There’s nothing better on a hot, summer day, or any day for that matter, than a scoop of cold and creamy ice cream. However, when you’re on the low FODMAP diet, which limits a lot of dairy, you may think that your ice cream days are over. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules and do some label reading, and you can enjoy ice cream whenever you want on the low FODMAP diet.
Common ice cream ingredients
Although ice cream comes in many different flavors, the foundation of pretty much every ice cream recipe consists of:
- Dairy products like milk and sometimes chocolate
- Milk proteins that ensure the production of small fat, air bubbles. This ingredient gives ice cream its creaminess.
- Sugar which gives ice cream its sweetness as well as controlling how much ice can form inside water crystals of ice cream during the freezing process.
- Fat which provides structure, flavor, creaminess, and stabilizes air bubbles.
- Stabilizers such as certain additives can help improve texture and structure.
- Air and ice which affect texture of ice cream since the smaller the ice crystals and air bubbles, the creamier the ice cream.
Some specific ice cream ingredients you may find on the label of ice cream products include:
- Cocoa butter
- Cocoa powder
- Corn syrup
- Vanilla extract
- Guar gum
- Carob bean gum
- Cellulose gum
In addition to these common ice cream ingredients, you may also find artificial flavors, colorings, and salt. No to mention that in some low sugar or sugar-free ice cream products, you may find sugar alcohols instead of sugar for sweetness.
High FODMAP ice cream ingredients
When you’re looking for an ice cream product that’s low FODMAP-friendly, it’s important to limit or avoid the following ingredients.
- Regular milk: Some people may be able to consume milk in moderation safely without symptoms. However, the high fat content of whole milk may not be tolerated by those with fat sensitivities or malabsorption issues like those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). According to Monash University, you may not have to avoid milk completely unless you are lactose intolerant too. And even then, some studies have shown that some people with lactose intolerance may be able to tolerate two cups of milk a day without symptoms. Although this may not be true for everyone, so consume with caution.
- Buttermilk: Just ¼ cup contains moderate amounts of lactose, while 1 cup contains high levels of lactose.
- Cream: One-fourth cup of pure, regular fat cream contains moderate amounts of lactose. Two tablespoons of thickened, regular fat cream contains moderate amounts of lactose.
- Custard: One-fourth cup of custard contains moderate amounts of lactose, while one-third cup or more contains high amounts of lactose.
- Yogurt: Just 3 tablespoons of regular yogurt contains moderate amounts of lactose.
- Soy milk made with soy beans: Only ½ cup of this milk contains high levels of galacto oligo saccharides.
- Honey: Any more than one teaspoon of honey is considered moderate to high FODMAP.
Besides these ingredients, you should also avoid any ice cream products that contain high FODMAP sugar alcohols like xylitol or sorbitol as well as high FODMAP fruits like apples, mangoes, or cherries.
Choosing low FODMAP ice cream ingredients
On the other hand, focus on finding ice creams products with the following ingredients that are low FODMAP friendly. The Monash-approved, low FODMAP-friendly serving sizes are in parentheses.
- Lactose-free milk or yogurt (FODMAPs not detected in this food product)
- Coconut milk powder (1 tablespoon)
- Almond milk (1 cup)
- Coconut milk (1/4 cup)
- Coconut milk yogurt (4 ounces)
- Macadamia nut milk (1 cup)
- Rice milk (3/4 cup)
- Soy milk made with soy protein (1 cup)
- Butter (FODMAPs not detected in this food)
- Coconut oil (FODMAPs not detected in this food)
- Cane, brown, palm, or raw sugar (1/4 cup)
Besides the ingredients listed, you are also safe consuming low FODMAP fruits, spices, and herbs such as strawberries, cinnamon, or mint leaves, to name a few. Learn more about low FODMAP friendly fruits and herbs on the Casa de Sante grocery shopping list.
Take home message
Just because you’re on the low FODMAP diet that restricts dairy, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy ice cream. In fact, there are many dairy-free ice cream options becoming available everyday that taste just as delicious and sweet as traditional ice cream. For more information on low FODMAP diet tips, be sure to visit the Casa de Sante website.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD of LighttrackNutrition.com