How To Easily Explain FODMAPs To Your Friends and Family


[Last updated 14th August, 2018]

Do you follow a low FODMAP diet?

If so, be prepared for the inevitable… You’ll have to explain yourself at some stage at a party or social event.

This can quickly become tedious and frustrating – even embarrassing – but it doesn’t have to be.

Use this simple explanation to avoid anymore awkward and confused looks from your friends and family.

The FODMAP Elevator Explanation

FODMAP Elevator ExplanationEver heard of an elevator pitch?

In business terms it’s a short, persuasive statement you use to explain what your company does.

The idea is that you can easily say it in the brief time you’d be standing in an elevator with someone who asks.

FODMAP Elevator Explanation

Likewise, a quick and easy explanation of FODMAPs and why you’re on a low FODMAP diet is especially useful at social events.

I call it the FODMAP elevator explanation.

If you’re at a friend’s or a relative’s place and someone asks what FODMAPs are or why you’re politely declining certain foods…

You can say:

“FODMAPs refers to certain sugars known to trigger digestive problems. Eating a diet low in these sugars helps control symptoms, and it’s been incredibly beneficial for me.”

That’s it.

Some will be genuinely curious and ask more questions, but most people won’t. They’ll simply say, “Oh, okay. That makes sense.”

In fact, chances are there’s someone else in the room experiencing the same issues as you who just started learning about IBS and FODMAPs.

Using the FODMAP elevator explanation opens up a non-judgemental dialogue where you’ll now be able to help others too.

Easily Explain the FODMAP Diet During The Holidays

Following a low FODMAP diet doesn’t have to be socially awkward.

Equip yourself with that FODMAP elevator explanation and be prepared to navigate all those inevitable situations.

It’s also worth learning what common Christmas foods are low FODMAP so you won’t be left feeling miserable during the holidays.

Aside from using the ultimate low FODMAPs food list and these low FODMAP recipes for ideas, here’s a great list from Everyday Nutrition:

FODMAP christmas

And if you’re looking for additional tips or low FODMAP Christmas recipes, I recommend Alana’s guide.

Lastly, if the FODMAP elevator explanation sounds too complicated to remember, just show them this article!


Ready to start the FODMAP diet? Click below to join my 3-Day Low FODMAP Challenge, beginning January 8th!


Use this simple explanation of the FODMAP diet to avoid anymore awkward and confused looks from your friends and family when eating together.

About Joe Leech, Dietitian (MSc Nutrition & Dietetics)

Joe Leech is a university-qualified dietitian from Australia.

He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in exercise science, followed by a Master's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2011.

Learn more about him on the About page

12 responses to “How To Easily Explain FODMAPs To Your Friends and Family”

  1. This diet works for me! Been following it for 5years or so. Amazing the difference it makes from suffering for years with bloating/pain/anxiety. Try it!

  2. I was diagnosed with IBS-C in November 2017. Since then, I have been following FODMAP and it has helped enormously. I also regularly see a nutritionist, who is helping me with the challenges, the ups and downs and also my health in general. I have gained a substantial amount of weight over the last year or so. The first step has been to bring down the inflammation in my intestine (severe bloating, gas and overall lethargy) which has much improved since following the low FODMAP diet. My next step is to start the integration stage and to get more active. Yoga seems to be very helpful. My stress levels have been quite high, which also affects flare-ups. Working on that too. But all in all, the low FODMAP lifestyle, if followed religiously, will change your life.

  3. i suffered for 40+ years with mild IBS and severe GERD.
    don’t need Fodmaps, all i needed was 200 mg Apple Cider Vinegar tablets from Swanson.
    (drinking acv irritates the lining) i tak\e one every morning, no problems. 6 years now!

  4. I appreciate your elevator explanation, but I personally would say “natural sugars.” Generally, when I tell people I can’t digest certain sugars in foods, they say, “oh, but this doesn’t have ANY sugar in it.” Then I have to re-explain that I’m not sensitive to table sugar, just the “natural” sugar in the food already. By then they’ve lost interest, of course, which is also fine.

    • I agree Shoshana, I just say “carbohydrates” in certain foods, not necessarily the ones you would expect (like mushrooms, etc)!

  5. I have IBS but I also have scleraderma which no one knows how much it interferes with the Fod Map diet. additional suggestions. I have had cramping for 3 years plus. Any suggestions. I also have Sojgren’s.

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