beans 2 teaspoons
□ Canned Adzuki beans 1/4 cup
□ Boiled Black beans 1/6 cup
□ Canned black beans 1/6 cup
□ Canned butter beans 1/4 cup
□ Canned chickpeas 1/4 cup
□ Canned pinto beans 2 tablespoons

For current and updated information, download Monash University FODMAP Diet App


FODMAPs are water-soluble compounds, which means that they dissolve in water. Some cooking and processing methods may decrease the amount of GOS and alleviate the symptoms. For example, boiling and simmering at various times reduces the amounts of oligosaccharides due to leaching out into the water. You can also double boil the beans to decrease the amount of FODMAPs even further. Note: not all the FODMAPs will be leached out into the water, some of them will still be present in beans after boiling.

Soaking beans in water overnight and rinsing them the next day can also help to decrease the amount of FODMAPs.

You probably noticed that many beans low in FODMAPs are canned. This is because the canning process reduces the amount of GOS in beans, which can lead to better tolerance. Tip: Rinsing canned beans before eating will help to decrease the amount of GOS even further.


Beans are staple food in some cultures when people eat beans on a daily basis without adverse gut symptoms. This is because they have tolerance to GOS and fructans and you can achieve this too. To improve your tolerance, start with small quantities, such as 1 teaspoon a day and increase the amount gradually. ⁠Pair the beans with low FODMAP grains, such as rice, quinoa or buckwheat and add some low FODMAP veggies, such as green beans or broccoli florets, or red bell peppers. ⁠ Add beans to soups, stews, curries, stir fries, salads, pasta dishes, or dips. Beans are higher in protein and can be used as a meat substitute and, for example, eaten on Meatless Mondays. You need to eat beans and legumes regularly (at least 2-3 times a week) to build up tolerance and get rid of the symptoms.


If you are looking for more ways to help with beans digestion, you can try a product called FODZYME, which is blend of enzymes that will break down GOS and fuctans in beans. You can use my code “IBSCONTROL” to get 10% discount. This will be especially helpful when travelling; all you need to do is to sprinkle powder over the food and enjoy it without a fear of developing adverse gut symptoms.

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