BACKGROUND: Wholegrain grains and cereals contain a wide range of potentially protective factors that are relevant to gastrointestinal health. The prebiotics best studied are fructans [fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin] and galactooligosaccharides (GOS). These and other short-chain carbohydrates can also be poorly absorbed in the small intestine (named fermentable oligo-, di- and monosaccharides and polyols; FODMAPs) and may have important implications for the health of the gut. METHODS: In the present study, FODMAPs, including fructose in excess of glucose, FOS (nystose, kestose), GOS (raffinose, stachyose) and sugar polyols (sorbitol, mannitol), were quantified using high-performance liquid chromatography with an evaporative light scattering detector. Total fructan was quantified using an enzymic hydrolysis method. RESULTS: Fifty-five commonly consumed grains, breakfast cereals, breads, pulses and biscuits were analysed. Total fructan were the most common short-chain carbohydrate present in cereal grain products and ranged (g per portion as eaten) from 1.12 g in couscous to 0 g in rice; 0.6 g in dark rye bread to 0.07 g in spelt bread; 0.96 g in wheat-free muesli to 0.11 g in oats; and 0.81 g in muesli fruit bar to 0.05 g in potato chips. Raffinose and stachyose were most common in pulses. CONCLUSIONS: Composition tables including FODMAPs and prebiotics (FOS and GOS) that are naturally present in food will greatly assist research aimed at understanding their physiological role in the gut.