What can you Drink on the Low FODMAP Diet?
What is FODMAP?
Do you have IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating, burping, abdominal cramping or pain, diarrhea and/or constipation? This might be the diet to help with your pain! This will be your guide in navigating the challenges of understanding what the low FODMAP diet is. The low FODMAP diet is a diet which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols (Hamilton Health Sciences, 2015). This is a diet which eliminates these foods which then get slowly reintroduced into your diet after a 2 – 3 week (4-6 week) cleansing period, also called the reintroduction phase. It prefers the consumption of these low fermentable carbohydrates to help people with those symptoms or with irritable bowel syndrome figure out which foods are causing these symptoms, so they can avoid them in the future. If you think you may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or that this diet may work for you, the first step is to talk with your doctor. Make sure you don’t make any changes to your diet until you’ve first been assessed and screened by your medical doctor. Remember, the Low FODMAP Diet has been designed to follow along with the support of a registered dietitian (RD) who is an expert in nutrition.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid on the Low FODMAP Diet?
Oligosaccharides are defined as sugar molecules that contain multiple simple sugars linked together. Some examples of oligosaccharides are Fructans and Galactans. Fructans are chains made up of fructose, naturally found in some vegetables and fruits (Hamilton Health Sciences, 2015). Disaccharides are defined as sugar molecules which contain 2 simple sugars linked together. An example of a disaccharide that is avoided in this diet is lactose. Lactose is a sugar that is found in milk and milk products. In terms of monosaccharides, the simple sugars that the FODMAP diet tries to avoid is fructose. These are simple sugars that are naturally found in fruits, vegetables, and honey. The final ingredient class to avoid is polyols which are known as sugar alcohols. These sugar alcohols are naturally found in some fruits such as apples, pears, and stone fruits and artificial sweeteners in chewing gums and mints, liquid medications like sorbitol, mannitol etc.
What Beverages Can You Drink on the Low FODMAP Diet?
There are a few beverages that can be consumed in a low FODMAP diet. Those worried about their morning routine and not being able to drink that cup of joe or tea, you are in luck! Beverages such as black, green, white, peppermint and ginger tea, as well as coffee are allowed to be consumed as they don’t contain any fructans that are listed as high in FODMAP. These beverages are to be limited to consuming 1 cup a day only. For those who like adding cream to your coffee or tea, unfortunately milk and cream contain high levels of lactose that is an oligosaccharide and considered high in FODMAP. An alternative would be using lactose-free, coconut, hemp or almond milk instead, as these don’t contain lactose. As for sweeteners, you can add stevia, white or brown sugar to your coffee or tea. Honey and agave should be avoided as they contain fructose which are “monosaccharides” in the FODMAP.
Cranberry juice is allowed to be consumed as it is low in the FODMAP. As long as it does not contain corn syrup or added sugar, it should be safe to consume. Some diet sodas are low and moderate FODMAP because they contain sucralose and aspartame, which are low-calorie sweeteners and should not trigger any symptoms for IBS (Hamilton, 2022). Examples of diet sodas are diet colas, sprite zero, diet 7-up, diet root beer, and fresca.
Although alcohol is an irritant to the gut that can trigger IBS, there are still some alcohols that can be safe to consume, as long as they are taken in moderation. Alcohol beverages such as wine and vodka, beer (especially gluten free beer), and tequila can be safe to consume in a small to moderate amount for those alcoholic drinkers (Agur, 2019). It also depends on whether the alcohol is mixed with soft drinks which are high in FODMAPs.
What Drinks should you Avoid?
Plenty of beverages should be avoided since they are high in FODMAP. Some may not realize that these beverages contain ingredients that are listed differently. The labels can be misleading for those that don’t realize that sugars go by different names. We will list beverages and the main important factor of an ingredient that is found in those beverages that should not be consumed and under which category they go under in the FODMAP.
Fructose is a single sugar that is under the “M” category in FODMAP which stands for “monosaccharides”. Fructose can be found in fruit-based teas and juices since fructose is a natural sugar in fruits. Beverages such as apple, grape, and orange juice should be avoided since they contain high levels of fructose. Other beverages that contain fructose are soda drinks and energy drinks such as cola, sprite, ginger ale, red bull, and monster. In terms of alcohol, rum, sparkling wine, dessert wines, and soju all contain fructose so these should be avoided as well. Honey and agave contains fructose which is why both should be avoided, especially as a sweetener, as it can trigger IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms.
Fructans are sugars in the FODMAP that are actually made of chains of fructose. These can be found in the “O” category in the FODMAP that represents “oligosaccharides” (Chong, 2019). Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage that contains fructans which should not be consumed as it is high in the FODMAP. Coconut water also contains sources of fructans and sorbitol (which is a polyol in FODMAP) that should be avoided. Fructans can also be found in “chicory root” so tea-based chicory root or chicory-based coffee substitute beverages should highly be avoided since they have plenty of fructans that can trigger IBS.
Lactose is under “D” for “disaccharide” in FODMAP, which is a sugar that can be found in dairy products such as milk. Popular flavoured milks (banana, strawberry, melon) that can now be found in grocery stores should be avoided since they contain BOTH lactose and fructose which are under two categories of the FODMAP. Milk in general needs to be avoided as well since it contains lactose and can trigger symptoms for IBS.
Lastly, “Polyol” is a sugar alcohol that is actually the “P” category in FODMAP. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that can be found as an artificial sweetener. The dangerous thing about “xylitol” being labeled is that it can be labeled as a food additive in the ingredients list, which can be misleading as it doesn’t state its actual name. This is something very important to keep an eye out for when purchasing beverages. Another sugar to be careful of is “sorbitol”. This sugar alcohol can be found in beer, wine, and energy drinks. This can also be listed as an artificial sweetener and can also be found in “sugar-free” drinks that are made for those who are diabetic.
How Do You Know If A Drink is Suitable for FODMAP?
First thing is to read the ingredient list of the drink. Reading labels of packaged food can be complicated. Things to keep in mind when trying to read the ingredient list is the ingredient list is typically located in the back of the package and the ingredients on the ingredient list are listed in order of highest quantity to lowest. For example, this ingredient list has reverse osmosis water, cane sugar, and citric acid as its first 3 ingredients so this indicates that these ingredients are the largest quantities used in this product.
Some tips are choosing products that have shorter ingredients lists so it is easier to read, look for products that have certified FODMAP logos on these products, and look for ingredients that you know that are commonly considered as low FODMAP ingredients (The IBD Center of BC, 2021). Someone should also know what are some of the high FODMAP ingredients that are commonly found in food. Some high FODMAP ingredients that are commonly found in drinks are glucose-fructose (high fructose corn syrup) and honey, fruit juice concentrate and fruit purees, sugar alcohols, inulin, chicory root and fructo-oligosaccharides (Glinski, 2021).
Based on the Vitamin Water XXX’s ingredient list above, there are circled ingredients such as blueberry, pomegranate, acai, and cane sugar. These ingredients are considered low FODMAP foods. So this drink would be perfectly ok to drink during the FODMAP diet.
Low FODMAP Smoothie Recipe
About George Brown’s Culinary Management Nutrition Program
Students from the Culinary Management Nutrition Program at George Brown College Chef School participated in an academic writing content to create a FODMAP article or video for CDHF. The course, called Nutrition Issues, is taught by nutrition professor, Dr. Linda Gillis. Students highlighted the beverages that can be consumed and what to watch out for when attempting the FODMAP diet. Their experience in planning meals using creative recipes is highlighted in this article and video. Krizia Reyes and Karen Kwan were the winners for the article submission and Melike Benli, Chi Nghi Luong (Phoebe) and Amadea Josephine Tanudarma (Josephine) were the winners for the video submission. George Brown College provides students with real world applications and opportunities for learning.
Agur, A. (2019). Can you have alcohol on the low FODMAP diet? Retrieved from https://www.fodmapformula.com/alcohol-low-fodmap-diet/.
Chong, L. (2019, March 22). Who should avoid fructans? Retrieved from https://health.osu.edu/wellness/exercise-and-nutrition/should-you-be-avoiding-fructans.
Glaceau Vitamin Water. (2023). Vitamin Water XXX. Retrieved from https://www.vitaminwater.com/products/vitaminwater/xxx-acai-blueberry-pomegranate.
Glinski, S. (2021, September 8). How to Read Nutrition Labels on the Low FODMAP Diet | IBS. Retrieved from https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/living/nutrition-label.
Hamilton Health Sciences. (2015, August 5). Low fermentable carbohydrate diet. Retrieved from https://www.hamiltonhealthsciences.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/LowFermentableCarbDiet-trh.pdf.
Hamilton, M. (2022, September 19). Best Drinks to Help with IBS Symptoms – Ignite Nutrition. Retrieved from https://ignitenutrition.ca/blog/best-drinks-to-help-with-ibs-symptoms/.
The IBD Center of BC. (2021, July 28). FODMAP Label Reading – The IBD Centre of BC. Retrieved from https://www.ibdcentrebc.ca/2021/07/fodmap-label-reading/.
Lyell, C., (2022, November 4) Does Alcohol trigger my IBS?
Whelan, K., Martin, L.D., Staudacher, H.M. and Lomer, M., 2018. The low FODMAP diet in the management of irritable bowel syndrome: an evidence‐based review of FODMAP restriction, reintroduction and personalisation in clinical practice. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics, 31(2), pp.239-255.