FODMAPs in lentils can often be a trigger of symptoms for many people with IBS.
This post will discuss which FODMAPs are in lentils and how you can determine if lentils are triggering your IBS symptoms. We will also give you some tips on ways to reduce the FODMAP content of lentils so that you can enjoy them symptom-free.
FODMAPs in Lentils
The type and amount of FODMAPs found in lentils vary depending on the type of lentils and how they have been processed. The, following types of lentils have been tested by Monash:
- Red lentils – contain fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS)
- Green lentils – contain GOS
- Le Puy lentils or French Green lentils – contain fructans and GOS
The FODMAPs found in lentils, fructans and GOS, are poorly digested in the small bowel and are fermented by gut bacteria in the colon. This process can result in IBS symptoms in females and males, such as diarrhoea, bloating, flatulence and abdominal pain in people with IBS. Read more about “Fructans – Are you Intolerant to Them?’
Can I Eat Lentils if I Have IBS?
Yes, although lentils contain FODMAPs, you can still eat them if you have IBS.
You can work out your tolerance to these FODMAPs by completing the low FODMAP diet process under the guidance of a Registered Dietitian. If you know you tolerate other GOS-containing foods well, then it is likely that you can tolerate green lentils. However, red and Le Puy lentils will be individual as foods that contain fructans are digested differently from each other.
If you do not want to or are unable to do the low FODMAP diet process but feel that lentils are a trigger for you, then you can stick to Monash’s low FODMAP serving size recommendations. If you would like to test your tolerance to larger portion sizes, gradually build up from a low FODMAP serving size over a week and assess your symptoms.
How to Reduce FODMAPs in Lentils
Fructans and GOS are both water-soluble FODMAPs, meaning they can leach out into the water. This is great, as it means we can use water in various formats to remove some of the FODMAPs in the lentils.
If lentils trigger your symptoms, here are some tips to help reduce the FODMAP content, by using water, to improve your tolerance:
- Buy canned lentils – these can contain nearly half the FODMAP content of dried lentils (1).
- Rinse and soak your lentils overnight. Then rinse again and discard the water.
- Boil your lentils thoroughly to cook them and discard the cooking water
Health Benefits of FODMAPs in Lentils
Lentils are a cheap yet nutritious food. If you like lentils, we encourage you to consume them regularly in your diet, even if it’s only in small quantities that you can tolerate.
Lentils contain approximately 8g of fibre in half a cup. They are therefore a great source of dietary fibre that will help you to meet your 30g per day target. FODMAPs are also prebiotic fibres, which feed our gut bacteria. Research suggests that the more diverse our plant intake is, the more diverse our gut bacteria area (2). This is beneficial for our gut and overall health, including our mental health.
Lentils also contain polyphenols, which are bioactive compounds with antioxidant properties (3). This means polyphenols are beneficial to our health by protecting against chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease (3).
And it doesn’t stop there. Lentils are also a great plant-based source of protein, folate and minerals such as magnesium and potassium.
Low FODMAP Lentil Recipes
If your gut is sensitive to lentils but you want to keep your diet as diverse as possible, then you can try sticking to low FODMAP serving sizes.
Here we have listed five low FODMAP lentil recipes that you can try to get started:
Summary of FODMAPs in Lentils
Red and Le puy lentils contain the FODMAPs fructans and GOS, whereas green lentils only contain GOS. You can stick to Monash’s low FODMAP serving sizes if you are on the low FODMAP diet or if you are sensitive to these FODMAPs.
You can still enjoy larger portions of lentils by reducing their FODMAP content. This can be through buying canned lentils, or soaking and boiling them.
Including lentils in your diet can be beneficial for our gut and overall health, due to their abundance of nutrients and prebiotic fibres. We hope you found this article useful and enjoy the low FODMAP lentil recipes we have shared at the end.
Written by Bethany Willson, Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian, reviewed Kirsten Jackson, Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
Beth is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian who specialises in gastrointestinal surgery. Beth graduated from University of Surrey in 2020 with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.
Last updated on September 3rd, 2023 at 12:08 pm