Throughout my FODMAP journey, there has always been one thing I steadfastly refuse to give up. Naturally, that thing is coffee. I love my morning espresso and I would struggle to get through the day without it. So today we’re asking: is coffee low FODMAP?
Before we begin, a quick note. This information is intended to aid you on your FODMAP journey on a day to day basis. It is not intended to diagnose or treat. If you are experiencing digestive symptoms, discuss them with a doctor or a qualified health professional.
Is coffee low FODMAP?
Yes, coffee is low FODMAP. As far as I can ascertain, coffee itself does not contain FODMAPs. However, there are a number of caveats to this.
Firstly, caffeine is considered a gut irritant and it stimulates gut motility. As such, coffee can cause digestive symptoms that are separate to FODMAP concerns.
Secondly, this pertains to plain coffee (regular and decaf) with a low FODMAP milk. It does not encompass coffee drinks that are popular with added sweeteners and flavourings.
Is espresso low FODMAP?
Yes. Both a single and double shot espresso are considered low FODMAP. Keep in mind that coffee can irritate the gut and stimulate gut motility, separate to the issue of FODMAPs.
Is black coffee low FODMAP?
Yes, black coffee is low FODMAP. Keep in mind that coffee can irritate the gut and stimulate gut motility, separate to the issue of FODMAPs.
Is decaf coffee low FODMAP?
Yes, decaf coffee is low FODMAP. I couldn’t find much information as to whether decaf is less problematic than regular coffee in terms of stimulating gut motility. However, Monash sites a small study that found decaf may be less of a motility stimulant than regular coffee.
Is instant coffee low FODMAP?
Yes, instant coffee (both regular and decaf) is considered low FODMAP. Monash lists a low FODMAP serving as 4g or 1 heaped teaspoon mixed with 230ml water. Keep in mind that coffee can irritate the gut and stimulate gut motility, separate to the issue of FODMAPs.
Another thing to consider, if you are coeliac or on a gluten free diet, is that instant coffee brands can contain gluten. Make sure you read the labels and choose a gluten free option if necessary.
Is chicory coffee low FODMAP?
No, coffee and tea containing chicory are not low FODMAP. Although Monash does not list chicory coffee specifically, chicory contains inulin which is high FODMAP. Coffee and tea containing chicory are best avoided while on the low FODMAP diet.
Are coffee syrups low FODMAP?
This answer depends on which brand you buy. Ingredients to look out for include high fructose corn syrup, fructose, inulin and fruit juices from high FODMAP fruits, to name just a few.
A number of artificial ‘sugars’ are also higher FODMAP. These include sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and isomalt. There is anecdotal evidence that sucralose, although low FODMAP, can cause digestive upset in some people.
Of the few sugar free brands I looked at, some contained sucralose and some contained ‘thickeners’. Although not specified, inulin (a high FODMAP ingredient) can be used as a thickener. As such, I’d be wary of any brands that have thickener in the ingredients list.
Some varieties of coffee syrups that appear to be low FODMAP include Monin and Torani. I would recommend choosing the regular variety (as opposed to sugar free) and to keep the flavours basic/low FODMAP. For example: peach might be higher FODMAP if it contains real peach juice.
Low FODMAP milk options for coffee
One of the ways that coffee can become higher FODMP is the milk used (if any). As such, I thought it would be helpful to list the milk options that are low FODMAP.
- Lactose free full cream milk is low FODMAP and Monash does not list an upper limit
- Lactose free light milk is low FODMAP and Monash does not list an upper limit
- Almond milk is low FODMAP in 240g serves
- Oat milk (British) is low FODMAP in 140g (1/2 cup) serves
- Oat milk outside of Britain (Monash doesn’t specify where or what brand) is low FODMAP in 104g or 6 tablespoon serves. I have more information on oat milk in this post.
- Hemp milk (British) is low FODMAP in 120g (1/2 cup) serves
- Rice milk is low FODMAP and Monash does not list an upper limit
- Macadamia milk is low FODMAP in 240g (1 cup) serves. Monash does not list an upper limit
- Soy milk made from soy protein (as opposed to whole beans) is low FODMAP in 257g serves (1 cup).
- Regular canned coconut milk is low FODMAP in 60g serves. It becomes moderate for sorbitol in 120g serves.
- Light canned coconut milk is low FODMAP in 60g serves. Monash does not list an upper limit.
Low FODMAP sweetener options for coffee
- Regular sugar (caster, white, light brown, dark brown)
- Simple syrup (a mix of sugar and water)
- Palm sugar
- Stevia powder
- Maple syrup
- Rice malt syrup
Higher FODMAP sweeteners
- Sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and isomalt
- Molasses in servings larger than 5g or 1 teaspoon (fructans and fructose)
- Golden syrup in servings larger than 7g or 1 teaspoon (fructans)
- Barley malt extract in servings larger than 12g or 1/2 tablespoon (fructans)
- Agave syrup (light and dark) in servings larger than 2-3 teaspoons (fructans and fructose)
- Jaggery in servings larger than 12g or 1/2 tablespoon (fructans)
- Coconut sugar in servings larger than 4g of 1 teaspoon (fructans)
Low FODMAP recipes that use coffee
Now that we’ve discussed IBS, coffee and FODMAPs, let’s chat recipes. Here are a few delicious low FODMAP recipes that utilise coffee to enhance their flavour.
Easy gluten free chocolate cake
One of my easiest recipes to make, this gluten free chocolate cake uses a single flour (no blends and no xanthan gum). It is easy, delicious and made even better with a small amount of coffee to enhance the chocolate flavour.
Gluten free vegan chocolate cake
I couldn’t forget our vegan friends, of course! This cake is made in the same style as the original above. However, it uses tapioca flour in addition to rice flour to replicate elasticity and binding from eggs. Coffee, again, adds a deeply chocolate flavour.
Gluten free, lactose free tiramisu
This delicious tiramisu is every bit as good as the classic – sans gluten or lactose. Coffee, booze, cream and carbs = a match made in heaven.
Flourless, nut free chocolate cake
This flourless, nut free chocolate cake came about when I forgot to add almond meal to a cake. The result was delicious, hence the recipe. Coffee adds another layer of flavour and nuance to this super rich torte style cake.