You may be wondering if there are low FODMAP candies you can enjoy while following the low FODMAP diet.
Thankfully, adhering to a low FODMAP diet doesn’t mean you have to forgo indulging your sweet tooth.
In this blog post, we will explore FODMAPs commonly found in candies, what specific ingredients to look out for and of course, what low FODMAP candy options you can have while on the low FODMAP diet.
It should be noted that current government guidelines recommend that no more than 5% of our daily energy should come from ‘free sugars’ which includes the sugar found in candies.
Keep this in mind and ensure you always enjoy your candy in moderation (1).
What FODMAPs are commonly found in candies?
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.
The two main groups of FODMAPs found in candies include monosaccharides such as fructose, and polyols such as sorbitol and mannitol (2).
Disaccharides such as lactose may also be added to some candies such as milk bottles and hard caramels. It’s important to look out for these on the label.
Sweeteners in candy – A high FODMAP found in candies
You can find sweeteners such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol which are high in FODMAPs (polyols specifically) in ‘sugar-free’ or diabetic candies.
Eating too many sugar-free candies can cause a laxative effect even for a person without IBS.
To find out more about appropriate sweeteners on a low FODMAP diet see our article, Which Sweeteners Are Low FODMAP?
Fructose in candy – A high FODMAP found in candies
Fructose is a common high FODMAP ingredient found in candies. It can be labeled simply as ‘fructose’ as an ingredient on candy packets.
It can also be disguised as other common ingredients in candies including honey, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, molasse syrup and agave syrup.
Lactose in candy – A high FODMAP found in candies.
Lactose is a sugar naturally found in dairy products. As discussed it is a disaccharide which is a type of FODMAP.
Chocolate, especially milk and white chocolate, are high in this FODMAP. Lactose can be found in candies including hard toffees, soft toffees and fudge.
For more detailed information on chocolate and the low FODMAP diet, take a look at our article: Can You Enjoy Chocolate In IBS And The Low FODMAP Diet.
What high FODMAP ingredients should you look out for on candy labels?
Common high FODMAP candy ingredients to look out for on candy labels are summarized below:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Agave syrup
- Lactose e.g. milk, butter, cream.
Do note that you can tolerate some of the ingredients above in a small portion on the low FODMAP diet.
Please refer to the Monash App (the company which invented the low FODMAP diet) for more information on appropriate servings of some of these ingredients.
What low FODMAP candies can I have on a low FODMAP diet?
Unfortunately, no specific candies have been tested by Monash for their FODMAP content.
However, we can suggest certain types of candies that are lower in or free of FODMAPs based on their ingredients list.
It should be noted that all candies should be enjoyed in moderation. This is in relation to both their FODMAP content and for general health.
Many hard candies are naturally low in FODMAPs, making them a convenient and enjoyable option.
Look for candies without high FODMAP ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, honey or sweeteners (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, etc.).
Popular choices include peppermints, fruit-flavored hard candies, or sour candies.
Popular mints sold in the UK, including Polo Mints and Trebor Extra Strong, are likely suitable options. In the US, ice breakers are likely okay in moderation too.
Traditional black licorice made with natural licorice root extract is a low FODMAP candy option.
However, be sure to check the ingredients to ensure there are no high FODMAP additives like high fructose corn syrup or wheat-derived ingredients.
Plain licorice, although not tested by Monash, has been FODMAP friendly certified at 25g, which is approximately 15 average-sized pieces.
Gummies and Jellies
While many gummy candies are made with high FODMAP ingredients like high fructose corn syrup or polyols, some low FODMAP candy alternatives are available.
Look for gummies and jellies sweetened with glucose syrup, cane sugar or plain corn syrup instead.
In the UK, multiple types of Haribo candies, jelly babies, jelly beans and wine gums are generally a good choice as they use glucose syrup as their main ingredient.
In the USA, candies such as jolly ranchers and sour patch kids are also likely suitable for a low FODMAP as their main ingredient is corn syrup.
Although corn syrup hasn’t been tested by Monash, corn starch, which corn syrup is derived from, has been tested and confirmed as low FODMAP.
The main sugar in corn syrup is glucose which is low FODMAP.
However, do look out for dark corn syrup, which has molasses added to it and will have a higher FODMAP content.
As with everything on the low FODMAP diet, watch your portions especially when Monash hasn’t tested a food item.
It would be sensible to have no more than the suggested serving size if this is advertised on the packaging.
If you like the sweet and savory combination, opt for chocolate-coated nuts.
Chocolate-covered almonds, peanuts or hazelnuts are usually classed as low FODMAP candies and provide a satisfying crunch alongside the rich chocolate flavor.
For more information on appropriate low FODMAP nut portions, see our article on Which Nuts Can You Have on a Low FODMAP Diet?.
Monash tested white, milk and dark chocolate, and varying portions of each are classified as low FODMAP.
However, other triggers, such as fat and caffeine, must also be considered.
Lactose is the main FODMAP found in chocolate, however, do watch out for chocolates where additional ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts are added which can increase the FODMAP content.
Opting for lactose free chocolate often located in the ‘free from’ section in your local supermarket is also a FODMAP free option.
Following a low FODMAP diet doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the joy of enjoying occasional candies.
With some exploration and attention to ingredients, you can find a range of low FODMAP candies that satisfy your cravings without causing digestive symptoms.
Remember to read labels, check for high FODMAP ingredients, and enjoy your chosen candies in moderation.
Working with an expert IBS dietitian can make the process of the low FODMAP diet much more effortless.
Written by Elouise Rice, Registered Dietitian, reviewed by Kirsten Jackson, Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
My name is Elouise Rice and I am a registered dietitian, soon to be practising as a band 6 specialist gastro dietitian in a leading hospital in London. I previously worked as a band 5 gastro dietitian at world-renowned Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. I have a never ending curiosity about how our gut impacts our overall health. I am proud to be working as a dietitian and supporting individuals with improving their gut health.
Last updated on November 23rd, 2023 at 03:17 pm