You might be wondering if following a low FODMAP diet means giving up your love of cheese. While many dairy products are high FODMAP, cheese isn’t automatically excluded from a low FODMAP diet. Here is a list of low FODMAP cheese you can continue to enjoy, along with information on how to identify FODMAP-friendly cheeses on your own.
Choosing Low FODMAP Cheese
Lactose is a FODMAP, leading many to believe that all dairy foods are high FODMAP simply because they contain some level of lactose. The reality is that this isn’t always the case. Some dairy foods are higher in lactose and FODMAPs than others. Milk, for example, has a high lactose content, making it unsuitable for a low FODMAP diet.
Cheeses are another story. The lactose content in cheese varies depending on how the cheese is processed and aged. Cheeses that are aged naturally have a lower lactose level and are tolerated by most people who follow a low FODMAP diet.
Before we go into detail about which cheeses are low FODMAP and which are not, you need to know how to identify low FODMAP cheese on your own, even if you don’t have this list at hand.
When you look at the nutrition label on cheese, it doesn’t tell you how much lactose it has, but it will tell you how much sugar is present in each serving. Unless a cheese has been flavored, as is often the case with cheese spreads and cream cheese, the only sugar in cheese is lactose. You can identify a low FODMAP cheese simply by looking at the grams of sugar per serving.
Hard, naturally-aged cheeses have negligible amounts of sugar, usually 0.5g or less per serving. Fresh, unripened cheeses usually have around 5g of sugar or less per serving. This is the threshold for the low FODMAP diet. At 5g of sugar per serving, the cheese is still considered a low FODMAP food, but you want to be strict about adhering to portion sizes. Cheeses in the 5g of sugar range are considered moderate FODMAP foods.
Any cheese that is higher than this, especially cheese that has added ingredients and flavorings that drive up the sugar content, needs to be avoided on the low FODMAP diet.
Low FODMAP Cheese List
These cheese are approved for the low FODMAP diet. Lactose content listed is for a 40g serving, or just under 1.5 ounces. Also note that with the variety of cheeses available, this list is not exhaustive. Checking labels will open up a world of cheese options for you.
0.5g or less
0.1g - 0.46g
0.1g - 0.46g
0.1g - 0.49g
1.9g - 2.67g
Always check the label with cream cheese and avoid any products with fruit added.
2.5g - 3.76 g
Always check the label, especially if flavored or a “light” variety
1.43g or less
0.1g - 4.09g
Lactose content varies due to processing procedures. Always check the label before purchasing or consuming.
2.22g or less
0.27g - 2.0g
0.2g - 0.73g
0.1g or less
Low FODMAP cheese is a healthy and delicious addition to your low FODMAP diet. The portion size is key, but there are many kinds of cheese that you can enjoy in moderation while living a low FODMAP lifestyle. The next time someone passes the cheese tray, don’t be afraid to indulge in a little nibble.