When you start any new healthy eating regimen, you may get so caught in what you can eat and what you can’t, that you may forget about what you can drink. Of course, water is the ideal choice for a healthy beverage to keep you hydrated. However, sometimes you may just be in the mood for something flavored or sweetened to drink with meal time. In this case, you may reach for a soft drink. Now, when you hear the term soft drinks, carbonated beverages may come to mind. However, a soft drink can be just about any drink that has added carbonation, sweetener, or flavoring. Let’s explore some soft drink options that are safe and which are not on the low FODMAP diet.
Ingredients and drinks to avoid
It is important to read the label before taking a sip of any soft drink. Here are some common culprits in soft drinks that can cause digestive discomfort.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Agave Syrup
- Sugar alcohols like maltitol, xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, or lactitol
- Sweeteners like inulin or isomalt
Besides these common sweeteners, there are also more natural soft drinks that should be avoided. This includes any apple, pear, or mango juices or concentrates, coconut water, and more than about 3 ounces of orange juice. Also, if you drink any fruit juices in excess you may experience digestive symptoms, so consume in moderation.
Safe soft drinks on the low FODMAP diet
Now that you know which drinks to avoid, you may be wondering what is left for you to enjoy. The answer is lots of delicious and refreshing choices. Here are some low FODMAP friendly soft drink choices and what the Monash University serving size is.
- Espresso: 60 milliliters or 2 ounces.
- Instant coffee: 2 heaped teaspoons prepared.
- Protein powders: 2 tablespoons prepared with water or lactose-free milk. or plant-based milk of brown rice protein, pea protein powder, or whey protein isolate.
- Cocoa or cacao powder: 2 heaped teaspoons, prepared with lactose-free milk or plant-based milk.
- Juices: About eight ounces of cranberry juice, six ounces of tomato juice, or three ounces of orange juice.
- Tea: About eight ounces of black, peppermint, rooibos, white, or green tea, strong or weak; or eight ounces of weak chai or dandelion tea (weak tea will be placed in hot water until the water starts to turn color, then remove tea bag right away; do not allow to steep).
- Alcohol: No more than 12 ounces of beer, 1 ounce of liquor, or 4-5 ounces of wine daily.
- Flavored waters or lemonade: Infuse water with low FODMAP safe fruits like oranges, lime, lemon, or strawberries for a refreshing, fruity beverage. Lemonade is ok as long as you avoid sweeteners that are high FODMAP.
You may be wondering, what about carbonated beverages?
Although carbonation itself is technically low FODMAP, many carbonated beverages contain sweeteners that may not be such as high fructose corn syrup. These drinks, as well as coffee and some teas, also contain caffeine, which is a stimulant that can cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea in some people with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In addition, carbonation itself is not always tolerated well by those with digestive conditions like IBS since it can cause a buildup of gas in the stomach and intestines and cause bloating and abdominal cramping. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid those carbonated beverages with high FODMAP sweeteners, and to limit intake of those carbonated beverages that are technically low FODMAP like seltzer water, sparkling flavored water, and diet colas made with sweeteners like sucralose or stevia.
Take home message
Not all your low FODMAP beverage intake has to be water. However, if you decide to drink a non-water beverage, be sure to check the ingredients first before consuming. And if you are not sure what is in your beverage, it is best to just reach for a tall glass of water to be safe.
To find out what you can safely drink when you have IBS, check out our low FODMAP Teas, Beverages, & Soft Drinks grocery list here.