Navigating low FODMAP dairy products can be quite challenging when you are just hearing about this dietary change. This blog will not replace the need for dietary counseling on this topic with a dietitian. For now, here is what you’ll need to know about choosing low FODMAP dairy products!

grocery

Butter

The most delicious fat source there is, butter! 

Everyone will be happy to hear that butter and similar products like ghee are all low FODMAP! This is because of the extremely low lactose content in butter, ghee and clarified butter due to the production. You shouldn’t need to worry much about label reading with this group. However, some vegan butters have started to add probiotics and prebiotics which we do not know the FODMAP content of. 

Butter, spreadable butter and ghee are low FODMAP at 1 tbsp.

Cheese

low fodmap cheese

Photo by Kaitlin Eckstein

Contrary to popular belief, the low FODMAP diet includes almost all cheeses except ricotta, cottage, and cream cheese (unless in small amounts due to their increased lactose content). If you absolutely love these softer cheese, they do have lactose free alternatives available for cottage and cream cheese. Most hard cheeses are low FODMAP at 1 oz portion sizes or 2 slices. 

Ice cream 

Low FODMAP ice cream options have become widely available, which is a relief for most. But it can still be overwhelming when you’re walking through the freezer section. The information below should help simplify the shopping process for you!

If you are adventurous, the new Ninja Creami device can be used at home with your own low FODMAP ingredients to make scrumptious homemade ice cream.

Milk

Low FODMAP milks are separated into lactose free cow’s milk, and plant-based milks. Goat milk is not low FODMAP and sheep milk is untested. The benefit of cow’s milk over plant-based milk comes down to the protein amounts. Cow’s milk has around 8 grams of protein per cup whereas non-dairy milk will have 1-2 grams. Aside from that, most nondairy milks are fortified with calcium and vitamin D meaning it stacks up well to cow’s milk on this front. Keep that in mind when making your low FODMAP milk decision!

Lactose Free Cow’s Milk

Cow’s milk is the purest form of cow dairy meaning there is no processing or fermentation required in the production like there is with yogurt. What you see is what you get! To make lactose free milk, the lactase enzyme is added during the preparation to make the product 100% lactose-free, and therefore low FODMAP. The fat content will not change the lactose content so choose whichever you prefer. 

Here are some common brands that are available on the market:

  • A2 Milk Lactose Free
  • Lactaid 
  • Fairlife 
  • Great Value Lactose Free 
  • Good and Gather Lactose Free
  • Horizon Lactose Free
  • Organic Valley Lactose Free
  • Simple Truth Lactose Free

Non-Dairy Milks 

The list of non-dairy milks that are low FODMAP is quite long, which is good news, but at the same time can lead to confusion. Accessibility will be dependent on where you are shopping (some natural food stores carry less popular options like hemp milk). The most popular nondairy low FODMAP milks are coconut milk/coconut cream, almond milk, and rice milk. Below are the low FODMAP portions for each low FODMAP nondairy milk and my favorite brand for each!

  • Almond milk: 1 cup
    • Almond Breeze and Califa Farms brands are widely available. The unsweetened, sweetened, and vanilla flavors are low FODMAP. 
  • Canned coconut milk and cream: ¼ cup
    • Goya and Native Forest brands
  • Carton coconut milk without inulin UHT: ¾ cup
    • Sodelicious
  • Cashew milk: suspected to be low FODMAP at 1 cup
    • Elmhurst and Sodelicious
  • Hazelnut milk
    • Elmhurst brand
  • Hemp milk: ½ cup
    • Pacific Foods Brand
  • Macadamia milk: 1 cup
    • Milkadamia brand
  • Oat milk: 6 tbsp in the US, ½ cup in the UK and Australia (Proceed with caution)
    • Oatly! and Planet Oat are popular brands.
  • Quinoa milk: 1 cup
    • Quinoa milk is much harder to find, but it is commonly mixed with other non-dairy milks such as rice milk. Check out the Dream Blends rice/quinoa milk!
  • Rice milk: ¾ cup
    • Rice Dream brand
  • Soy milk (made from soy protein not soybeans): 1 cup
    • This is difficult to find in the United States so I usually suggest choosing other nondairy milk sources. 

Since there are many brands for nondairy milks now, most should be suitable as long as you are looking at the ingredient label first. Choose brands that only contain the nut/seed, water, and salt. Flavors like vanilla, sweetened, and unsweetened are suitable depending on ingredients used. If you start seeing artificial sweeteners, honey, or inulin/chicory root on the labels, it is likely not safe to consume!

Low FODMAP Dairy Based Protein Powders

Low FODMAP protein powders that are certified by Monash University and FODMAP Friendly are a bit hard to come by due to the testing procedures. Of the dairy-based protein powders, the 2 main options are whey protein and casein protein. Both go through processing, some more than others, which is what makes the end product low FODMAP. 

Whey Protein

Whey protein is the most abundant dairy-based protein powder on the market. Whey protein powder is produced in cheese making where the curd and the liquid whey are separated and then dried. Whey protein isolate contains less than 1% lactose making it suitable on the low FODMAP diet, unlike hydrolyzed whey protein/whey protein concentrate. The latter proteins can be low FODMAP if labeled lactose-free or has the lactase enzyme added. Mixtures of whey proteins are common as seen in the Alani Nu products and the Gold Standard 100% Whey products. They are labelled lactose free making them suitable!

When choosing a whey product, I suggest trialing the basic flavor options such as vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry before moving to the more creative options in order to test your tolerance. You can always throw the protein powder in a smoothie and flavor it with fresh fruit, cocoa powder and more!

The products below are certified low FODMAP by FODMAP Friendly or Monash University. The non-certified products are suspected to be tolerated based on ingredient analyzation, so proceed with caution.

Certified Whey Protein Products

  • Casa De Sante Whey Protein
    • Vanilla and chocolate
  • Stellar Labs Whey Protein Shake
    • Vanilla, chocolate, and salted caramel
  • Superflora Protein from Noisy Guts
    • Vanilla, strawberry, chocolate

Non-Certified Whey Protein Isolate Products To Try

    • Alani Nu Whey Protein 
      • Confetti cake
    • Optimuum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey
      • Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana cream, rocky road, chocolate mint, cookies and cream 
      • This is a mixture of all 3 types of whey protein, but since the lactase enzyme has been added, it should be tolerated well. 
    • ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein
      • Fruity pebbles, birthday cake, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, peanut butter, cinnamon bun, cocoa pebbles.
    • Isopure Whey Protein Isolate
      • Unflavored
    • Biochem Whey Protein Isolate
      • Vanilla, chocolate, and natural
    • Jay Robbs Whey Protein Isolate
      • Chocolate, vanilla, and unflavored
    • Body Tech Whey Protein Isolate 
      • Chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, salted caramel and many more
    • Now Foods Whey Protein Isolate
      • Unflavored
      • Be sure to choose the flavors that use whey protein isolate as they also offer products from whey concentrate.
  • Bluebonnet Whey Protein Isolate (they also have a whey and casein mixture to try!)
    • Original, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry
  • Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate
    • Chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter, unflavored, strawberry

There are many other whey protein isolate products on the market that may be tolerable outside of the ones mentioned above. I provided products that are widely available with enough flavor varietals. If you are wondering about a different product, ask your dietitian or read the ingredient labels!

Casein Protein

Casein protein powder is much less abundant than its cousin, whey protein. Casein protein is digested slower than whey making it useful for muscle recovery. Most products will use micellar casein protein. Some companies that produce whey protein powders, also produce casein protein powders so keep that in mind when shopping. No casein protein powders are certified low FODMAP so the product names are speculated to be low FODMAP based off ingredients lists.

  • Gold Standard 100% Casein Protein
    • Chocolate peanut butter, vanilla, chocolate, and banana cream
  • Now Foods Micellar Casein
    • Unflavored
  • Dymatize Elite Casein 
    • Chocolate and vanilla 
  • Transparent Labs Casein Protein
    • Chocolate

If you are choosing a protein powder that is not certified, be aware of the ingredients to avoid that may contain FODMAPs!

  • Sorbitol or any other artificial sweeteners
  • Honey
  • Agave
  • Wheat flour
  • Prebiotics such as inulin or chicory root

Yogurt

low fodmap yogurt

With the abundance of yogurts on the market, this dairy product in particular can cause some confusion. Head over to our low FODMAP yogurt blog to get more information on this!

Working with a Dietitian Can Help

Low FODMAP dairy products and knowing which to choose from can be quite the challenge. Meeting with a dietitian that is knowledgeable on this subject will not only reduce the stress around eating, but will provide you with many educational resources you can use in the future. Hopefully this blog gets you started on simplifying your shopping!

As a certified LEAP therapist, Dietitian Kathleen can help you solve your digestive difficulties with cutting edge research and state of the art protocols. Co-author of Cooking with Food Sensitivities Survival Guide.