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FODMAP content of milk and milk alternatives

Choosing from the vast array of milk alternatives can be daunting on the low FODMAP diet. This article will help you select one right for you.

The following information is based on the Monash University Low-FODMAP smartphone app and was last updated on 16th May 2016.

What milks are low FODMAP?

Almond milk (low FODMAP)

Almond milk is made by soaking, grinding and straining raw almonds. We know that almonds are high FODMAP in larger servings. So why is almond milk low FODMAP? The reason might be because almonds only make up 2 per cent of the milk, which means the number of almonds in a glass of milk would be quite low. According to Monash University, almond milk is low FODMAP and safe to have in up to 250ml (1 cup) serves.

Coconut milk (small serves low FODMAP)

Coconut milk (both canned or UHT) is low FODMAP at 1/2 cup serving size. However, larger serving sizes (150ml or more) of UHT coconut milk contain moderate to high levels of oligosaccharides and should be avoided. This means when using coconut milk, make sure you stick to the safe low-FODMAP serving size of 125mls (1/2 cup).

Lactose-free milk (low FODMAP)

Lactose-free milk is cow’s milk that has the enzyme lactase added. The enzyme splits the lactose sugar into two parts, glucose and galactose, which our bodies can then easily digest without causing intestinal symptoms. Lactose-free milk is low FODMAP and safe to consume in serving sizes of 250ml (1 cup) . If you have issues with lactose-free milk then you might have an intolerance to dairy, and you need to talk to your dietitian.

Soy milk made from soy protein (low FODMAP)

Soy milk made from soy bean protein is low FODMAP. However, whole soy bean milk is high FODMAP, so check the ingredients list to see if the milk is made from just soy protein. According to Monash University, soy milk made from soy protein is safe to have in 250ml (1 cup) serves. Soy milk made from soy protein is much easier to find in New Zealand and Australia.

Hemp milk (low FODMAP)

Hemp milk is made from soaking and grinding hemp seed in water and is described as having a slightly nutty and creamy taste. Hemp milk is low FODMAP and safe to have in 250ml (1 cup) serves.

Rice milk (low FODMAP)

Rice milk was previously believed to be high FODMAP when initially tested by Monash University in 2015. However, further research by Monash University shows that rice milk is low FODMAP in 200ml serves (Muir, 2016).

Wondering how that is possible? Well rice milk is made using enzymes, which break down the rice starch. Sometimes these enzymes fail to completely break down the starch and small oligosaccharides are left behind. Not all oligosaccharides are malabsorbed like fructans and GOS, in fact some types of starch-derived oligosaccharides are digestible. These digestible oligosaccharides were getting mixed in with the fructans and GOS during FODMAP testing, which resulted in a false high FODMAP reading. Monash University have developed a new testing procedure, which separates out the different types of oligosaccharides to provide more accurate results. If you decide to enjoy rice milk, then make sure you use the low FODMAP serving size of 200ml, as larger serves can contain higher levels of fructans.

What milks are high FODMAP?

Goats’ milk (high FODMAP)

Goat milk contains high levels of lactose, even in small 1/2 cup serves, which means it is not suitable on a low-FODMAP diet.

Oat milk (FODMAP content dependent on serve)

Oat milk is low FODMAP in small 30ml (1/8 cup) serves but larger serves of 125ml (1/2 cup) are high FODMAP, meaning oat milk is not a suitable milk alternative for everyday use.

Soy milk made from whole soy beans (high FODMAP)

Soy milk made from whole soy beans is high FODMAP. This type of soy milk is common in the USA and UK. If the ingredient list states ‘whole soy beans’ then the milk will be high FODMAP.

Standard cows’ milk (high FODMAP)

Standard cows’ milk is high FODMAP unless the packaging states that the milk is lactose free. The fat content of cows’ milk has no impact on the lactose levels so full cream, reduced fat or skim milk are all high FODMAP, even in small serves.

Watch out for added high-FODMAP ingredients

Many milk substitutes have added high-FODMAP ingredients like inulin, agave syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, molasses or honey, so it’s important to check your milk substitute for additional high-FODMAP ingredients.

Final thoughts

Almond milk, lactose free milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, rice milk, and soy milk made from soy protein are all good low FODMAP milk options. However make sure you check the ingredients list for added high FODMAP ingredients.

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And here’s some of our other milk and milk alternative articles:

How do they produce soy milk

FODMAP content of milk and milk alternatives

How to choose milk alternatives

The best alternative milks

Lactose intolerance and milk allergy

The rules on dairy alternatives sold as milk

Our guide to milk

This vs that – soy, rice and almond milks

Please also see our articles; is the low-fodmaps diet right for you and our Fodmaps toolkit which is your complete guide to going low-fodmap.

Article sources and references

Date modified: 4 October 2021
First published: Sep 2015


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