What Flours & Starches are Low FODMAP?
Understanding what flours are low FODMAP is important when creating delicious low FODMAP baking, or selecting safe gluten free bread. The purpose of this article, is to explore which flours and starches are safe for us to use during the elimination phase of the diet. Just remember that for your final end product to be low FODMAP, all ingredients must be low FODMAP. This is especially important because food processing can change FODMAP levels. As a general rule, gluten free flours tend to contain lower FODMAP levels, however, there are a couple of exceptions you need to know about.
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Quick Reference Table: Flours & Starches
|Low FODMAP Flours & Starches||High FODMAP Flours & Starches||Untested Flours|
|Almond Meal (less than ¼ cup per serve)||Almond Meal (at 1/2 cup serves)||Soy Flour (Suspected High FODMAP)|
|Arrowroot Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)||Amaranth Flour|
| Buckwheat Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
||Barley Flour||Chickpea/Besan Flour (Suspected High FODMAP)|
| Corn Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
||Chestnut Flour||Lentil/Gram Flour (Suspected High FODMAP)|
| Gluten Free Plain Flour made from rice, potato & tapioca (safe 2/3 cup)
|Green Banana Flour (safe 2/3 cup)||Einkorn Flour|
| Maize Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
|Millet Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)||Kamut (Khorasan) Flour|
|Organic Sieved Spelt Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)||Organic Spelt, White Spelt, Wholemeal Spelt|
| Quinoa Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
| Rice Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
| Sorghum Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
| Teff Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
| Yam Flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
|Maize Starch (safe serve 2/3 cup)|
|Potato Starch (safe serve 2/3 cup)|
|Tapioca Starch (safe serve 2/3 cup)|
(Table compiled from Monash University App, 2015)
Low FODMAP Flours & Starches
Almond Meal (FODMAP Content Varies)
Almond meal is made from either whole or blanched ground almonds (1). The FODMAP content of almond meal varies depending on the serving size. Almond meal is low FODMAP at a ¼ cup serve (24g or 0.85oz) (2). It becomes high FODMAP at larger ½ cup serves (48g or 1.7oz) (2). This means if you use 1 cup of almond meal in a recipe, you will need to divide the baking into at least four serves for it to be low FODMAP.
Buckwheat Flour (Low FODMAP)
Buckwheat flour is made from the ground seeds of the buckwheat plant (3). It is naturally gluten free and is closely related to rhubarb (3). According to Monash University buckwheat flour (both standard & wholemeal) is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2).
Corn Flour (Low FODMAP)
Corn flour or corn meal (also known as maize flour), is the whole corn kernel milled into flour. When corn flour is very coarse it is called polenta. In New Zealand, Australia, and UK the corn flour is actually corn starch and this is a different product (see maize starch). Corn flour is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2).
Maize Flour (Low FODMAP)
Maize flour is the entire corn kernel milled into flour. Maize flour when very coarse is called polenta, and when it is finely ground it is called flour. Maize flour is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2).
Maize Starch (Low FODMAP)
Maize starch is sometimes called corn starch, or corn flour depending on the country. It is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2). Corn flour in the UK, Australia and New Zealand is the same as corn starch in the USA (4). In some countries corn flour, can contain wheat, so when choosing a corn flour make sure it is made from maize and not wheat (4).
Millet Flour (Low FODMAP)
Millet flour is made by grinding the small seeded grains that come from several different genera of the grass family Poacea (5). Millet is naturally gluten free. According to Monash University millet flour is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2).
Organic Sieved Spelt Flour (Low FODMAP)
According to the latest Monash app update, organic sieved spelt flour is low FODMAP (2). This spelt flour is different to white spelt flour (this is sieved during the manufacturing process but is still high FODMAP). Unfortunately, I have not been able to find more information on organic sieved spelt flour, but I will let you know if and when I do. Alternatively if you have any information please contact me at [email protected] Organic sieved spelt flour is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2). Also remember that 2 slices of spelt sourdough bread, or ½ a cup of cooked spelt pasta, is low FODMAP (2). This means small amounts of spelt flour may be well tolerated.
Quinoa Flour (Low FODMAP)
Rice Flour (Low FODMAP)
Sorghum Flour (Low FODMAP)
Teff Flour (Low FODMAP)
Teff is a fine grain about the size of a poppy seed that is ground to make teff flour (9). It is naturally gluten free. According to Monash University teff flour is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2).
Yam Flour (Low FODMAP)
Potato Starch (Low FODMAP)
Potato starch is a very fine white powder, which is made from the dried starch component of peeled potatoes. Potato starch is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2).
Tapioca Starch (Low FODMAP)
Tapioca starch is also known as tapioca flour, and it is made from the cassava plant (Bob’s Red Mill, 2015). According to Monash University, tapioca starch is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves (2).
High FODMAP Flours
Amaranth Flour (High FODMAP)
Barley Flour (High FODMAP)
Einkorn Flour (High FODMAP)
Emmer Flour (High FODMAP)
Emmer is a type of wheat and also goes by the name of farro or hulled wheat. Emmer flour is high FODMAP (2).
Kamut (Khorasan) Flour (High FODMAP)
Lupin Flour (High FODMAP)
Although lupin flour is gluten free, it is high FODMAP. Lupin flour comes from the seeds of the common lupin garden plant, and it is related to the legume family (peanuts, lentils, beans, peas). Lupin flour is high FODMAP and needs to be avoided (2).
Rye Flour (High FODMAP)
Organic, White & Wholemeal Spelt Flour (High FODMAP)
Organic spelt flour, white spelt flour, and wholemeal spelt flour are all high FODMAP flours (2). Remember that 2 slices of spelt sourdough bread is low FODMAP and ½ a cup of cooked spelt pasta is low FODMAP (2). This means that even though spelt is high FODMAP, small amounts of spelt may be well tolerated.
Wheat flour (High FODMAP)
Wheat flour is the most commonly used flour and it does contain gluten. According to Monash University, wheat flour is high FODMAP at a serving size of 2/3 of a cup (100g or 3.53oz) (2). According to Monash University small amounts of wheat like that found in 2 biscuits, or ½ a cup of pretzels is low FODMAP (2). This means you may be able to tolerate small amounts of wheat during the elimination phase.
Coconut Flour (High FODMAP)
Coconut flour is a by-product of coconut milk production (18).
Coconut flour has been tested by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly and it is high FODMAP. The FODMAP Friendly app shows that coconut flour is high FODMAP for sorbitol at a 3 tablespoon serve (20). In large serves coconut flour contains high levels of GOS, fructan and excess fructose content as well as sorbitol.
Another potential issue with coconut flour is its fibre content. While fibre isn’t an issue on the low FODMAP diet, some types of fibre can aggravate IBS symptoms (read more here). According to research, coconut flour contains 60.9% total dietary fiber, 56.8% insoluble and 3.8% soluble. As I discussed in my article on low FODMAP fibre sources, insoluble fibre helps keep us regular. However, research also indicates that some IBS patients do not tolerate high levels of insoluble fibre (like bran), and that increasing the insoluble fibre in their diets could worsen IBS symptoms (21 22 23). This means that for some people with IBS coconut flour may not be a suitable option.
Flours with Unknown FODMAP Content
Soy Flour (Untested but Suspected High FODMAP)
Soy flour is made by roasting soy beans and then grinding them into flour (24). Soy beans are high FODMAP, and soy bean fibre contains the oligosaccharides that trigger our IBS symptoms (25). This means soy flour is likely to be high FODMAP, although it has not officially been tested by Monash University. This means you should avoid soy flour during the elimination phase.
There are a number of safe low FODMAP flours to choose from when making homemade baking. I enjoy using a commercial gluten free flour blend that contains several low FODMAP flours. Just remember when experimenting in the kitchen, that all your ingredients should be low FODMAP. This is to make sure your end product is low FODMAP. Once you finish the elimination phase, you might discover that you can add some high FODMAP flours back into your diet. For more helpful articles and low FODMAP information, please sign up to my newsletter or follow me on Facebook. Happy baking everyone.