If you’re like me, then your sweet tooth rears its head after meal time or in the evenings. On a low FODMAP regimen, I try to stick to safe fruits to satisfy this craving like bananas, berries, or grapes, but sometimes it just doesn’t hit the mark. Here are some tips on how to enjoy a sweet treat without triggering digestive symptoms.
Keep Chocolate Dark
Milk chocolate and white chocolate can contain moderate amounts of lactose, which can trigger digestive symptoms. Therefore, stick to dark chocolate, which is low in lactose, and as a bonus contains lots of polyphenol antioxidants, like those that you would find in blueberries and acai berries. Check the label on chocolate treats. You are safe if they contain ingredients like cacao powder, cocoa butter, or milkfat since these are lactose-free.
Stick with Cane Sugar
Fructose and high fructose corn syrup are common ingredients in candy treats that can trigger digestive symptoms. Also, sugar alcohols, commonly found in sugar-free candy products, can cause abdominal cramps and diarrhea if eaten in excess, which is about 10-20 grams or more in a day. Surprisingly enough, natural sweetener options like agave and honey are high fructose, so should be avoided on a low FODMAP regimen. Therefore, stick to natural sugars like:
- cane sugar
- brown sugar
- coconut sugar
- palm sugar
For sugar-free treats, artificial sweeteners such as sucralose, acesulfame-K, and aspartame are ok. However, if you prefer a more natural sugar-free sweetener, reach for some stevia leaf.
Look out for concentrates
Some candies may be sweetened with fruit concentrates that provide a more natural sweet flavor. However, some of these concentrates may not be safe on a low FODMAP diet. Avoid any fruit concentrates.
If you stay clear of cashews and pistachios, you can go nuts for nuts in your sweet treats. Almonds and hazelnuts must be consumed in limited amounts of ten or less. However, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, and Brazil nuts, and their respective nut butter can be enjoyed without worry. Candies such as dark chocolate covered nuts, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, or cane sugar coated nuts are delicious examples of nutty low FODMAP candy treats.
Summary of low FODMAP safe candies
Taking all of these guidelines into consideration, here is a general list of candy that should be safe for most on a low FODMAP regimen:
- Dark chocolate (no high fructose corn syrup)
- Dextrose or cane sugar-based candy pieces
- Coconut milk-based candies like caramels or truffles
- Gummies made with safe sweeteners and starches such as sweet potato starch, grape juice, and berry concentrates
- Lollipops made from cane sugar syrup or dextrose
- Safe nut-based candy treats like peanut butter cups dipped in dark chocolate or nut clusters with coconut-cream based caramel
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.