Hands up if you know that almonds are high FODMAP. We thought you’d be on to it and know that FODMAP fact. Just because almonds are high FODMAP that doesn’t mean almond milk is off the table in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet. In this article we’re exploring the question – why is almond milk low FODMAP and looking at how manufacturing techniques can change FODMAP levels.
Let’s Look At Almonds
According to Monash University almonds can contain Galacto-oligosaccharides (galactans or GOS) which fall under oligosaccharides in the FODMAP acronym (1). This means during the first phase of the low FODMAP diet it’s recommended that you limit your serving to 10 almonds (this is a low FODMAP portion size) and avoid larger serves (1). The more almonds you eat the higher the FODMAP content will be.
So how is almond milk low FODMAP?
That is a great question. Almond milk is made by grinding the almonds, blending them with water, and then straining out the almond solids. This process creates a plant-based milk with a light nutty flavour and a creamy texture.
A fun fact for you is that most commercially made almond milks only contain 2% almonds. The rest of the almond content is strained away during the manufacturing process. This means in a 250ml (1 cup) serving size of almond milk you’d consume the approximate equivalent of 5g of almonds which is well within the low FODMAP serving size for almonds.
If you are making almond milk at home then be careful. Homemade almond milk can contain between 10 to 20% almonds. This means in a 250ml (1 cup) serving size of almond milk you’d consume the approximate equivalent of 25g to 50g of almonds. This could be a high FODMAP serving size.
The take-home message here is to use commercially made almond milk if you are in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet.
How do you choose a commercial brand of almond milk?
Check your almond milk for sneaky high FODMAP ingredients like fructose, inulin, agave syrup, high fructose corn syrup, molasses or honey. Avoid any brands containing these ingredients unless they have been certified by Monash FODMAP or FODMAP Friendly.
Do you need to buy calcium fortified almond milk?
It can be tempting to buy almond milk that is just made from almonds and water. However, almond milks like this will be much lower in calcium and could reduce your daily calcium intake.
Calcium is a super important nutrient for your body and we recommend choosing an almond milk that has been calcium fortified. It’s also important to note that almond milk is lower in protein than soy milk or cow’s milk so you may need to check you are getting enough protein from other sources.
According to Australian-based dietitian Joanna Baker (APD), “when choosing an alternative plant-based milk, look for something that is nutritionally similar to cow’s milk in terms of calcium and protein. Good nutritional benchmarks to look for are 120mg of calcium per 100ml serve, and 3g of protein per 100ml serve (you can find this info in the nutrition label).”
Any almond milk you make at home will not be calcium fortified unless you add calcium to your recipe.
Can you use almond milk in A Little Bit Yummy recipes?
Yes, you can! You can use almond milk in our recipes whenever we recommend ‘low FODMAP milk’. Just make sure you use plain unsweetened almond milk – if your plant-based milk contains vanilla or is sweetened it might alter the flavour of the recipe.
Are there other low FODMAP almond-based products?
If you are in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet you can enjoy:
- 10 almonds per serving (avoid larger serves)
- 1 tbsp of almond butter (avoid larger serves)
- 250ml (1 cup) of almond milk
You can find more information about the FODMAP content of foods in the Monash University FODMAP Diet App. To avoid FODMAP stacking we’d recommend you avoid dishes that contain both almonds and almond butter.
Almond milk can be on the menu when you are in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet. It’s the manufacturing process that makes commercially-made almond milk low FODMAP. Just remember to choose a brand that is calcium fortified and check the label for sneaky high FODMAP ingredients.