Medically Reviewed by: Nicole Anne Vergara, RD
There is a lot of information regarding all the food items that you need to consume and avoid with IBS, but you might have noticed that there aren't a lot of data about what to drink. This is common especially when IBS patients are looking for alternatives to dairy products that are high in lactose.
If you really love milk and you have just been recently diagnosed with IBS, I know you're definitely looking for more products that you can drink without worrying about your flare-ups. In this article, we have gathered the best and healthiest milk alternatives that you can safely consume even with IBS!
The 7 Healthiest Milk Alternatives for IBS
Are you ready to stock up your fridge with the safest dairy free alternatives that you can drink or add to your meals? Let's start the list now!
Technically, lactose-free milk is cow's milk without lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products, and people with lactose intolerance cannot digest it. Lactose-free milk has the same nutritional value as regular milk but is easier for those with lactose intolerance to digest. It can be found in most grocery stores and comes in a variety of different flavors, so you can easily find these anytime.
This is honestly the best milk that you can consume for IBS in terms of being nutritionally adequate. You can consume this milk even in large servings of 250 mL or 1 cup safely, without any worries. However, if you are still having some issues with taking lactose-free milk and you have been getting diarrhea or abdominal pain, you may want to visit your doctor or dietitian for other remedies and alternatives
Hemp milk is a plant-based milk made from hemp seeds. It is a dairy-free and nut-free alternative to cow's milk and other plant-based milk like almond or soy milk. It has a slightly nutty flavor and contains healthy fats, proteins, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. Hemp milk can be used in smoothies, cereal, baking recipes, and more.
IBS patients can try to make this dairy-free milk by mixing water and hemp seeds. This Low FODMAP milk is also great for people who are allergic to nuts. You can take this milk safely in 250 mL or 1 cup.
Coconut milk is a dairy-free alternative to cow's milk. It is made by blending the meat of a mature coconut with water. It has a creamy texture and a mild, sweet flavor that makes it a popular choice for smoothies, coffee drinks, curries, and many other recipes. Coconut milk is also high in vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent source of nutrition.
It is important to know that there are different types of coconut milk and not all of them are low in FODMAP. Monash University mentioned that UHT coconut milk that comes in 125 mL is low in FODMAPs. Take note of the amounts because 150 mL of UHT milk contains moderate FODMAPs and 250 mL contains high FODMAPs.
Almond milk is a non-dairy beverage made from ground almonds and water. It has a nutty flavor and is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals to make it nutritionally similar to cow's milk. Almond milk is popular among those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, as it contains no animal products. It can be used in many recipes as a substitute for dairy milk.
Kefir is a fermented probiotic drink made with kefir grains. It is a traditional food that has been around for centuries and is thought to have originated in the Caucasus Mountains. Kefir contains beneficial bacteria, yeasts, and minerals that can help improve digestion, boost immunity, and promote overall health. It also has a tart flavor similar to yogurt or buttermilk.
Macadamia has a creamy texture and nutty flavor and is an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. It's also lactose-free and dairy-free, making it a great alternative for those with dietary restrictions. Macadamia milk can be used in coffee, smoothies, baking recipes, oatmeal, and more especially for your Low FODMAP diet.
According to Monash University, a person with IBS can take Macadamia milk safely without feeling any IBS symptoms in 250 mL or 1 cup of serving.
Rice milk is plant-based milk made from cooked rice and water. It has a light, slightly sweet flavor that works well in smoothies, baking, and other recipes. Rice milk is also low in fat and calories compared to other kinds of milk. It's an excellent alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan.
Before, rice milk was believed to be high in FODMAPs, but according to a recent study and testing by Monash University, it has been proven that rice milk is low in FODMAPs. If you're taking rice milk, the safe serving size is about 200 mL because higher servings may contain higher levels of fructans.
What Milks Are High in FODMAPs?
Now that we have discussed the safe milk alternatives that you may take, let's check out the dairy beverages that you should avoid with IBS.
Cow milk contains lactose, a type of carbohydrate that is high in FODMAPs. This means that it can cause digestive issues for people who are sensitive to FODMAPs. Additionally, cow milk also contains other types of carbohydrates such as galactooligosaccharides and polysaccharides which are also high in FODMAPs. Therefore, those with sensitivities should limit their consumption of cow milk.
Oat milk is high in FODMAPs because it contains fermentable carbohydrates, fructans, and galactooligosaccharides. These carbohydrates are not easily digested by the body, leading to digestive issues for those with irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive disorders. Additionally, oats contain a high amount of beta-glucan, which can also contribute to increased bloating and gas.
Goat milk is high in FODMAPs because it contains significant amounts of lactose, a type of sugar that can be difficult for some people to digest. Additionally, goat milk typically contains more short-chain carbohydrates than cow’s milk, which can cause digestive issues for those with IBS. For this reason, many people with IBS find that goat milk may be easier to digest than cow’s milk.
Soy Milk (Made from Whole Soy Beans)
Whole soy bean soy milk has a high FODMAP content. In the USA and the UK, this kind of soy milk is popular. The milk will have a high FODMAP content if the ingredient list includes "whole soy beans."
Need Help In Looking for Other IBS-Safe Food Items?
Speak to professionals who know exactly how to help you manage your IBS symptoms. Our team of GI clinicians and dietitians are here to help you, any time of the day! Casa De Sante offers flexible lifestyle and nutrition therapies aiming to help IBS patients have a better quality of life.
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