Many people with IBS are unable to tolerate dairy. A low FODMAP diet limits or restricts lactose but presents the problem of what to substitute for dairy milk in your normal daily diet. Coconut milk is one dairy milk alternative, but is coconut milk low FODMAP and suitable for IBS?
Coconut Milk is Low FODMAP…usually
Coconut milk is a non-dairy milk alternative that’s made from the flesh of a coconut. In pure coconut milk, the only ingredient that’s added to the coconut is water. The flesh of the coconut is ground and combined with the water. It’s then pressed to separate out the solids. The result is a mixture of coconut milk and coconut cream, which has a higher fat content and separates from the milk.
Fresh coconut is a low FODMAP food in a ¾ cup serving. According to Monash University, pure coconut milk, where coconut and water are the only ingredients, is low FODMAP in a ½ cup serving.
When choosing low FODMAP coconut milk, it’s important to read the labels and to be able to identify which coconut milk products are low FODMAP and which are not.
If you’re using canned coconut milk, as the type typically found in the Asian or world-cuisine section of your grocery store, it’s best to consume a smaller ¼ cup portion. This is because larger portions, especially those that exceed the recommended ½ cup portion for regular coconut milk, have higher levels of sorbitol, which can cause issues for people with IBS.
When choosing coconut milk, you also want to make sure that you’re staying away from any sweeteners that aren’t approved for the FODMAP diet. Inulin, a substance that is a group of polysaccharides often extracted from chicory, is added to some brands of coconut milk.
To answer the question of is coconut milk low FODMAP, the answer is yes, unless non-FODMAP friendly ingredients have been added. Coconut milk works well in place of dairy milk, creamy, in some baked goods, and is a great milk alternative for those following the low-FODMAP diet.