What is a Low FODMAP Diet?

If you’re new to the low FODMAP diet, it is an elimination diet to help those suffering from IBS symptoms. 

While following a low FODMAP diet entails eliminating potential food triggers, it does not have to restrict the ability to incorporate flavorful foods into the diet. Clients following a low FODMAP diet need to become creative experts in substituting ingredients. This is particularly relevant for salad dressings that contain many ingredients, but also ingredients that may trigger unwanted digestive symptoms in IBS individuals. 

When looking for a salad dressing, which is extremely difficult because of the garlic and onion presence, there are some heavy hitters you will want to check for. 

Label Reading Tips

  • Natural flavors in quantities less than 2% that contain high FODMAP ingredients do not need to be avoided. It will be such a minute amount in the final product it is very unlikely it will trigger symptoms. 
  • If the label says “spices”, it cannot contain garlic and onion per labeling guidelines in the US. 
  • Ingredient labels are organized by which food ingredient takes up the largest volume in the product.  So, for a salad dressing such as a vinaigrette, the oil and vinegar will be placed first as that’s the majority of the product! If you find garlic or onion at the end of the ingredient list, there is a chance it will not trigger symptoms.
  • If honey and agave are on a label, look at the sugar content. If the sugar content is less than 7 grams then it is low FODMAP. This is based on the fact that 1 tsp of honey and agave are low FODMAP, and 1 tsp =6 grams of sugar. 

Here is an example of a label that garlic is very far down the list and I have seen my clients tolerate the product. The likelihood that there is 1 full garlic clove (the high FODMAP serving) in an individual salad dressing serving is quite low. However, because there is no low FODMAP serving of garlic, it is best to proceed with caution and ask your dietitian before trying it. 

Tolerance of certain ingredients, onset of various GI symptoms, and severity of symptoms vary from person to person. Portion sizes may also affect tolerance and symptoms. If you are on the elimination phase of the diet and know you are extremely sensitive, it is best to avoid any garlic/onion on ingredient labels.  

Let’s dive into some purchasable low FODMAP salad dressings you can use during your elimination phase of the diet so you don’t have to spend hours in the store. 

Certified low FODMAP Salad Dressings

FODY Foods

  • Balsamic
  • Caesar
  • Maple Dijon
  • Garden Herb
  •  

Unfortunately, the salad dressing world has yet to catch up to the low FODMAP world. Certified low FODMAP salad dressings only exist from one company so keep that in mind if you’re in a rush or on the go. FODY products have become more widely available in grocery stores but if you’re unable to find them, you can purchase FODY products online*

 

Non-Certified low FODMAP Dressings to Try

Since the options for a certified low FODMAP dressing are minimal, here are some dressings worth trying that would likely not trigger IBS symptoms. Proceed with caution since they are not guaranteed safe by any certification program. 

Annie’s Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • Honey is low FODMAP at a portion size of 1 tsp. As the 4th ingredient on the label, and the nutrition facts showing only 1 gram of sugar, it is likely that the honey is a very small portion size that it would not trigger symptoms. 

Hidden Valley Coleslaw Salad Dressing

Kens Red Wine Vinaigrette

  • This dressing has high FODMAP ingredients in quantities less than 2% so it is unlikely to trigger symptoms. 

ingredients in kens red wine vinaigrette

Woodside Kitchen Lemon Herb Dressing

Soy Vay Toasted Sesame Dressing

  • This dressing works great with an Asian inspired salad that contains cabbage for extra crunch. Throw some steamed shrimp on it and you have a well-balanced meal!

 

Because the list of certified and non-certified products is quite small, I usually suggest my client’s make their own dressing at home. It’s not as hard as you would think, plus you likely have most ingredients on hand! As a general tip, store your dressings in the refrigerator to last longer. I like to make my dressings in mason jars to simplify storage and cleanup. 

How Can I Make My Own low FODMAP Dressing?

When making your own salad dressing at home, you’ll need to be aware of the substitutions available in order to control your digestive symptoms. Keep these in mind the next time you see a salad dressing recipe that isn’t explicitly labeled low FODMAP!

Common substitutes to make a dressing low FODMAP at home:

  • Honey or agave→ maple syrup or sugar
  • High fructose corn syrup→ maple syrup or sugar
  • Garlic powder→ garlic infused oil 
  • Onion powder→ onion infused oil
  • Onion→ green part of green onion
  • Cow’s milk→ lactose-free cow’s milk

10 Homemade Low FODMAP Salad Dressings

Following a low FODMAP diet may come with trials and tribulations. However, these easy-to-prepare salad dressings provide yummy alternatives to many store-bought options without sacrificing flavor. Practice identifying potential ingredients that are not low FODMAP friendly such as fructose, lactose, garlic, etc. Remember, portion sizes may affect tolerance on a low FODMAP diet!

For more low FODMAP recipes, check out the following articles: 

 

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.