Research suggests that people with IBS often avoid milk and have a lower daily intake of calcium (2), so you may be looking for a low FODMAP milk as a substitute.
We know that regular consumption of cow’s milk is linked to stronger bones and is beneficial for overall health (1). Restricting milk can lead to dietary deficiencies (3), however we understand that including milk in your diet can be difficult, as milk may trigger your IBS symptoms.
This post will provide you with information on the FODMAPs in milk, including commonly added high FODMAP ingredients to look out for.
Table of Contents
WHICH MILK IS HIGH FODMAP?
The FODMAP content of milk can vary, depending on the milk that you buy. For example, some kinds of milk contain lactose. This section will discuss milks that are high in FODMAPs. We will split this section into animal and plant milks.
Lactose is present in cow’s milk, regardless of its fat content, and so it is high FODMAP in a standard serving.
However, if you reduce this portion to 15ml then this is considered low FODMAP, which might be just the right amount for a cup of tea.
Goat’s milk has a similar nutritional value as cow’s, with a slightly smaller quantity of lactose than cow’s milk. Nevertheless, goat’s milk is still classified as high FODMAP in standard serving sizes. However, reducing the quantity down, for example in a cup of tea, it can still be consumed on a low FODMAP diet.
TOP TIP: When buying plant-based milk, remember to check that it has been fortified with nutrients including calcium, vitamin D and iodine.
SOY MILK (from soybeans)
Most soy milk that can be bought in Europe is made from soybeans. It contains high amounts of galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), which makes it high FODMAP.
However, 45ml of soy milk made from soybeans was tested by Monash as low FODMAP. There is also an alternative type of soy milk that is low FODMAP, which is discussed below.
FODMAPs in oat milk vary from brand to brand as oat milk can be produced in different ways. After blending oats with water, the mixture can be drained, or enzymes can be added to the blend by the manufacturer to break down complex carbohydrates (4).
According to Monash, it is high FODMAP in larger quantities, but low FODMAP in less than half a cup. This is due to its GOS and fructan content.
Coconut milk can be used in various delicious dishes, from curries to ice creams. Adding roughly 3 tablespoons of this will still keep it low FODMAP.
WHICH MILKS ARE LOW FODMAP?
Don’t be discouraged by the list of high FODMAP milks above. There are many low FODMAP milks available, which will be discussed in this section.
Lactose-free milk has had the lactose removed by adding the enzyme lactose. This removes the FODMAP that is naturally found in animal’s milk.
Examples of lactose-free milk that can be bought in grocery stores include:
SOY MILK (from soy protein)
Almonds are classed as high FODMAP in one serving due to the GOS content. As the content of nuts in almond milk is low, almond milk is low FODMAP.
The following products are considered low FODMAP:
Hemp milk has a nice nutty flavour. It is tested low FODMAP by Monash at 125ml.
You can buy hemp milk such as Pacific Foods Hemp Original Unsweetened Plant-based Beverage.
Rice milk is made from milling rice and mixing it with water.
You can find rice milk on the shelves:
Macadamia nuts have a low FODMAP content in a standard portion, and so a standard portion of macadamia milk can be enjoyed on the low FODMAP diet.
One of the low FODMAP macadamia milk you can try is Macadamia milk, Unsweetened by Milkadamia
Quinoa milk is a great low FODMAP option that tastes similar to oat milk, with a higher amount of protein.
An example of ready-made quinoa milk is Suzie’s Unsweetened Quinoa Milk Beverage.
Even though cashews are considered high FODMAP, cashew milk is low FODMAP. The reason lies in the small number of cashew nuts that are needed to make cashew milk.
You can buy Unsweet Cashewmilk by Silk.
CERTIFIED LOW FODMAP MILK
The following products are certified as low FODMAP by Monash:
- Rice Milk and Unsweetened Almond Milk by Australia’s Own Organic
- Soy Milk, Almond Milk Unsweetened, and Cashew Milk by So Good, Sanitarium.
HIGH FODMAP ADDED INGREDIENTS
Looking for low FODMAP products in the grocery store can be tricky. Even if the product could be suitable for a low FODMAP diet, it may contain high FODMAP ingredients.
Check the label to detect commonly added high FODMAP ingredients, including:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Agave syrup
- Molasses syrup
Many different types of milk can still be enjoyed whilst on the low FODMAP diet. When shopping, check the label to detect any high FODMAP ingredients in your milk.
Article written by Barbara Lešnik, Student Dietitian and edited by Beth Willson BSc RD Specialist Surgical Dietitian
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.