Low FODMAP milk alternatives

Written by Sophie Claessens, RD

Low FODMAP milk alternatives

Milk and plant-based milk alternatives are often a staple in our diet and can be an important source of nutrients including protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals, but which low FODMAP milk alternatives are the best? The good news is that there are a number of options to choose from. Here’s the lowdown on how to choose your milk and alternatives whilst following the low FODMAP diet. Scroll down for a handy table to see your options at-a-glance.

Plant-based milk alternatives

There’s a huge range of plant-based milks available these days, which is great for those looking to reduce their dairy consumption for ethical, environmental or other reasons. Health-wise, plant-based milk alternatives tend to be lower in energy, saturated fat, protein, calcium and other vitamin and mineral contents than traditional cow’s milk, so careful planning is important when choosing your milk alternative.

Organic milk alternatives do not contain added vitamins and minerals

Did you know that vitamins and minerals are not allowed to be added to organic product ingredient formulas? Bear this in mind when choosing your milk alternative products. You may like to choose a fortified milk alternative for this reason.

Which milk alternatives are low FODMAP?

Soya milk

The FODMAP content of plant-based milk alternatives varies from product to product. Soya milk made from soyabeans (as in the UK), is high in FODMAPs at a volume of 40ml or more – not much considering we typically add about 60ml per cup of tea!

Oat and hemp milk (in moderation)

Oat and hemp milk can be enjoyed in volumes of 140ml which is just less than what we’d typically add to our porridge or cereal in the morning so these can be enjoyed in moderation.

The best Low FODMAP milk alternatives: Nut, rice, coconut and quinoa milk

The best Low FODMAP milk alternatives are nut milks including almond, cashew and hazelnut, rice milk, quinoa milk and coconut milk which can all be enjoyed in volumes of 200ml or more.

A note on animal milks

Cow and goat’s milk

Although dairy-free milk alternatives are growing in popularity, cow’s milk is still the most widely used milk on the market (1). Goats milk is less popular but has a similar nutrient profile to cow’s milk. They’re both an excellent source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin and phosphorous (2) but they also contain lactose which is a FODMAP. So unfortunately, your standard animal milk is off limits on the low FODMAP diet unless you’re working with a dietitian who has recommended that you continue to include lactose in your diet.

What about lactose-free cow’s milk?

The good news is that lactose can be removed from cow’s milk. Lactose-free cow’s milk is widely available from most large supermarkets now with the same great taste as normal milk. So you can enjoy the creamy, delicious flavour of milk in your usual diet without it upsetting your symptoms.

So which Low FODMAP milk alternatives should I try?

See which milk and milk alternative options are suitable at-a-glance in the table below

 Low FODMAPHigh FODMAP
Soya milk 
Nut milk (including almond, hazelnut and cashew)  
Oat milk (up to 140ml) 
Hemp milk (up to 120ml) 
Quinoa milk 
Rice milk 
Cow’s milk
Lactose-free cow’s milk
Goat’s milk

Do I need to see a dietitian?

It is recommended that those following the Low FODMAP diet are supported by a registered dietitian (3). If you’re considering following the Low FODMAP diet, or you’re already following it and you’re finding it overwhelming, get in touch with Sophie, our Digestive Health and IBS specialist dietitian who can guide you through the process in a safe and enjoyable way.

This information was correct at time of writing in February 2024. FODMAP research is continually changing and so guidance may change over time. The best up to date source of information on FODMAP contents of foods can be found on the Monash University Low FODMAP app.

References:

  1. UK Dairy and Dairy Alternatives Market Report 2021. Available online at: https://store.mintel.com/report/uk-dairy-and-dairy-alternatives-drinks-milk-and-cream-market-report-2021
  2. Dairy benefits; August 2019. Lucy Jones, Registered Dietitian. Available online at: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/dairy-benefits.html
  3. Starting the Low FODMAP Diet. Monash University website. Available online at: https://www.monashfodmap.com/ibs-central/i-have-ibs/starting-the-low-fodmap-diet/

Fresh Approach Nutrition

Our team of registered dietitians help people in Bristol and across the UK to overcome their struggles with food and to achieve their dietary goals.

We aim to cut through the confusion of dietary advice on the internet and in the media, and to give our clients the fresh approach they need to see real results.