Everything you need to know about Low FODMAP cheese
Being on a low FODMAP diet can be very confusing. There are a lot of guidelines to follow, and plenty of foods you need to eliminate. If you have looked online at the FODMAP diet guidelines or met with a registered dietitian, you probably know that dairy products are some of the foods on the no-no list. But I have some good news! There are a lot of low FODMAP cheeses that you can enjoy, even during the elimination phase of the diet.
What is low FODMAP?
FODMAP is an acronym for certain types of carbohydrates that can ferment in the gut and trigger uncomfortable GI symptoms, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
If you go on a low fodmap diet, you remove foods that contain those certain carbohydrates for a period of time, to see if you start to feel better. Once your symptoms improve, you start to add foods back in to see what exactly is causing the issue.
What foods can I eat on a low FODMAP diet?
While a low FODMAP diet can be very restrictive, there is a pretty extensive list of what you can eat. There are a lot of nuances with following a low FODMAP diet, so we won’t get into the full list of what is allowed in this blog. If you feel stuck, we recommend you meet with a dietitian and check out resources like the Monash App and the Spoonful App for specific product recommendations.
What is the deal with cheese and IBS?
Cheese is made from milk, which contains lactose. Lactose is a disaccharide, aka the “D” in FODMAP. Lactose is a carb in milk, which requires our body to use an enzyme called lactase to properly digest the carb. If you don’t have enough lactase in your body (aka lactose intolerance), your body can’t digest the food properly, which can cause symptoms like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
Approximately 33% of people with IBS also have some level of lactose intolerance. And while everyone’s tolerance is different, most individuals with IBS can handle a small amount of low-lactose foods.
Cheese can be a great addition to a Low FODMAP diet because it is an excellent source of protein and can round out any meal or snack to make it more satisfying. Not to mention you can pair it with your favorite low FODMAP bread for a quick meal when you are in a pinch.
When trying to add cheese with IBS, keep in mind that everyone’s tolerance is different. Monitor your body’s reaction to cheese, and start slowly with small portions at a time, just in case.
What is a low FODMAP cheese?
For something to be considered a good low fodmap cheese, it needs to be lower in lactose. How do you know what cheese is considered low lactose? Generally, the fresher the cheese, the more lactose it will contain. Cheese that is aged tends to be lower in lactose because certain lactase-containing bacteria are added during the cheese-making process. So as the cheese ages, some of the lactose is disappearing in the process.
18 Low FODMAP Cheeses
The following list of cheeses are FODMAP friendly in a 1-2 oz portion and should be tolerated by most individuals with IBS. Keep in mind that cheese can also be high in fat, which can affect gut motility. So, if you eat a larger portion of cheese that is higher in fat, you may still experience symptoms, even though the cheese is low in lactose.
- Low Moisture Mozzarella
- Monterey Jack
- Blue cheese
10 (sometimes) Low FODMAP Cheese
You may be wondering; how can something be low FODMAP sometimes? Foods contain FODMAPS in different amounts, some are very in concentrated amounts, while others contain much smaller amounts, even in a larger portion.
When it comes to cheese, some cheeses will be low FODMAP in a certain portion because the amount of lactose will be minimal. But if you increase the portion, the amount of lactose you consume increases, and then the food isn’t FODMAP friendly anymore.
Here is the list of contenders with the serving that is considered low FODMAP:
- Queso Fresco- (1 oz)
- Cottage Cheese (2TBSP)
- Cream Cheese- (2 TBSP)
- Mascarpone (2 TBSP)
- Goat Cheese (1 TBSP)
- Haloumi (1 oz)
- Paneer (2 TBSP)
- Ricotta (2 TBSP)
- Quark (2 TBSP)
- Laughing Cow (1 triangle)
If you are feeling lost on a low FODMAP diet, a registered dietitian can help you navigate the nuances and clear up your confusion.
Check out our other Low FODMAP Blogs
Whether you are a novice in the kitchen, or a seasoned chef, Dietitian Klara will work with you to help you reach your nutrition goals. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating, Cooking with Diabetes and Cooking with Food Sensitivities Guide.