If you have IBS and are trying to follow a low FODMAP diet, you may be considering removing lactose from your diet.
You can do this in a few ways:
- Try lactose-free dairy products. The lactose is removed from your normal dairy products with little influence on the taste. This is a good option if you have tried the dairy free plant-based alternatives and have found you don’t like them or have an allergy to some of the ingredients found in plant-based alternatives.
- You can opt for naturally lactose-free, dairy free options. There is a wide range of vegan cheeses, ice creams, yogurts, and milk that contain no dairy at all. These options are great if you don’t like standard dairy products or you are looking to make the switch to a more plant-based diet.
If you are on a low FODMAP diet and choose the lactose-free vegan options, it is important to make sure you are choosing foods that don’t contain the FODMAPs you are trying to avoid.
So, here is the complete guide to choosing the dairy free alternatives that are best for you and your gut.
Dairy Free Cheese
Is vegan cheese low FODMAP?
According to Monash, their research shows that, yes, vegan cheese is low FODMAP.
When we look in a bit more detail, Monash tested coconut-based vegan cheese. A popular example of coconut-based vegan cheese is the violife cheeses.
Many kinds of vegan cheese are made with a coconut base, however, there are loads of new options that are made with almonds, oats, and cashews.
Low FODMAP options include cheeses made from almonds and oat.
If the cheese is made from cashews it becomes a high FODMAP food and may be worth avoiding.
Taking a look at what is on offer in UK supermarkets, most seem to be made from coconut, almond, or oat.
A good brand to look out for is violife which offers cheddar, grated cheese, parmesan, and mozzarella. If you want a creamy soft cheese try the vegan Philadelphia.
High FODMAP Additives
Be aware that while the main base of the cheese may be low FODMAP, other ingredients are added to improve the taste. Keep an eye out for the below ingredients as they are high FODMAP foods and if in high enough quantities can cause symptoms for some people. If you still want to try the cheese, start with small portions.
Dairy Free Ice Cream
Is vegan ice cream low FODMAP?
Well, yes and no. Similarly to vegan cheese, it depends on the base of the ice cream. Monash has not yet tested vegan ice creams, although when searching around I noted they had approved a brand of ice cream made from oat milk.
Going based on which milks are low FODMAP, if your vegan ice cream of choice is made from oats, almond, rice, or coconut milk you are good to go. Still, be aware of portion sizes and additives in your ice cream.
A Word On Soy Ice Cream
I would be wary of soy-based ice creams. According to Monash, soy milk made from soy protein is low FODMAP. However, most soy milks are made from hulled or whole soybeans and this is not a low FODMAP food. Check the ingredients on your ice cream to see if it specifies what type of soy is used.
The vegan cornetto for example says it is made from soy extract quite late into the ingredient list. This doesn’t give us much info to go on. I would try it and see how you feel. Stick with smaller portions to begin with and avoid it if you feel it has caused an IBS flare.
* I had a look for a lactose-free dairy based ice cream in the UK but was unable to find one, thankfully there are lots of very tasty vegan ice creams.
Low FODMAP Ice Cream Toppings
Why have ice cream by itself when you can cover it in some tasty toppings? Some low FODMAP toppings you might want to try include:
- Vegan squirty cream (Food Heaven Whipped Spray Cream)
- Hundreds & Thousands sprinkles
- Dark chocolate chips
- Chopped nuts -> almonds, pecans, macadamia, walnuts
Dairy Free Yogurt
Is vegan yogurt low FODMAP?
Yes, vegan yogurt is low FODMAP, IF, you choose the correct yogurt. As with the above, it depends on the ingredients to determine if it is low FODMAP or not.
Good choices to start with include:
- Coconut yogurt
- Almond yogurt
- Rice yogurt
- Oat yogurt
I would be wary of soy yogurt due to it being a high FODMAP food unless made with soy protein.
Dairy Free Milk
I won’t go into much detail here, as I have a whole article dedicated to low FODMAP vegan milk options.
But as a quick overview, milks that are low FODMAP include:
Take a look at the post to learn more about portion sizes to ensure you are eating low FODMAP.
Remember when trying these dairy free alternatives look for fortified options where possible to ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need to live a healthy life.
Starting a low FODMAP diet does not mean you have to go without your favourite dairy products. With all the alternatives around, there is no reason to miss out on having cheese on your burger or missing movie night with a pint of ice cream.
Remember to keep an eye on the ingredients as they do change from time to time and look for any additives that might cause you issues.
Let me know your favourite vegan dairy alternatives in the comments.