Traditional ice cream contains FODMAPs. So you may find it tricky to find a suitable ice cream if you have IBS.
In this article, you will find out which FODMAPs are in ice cream. We will also share some low FODMAP ice cream products and homemade recipes.
Is ice cream high in FODMAPs?
Traditional ice cream is made using milk and cream, both of which contain the FODMAP lactose.
FODMAPs are a type of fermentable carbohydrate, which can cause symptoms in people with IBS.
Two-thirds of a typical sized scoop of vanilla ice cream was lab-tested by Monash and found to be low in FODMAPs (1). If you increase this to two scoops, it is moderate in FODMAPs, as the amount of lactose increases.
Other common high FODMAP added ingredients include:
- Fruits, fruit juice concentrates and purees (e.g. mango, apple, pear, peaches, etc.)
- Sugar alcohols, used to sweeten the product (e.g. sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol and isomalt)
- Sweeteners (e.g. fructose, high fructose corn syrup, honey and inulin)
- Whey and whey protein concentrate
Can you take lactase enzymes and enjoy lactose-containing ice cream?
You can buy lactase enzymes to take when eating lactose-containing ice cream products.
They can be found in pharmacies, available in tablet or droplet form. They contain the enzyme ‘lactase’ which helps break down lactose into glucose and galactose. This can help avoid symptoms that lactose causes in your gut.
Low FODMAPice cream: dairy-based
For dairy-based ice cream, you should look for lactose-free ice cream. Lactose-free ice cream is made with cow’s milk which has been treated with a lactase enzyme (2). This means it does not contain lactose.
Remember to also check for other FODMAP ingredients discussed above.
Here are some low FODMAP dairy-based ice cream brands that you can find online or in stores:
- Beckon Lactose-Free Ice Cream
- Breyer’s Lactose-Free
- Lactaid Lactose-Free Ice Cream
- Pierre’s Lactose-Free Ice Cream
- Re:THINK Ice Cream
Low FODMAP dairy-based ice creams you can make at home:
- No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream
- Dark Chocolate Ice Cream With Toasted Almonds
- Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream
- Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Low FODMAP ice cream: vegan
You do not have to follow a vegan low FODMAP diet. If you are vegan or are looking for more variety, you can try dairy-free (plant-based) ice creams.
Dairy-free ice creams are often termed ‘frozen desserts’ in the US as ice cream has to be made from at least 10% milkfat (3).
There is plenty of low FODMAP, vegan ice cream products and recipes available that are made from the following:
Almond-based ice cream is made from almond milk, sugar and a form of fat. Almond milk ice cream has not been tested by Monash but almond milk is low in FODMAP. Therefore, you should be fine by trying a standard scoop serve (½ cup) first. You may be able to increase this if you can tolerate it.
You can find these low FODMAP almond-based ice cream brands online and in stores:
Coconut-based ice cream has not been tested by Monash. Coconut milk is low FODMAP at only ½ a cup (4)
We suggest you can try coconut-based ice cream at ¼ cup first, increasing the portion size next time to test your tolerance.
Some examples of coconut-based ice creams are:
Oat-based ice cream is made from oat milk and has not been tested by Monash. Oat milk is low FODMAP at ½ cup (5). So like coconut-based ice cream, you should try with a smaller portion size first.
You can find these low FODMAP oat-based ice cream brands online and in stores:
Soya ice cream has not been tested by Monash. As soya milk is low FODMAP in very small amounts, we suggest you avoid ice-cream made with this milk to be safe.
Low FODMAP vegan ice cream recipes
And if you would prefer to make your own, then here are some simple recipes to get started:
- Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream
- Pineapple Ice Cream
- Creamy Oatmeal Cookie Dough Ice Cream
- Low FODMAP Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream
- Frozen Banana Ice Cream With Chocolate and Matcha
- Low FODMAP Chocolate Sorbet
Traditional dairy-based ice cream should be eaten in smaller quantities on the low FODMAP diet due to the lactose content. Or you can try using lactase enzymes.
Alternatively, you can have almond, coconut or oat-based ice creams, but you have to stick to less than 1 scoop per portion due to the potential FODMAP content. Some sorbets made with low FODMAP fruits and sugars are also suitable.
Written by Leeona Lam MSc, ANutr and reviewed by Beth Willson Specialist Surgical Dietitian BSc Hons RD
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.