With all the rain we are having in the Boston area, a nice cup of warm something sounds pretty relaxing.
But, ingredients in a warm cup of relaxing and soothing tea, can make a difference for those with IBS or FODMAP sensitivities!
Tea, coffee and cocoa are some of the recent products tested by Monash University. And the testing resulted in a few surprises!Most of the teas tested had polyols, fructans and GOS. But some had low enough amounts to be deemed low FODMAP.
The lowest FODMAP tea options include:
- Peppermint tea
- Green tea
- White tea
- Black tea
HIGH FODMAP teas:
- Fennel tea
- Chamomile tea
With the total FODMAP cut off per meal being 0.5 gram, Chamomile tea hit the o.8 g mark in one serving of tea and Fennel had a bit more!
Dandelion and Chai tea were under the 0.5 gram mark but a bit higher than the lowest FODMAP options.
Oolong tea was in the moderate to high zone, so perhaps a 1/2 cup of this tea might be okay but would not have a full tea cup.
Instant coffee registered high in FODMAPs (about 1.0 grams per serving…again, the cut off is 0.5 grams) while espresso was low FODMAP (YAY!!) Carob powder registered VERY high FODMAP too. Cocoa powder was high FODMAP Boo!;( in servings > 3 teaspoons.
But of course, listen to your body, tolerance to FODMAPs is individual.
UPDATE: the latest published data from Monash can be found here!
82 replies on “Tips on Tea for the FODMAP crowd“
This is so surprising to see fennel tea as high fodmap since its been highly suggested to help aid in IBS and gas symptoms. My nutritionist who encouraged me to go on a low fodmap diet even suggested it for symptoms. Any thoughts?
Thanks so much.
Hi Loren, I would follow up with your nutritionist and let he/she know about these new findings about FODMAP content in these teas. This is very new info and many people don’t know about fennel and chamomile tea being high in FODMAPs.
Fennel tea is made from the leaves of Foeniculum vulgare.
Licorice tea is made from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra.
Fennel tea is high FODMAP & Licorice tea, for me, causes no reaction.
Chamomile Tea is high Fodmaps but I do fine with it. I also drink Marshmallow Root/leaves Tea for IC with no problems. Ginger Tea works for me too. I used to drink Fennel Tea pre-Fodmap diet but haven’t tested it again yet.
Hi there, thanks for the really helpful post! I’m a coffee lover who’s managed to reduce the habit to one cup of instant decaff in the morning.. I just can’t live without that coffee taste first thing. I’m just wondering if decaff is any better than regular instant coffee. The only other option would be to swap to expresso I guess. Looking on the bright side it’s a good reason to go shopping for a new coffee machine I guess! Caroline
Caroline, Not sure if decaf vs regular is different from a FODMAP perspective. I do love my coffee in the morning too.
Thanks for this! It’s weird that green (unoxidised) and black (oxidised) tea is fine but oolong (semi-oxidised) is on the high side. Wonder if they’ll get round to testing pu-erh someone.
I have found all aged/ oxidized teas problematic… Especially Pu-erh.
Checking the Monash app, as with many items, amount matters.
“Tea, black, strong, made up with water” – “1 mug made with 1 teabag” is given a Yellow stoplight.
Green & white tea, brewed strong & any amount, gives me no issues. With black tea being a pesky, hidden problem for me.
Hi, this is really useful, thank you. I drink a lot of herbal teas and wondered if liquorice or nettle tea have been tested? Are fruit teas ok? I also enjoy ‘chocolate’ flavour tea which is made with cocoa shells but presumably this is high in FODMAPs based on this research! I’m really shocked by camomile tea – I drink loads of it as I always thought it helped an upset stomach! I never really liked it so won’t mind abandoning it…
Nicole, I am not sure about cocoa shells. Different parts of the cocoa bean likely would produce different results. Remember we are all a bit different and sometimes what works for one doesn’t for another. But it is so interesting. I don’t believe we have any info on nettle or licorice tea.
Thanks very much for this post. The only herb tea I drink is the Yogi Sweet Chai, do you reckon I should be cautious with this? (Still struggling to get symptoms under control and also treating SIBO) The ingredients are: Anise (33%), Fennel (21%), Licorice (19%), Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves. Perhaps with fennel being a large constituent I should be careful…don’t like/tolerate any other herb teas though and have tried so many over the years! On average I have 2 cups of the Sweet Chai daily…
I would be careful as fennel is quite high especially since you still have symptoms and SIBO.
Thank you Kate. Are you able to tell me which fodmap fennel is particularly high in, was it fructans? I guess if anise and licorice have also not been tested they may also be problematic. Don’t know what other herb tea to try now, as I try to only have one cup black tea and one espresso coffee per day so as not to overdo caffeine. Most other herb teas, esp anything with mint in, make my tummy burn. Will have to experiment more perhaps! Anyways thanks for replying and for the great info!
Was there any difference in Decaf teas vs. Caf? Chamomile has always bothered me, so now I know why. Drink a Chai now and then and manage through it, but I can tell it isn’t great! Hurray for Espresso … Just got a Nespresso machine and love it!! Thank you for the info. Keep it coming.
This is SO interesting! I always had a bad stomach reaction to both chai and chamomile tea and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me! The cocoa powder is a death sentence, though. I’m wondering how that corresponds to chocolate? Hmmm…
Well, Kim, I am hoping the chocolate will be okay or at least lower in FODMAPs compared to the cocoa. Cocoa has a fair amount of fiber and it’s the fiber component that contains the FODMAPs(fructans and GOS) Try choosing chocolate with low levels of fiber that may lower intake of FODMAPs.
Any ideas on Rooibos tea-the ordinary ‘redbush’+’green’ rooibos? and ‘Honeybush’?
Ann, I don’t know about rooibos tea. There was no mention of it in the materials I received from Monash University researchers.
I hope rooibos gets tested eventually. It’s my favorite tea, but I’ve got a bad feeling it may be a FODMAP source. =/
Cocoa?! Say it isn’t so! Good thought on the fiber, I wonder if that puts baking chocolate safe?
What about Red Raspberry leaves tea?
Is it a low-FODMaP food?
Not sure Terri. They do have a tea category called, “infused herbal tea (fruit, flowers and spice)” and those teas measured in moderate category.
Glad peppermint tea is low! I actually had chamomile tea just last week (before reading this) and definitely had some pain – interesting to now see it on the high fodmap list.
I am addicted to Starbucks and Tazo Chai Lattes and thought maybe I could make my own blend of tea since I have a chai cookbook. Now I am wondering if it is more the milk than the tea, or both. I have been trying to get by without the tea for the past week but it’s been tough without my kickstarter in the am. I have tried using almond milk instead of regular but it tastes too different.
Cate, Almond milk probably NOT best substitute –preliminary testing–not definitive shows its high in FODMAPs. Can you do lactaid milk?
Thanks again for your outstanding blog!
Is there any way for the average Joe, such as myself and your readers (and many others!), to subscribe to these data that you’re getting from Monash?
Thanks for helping make these data more widely known!
Louis, you can get data from Monash via their journal articles which require some understanding of medical jargon and food analysis. There are 3 published studies that provide their scientific review of foods to my knowledge. The Monash app is available and much easier to use if you have an iPad, iPod or iPhone. The android version I have heard is due out the end of July. To obtain the articles you often need to pay a fee: Here is the grain study on mendeley:
and the abstract for the fructose/fructan content of fruits/veg: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17625872
and more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19123815
If you search online-you may find you find the whole article, which you will need to see to the food composition info.
Thanks so much for the detailed reply! (Sorry for my late reply; there seems to have been an issue with my subscription to the comments; resolved now I think.) I’m anxiously awaiting their Android app!
I have been researching the FODMAP diet since seeing my gastroenterology surgeon this afternoon. I have found much contradictory information. For example, the Standord University site recommended almond milk. Now I see a post saying that it is not recommended. How is one to navigate the guidelines if a dietitian well versed in the diet is not available? Which food list would you recommend as the best authority?
Hi Paula, the diet is still evolving as food analysis is time consuming and expensive. Monash University is doing the food analysis primarily so I like their iPhone app as a reliable FODMAP food source. I follow the researchers closely and use their info in my own practice with IBS clients with excellent success. Almond milk is a grey area–they only have tested it once and preliminary results look like it won’t be suitable on the low FODMAP diet.
I also follow the iPhone app, but there seems to be alot of things they need to update RE: teas and almond milk. I’ve been GF for 10 years so I bake alot with almond meal. What is your thoughts on almond meal? I’m thinking that the soaking process may change something in the almond? I’m also seeing alot of different tests for cashews, do you believe they are safe? And alot of lists state dark chocolate is ok, do we check the ingredient list for milk proteins, are they safe or not? And what about organic 100% cacao powder is that different to drinking cocoa? And carob in all forms is bad?
Koren, The testing for FODMAPs in foods is expensive (about $5000 AUD) per food and time consuming–about 3 weeks for each food. And Monash Uni is doing the bulk of this testing. I would imagine they are very, very busy. I expect they will update the app soon. I don’t believe they have tested almond meal but since >10 almonds are high FODMAP, I would imagine that meal is high in FODMAPs and last I heard almond milk was in the midst of being test–they had run it through the machine just once. I don’t believe cashews in any form would be low FODMAP as they have been tested to be quite high. Chocolate has NOT been tested–at least as far as I know. I have been allowing low fiber dark chocolate (its the fiber component of cocoa that is a problem ie has the FODMAPs). If I had to guess–(and I have to) as I doubt that carob in all forms has been tested…I would say avoid anything with carob at this time….it was off the charts high in FODMAPs.
The important message here is while undergoing the elimination phase of the diet you should restrict all high FODMAP sources –when you are ready to test your tolerance to some of the FODMAPs –after you undergo the specific challenge protocol–you could then test your tolerance to items such as almond meal and almond milk. Many foods with FODMAPs are innately healthy–the hope is to get many of those foods back in your diet to allow for a varied and nutritious diet for the long term–and keep your tummy calm at the SAME time!
Caffeine is not recommended, but the green and black teas are highly caffeinated.
caffeine is not a FODMAP. Tolerance to caffeine is very variable. Some of my IBS-C patients tolerate caffeine quite well =-in fact, it seems to be helpful. So green, black, white and peppermint teas are lowest in FODMAPx BUT yes, can be a source of caffeine so titrate to your personal tolerance. FODMAPs is one very important part of IBS diet management–but some people need to factor in other restrictions –perhaps fat, caffeine, alcohol.
Hi Kate, I just found your blog while searching for fodmap-friendly recipes and I am loving it! I follow the low FODMAP diet using the Monash app and am so grateful for their research. Your post above about FODMAPS in teas made me shout “I knew it!”, I’ve always somehow felt that chamomile wasn’t a good thing for me to have. I wouldn’t be surprised if rooibos comes back as high as well. I’m guessing that lots of 70% cocoa chocolate is something I should leave in the past also :-(. Keep up the great work, the more info I get about the things I shouldn’t eat, the more I find I can tolerate some wheat/onion/stuff that’s terribly hard to avoid at restaurants if I am very careful at home.
Count me in the category of people finding it extremely frustrating at the conflicting information out there on FODMAPs. I know it’s new, so I’m trying to check as many sources as possible. I shelled out the $9.99 for the Monash phone app, but I’m finding it is not a very thorough database, especially in the US. I’m not sure it’s a contradiction, but the app says fennel bulbs and leaves are ok. (Of course, every single other chart I have ever found online says it’s NOT ok!) How then is the tea not ok, if whole fennel is? Admittedly, I know nothing about the process of making tea, which may be important here.
Thank you for any insight you can give. I’m personally struggling with finding enough to eat at this point. I had come off of an extremely restrictive autoimmune elimination diet, had surgery, and immediately started riaxifin treatment for SIBO. I feel like I’ll never be able to eat again because I’m hesitant to add in “allowed” foods that weren’t allowed on the autoimmune diet in order to not confuse anything. Yet even with being extremely vigilant, I cannot see a discernible pattern in my symptoms. I’m really hoping FODMAPs will be the key. I just wish it was easier to know what to do. Just hoping I’m not alone.
Hi Maddie, I completely understand your frustration and I hope that you can meet with a dietitian that can merge your 2 nutrition plans and provide guidance. The low FODMAP diet is evolving so the lists are changing and updating on a month to month basis. To top it off, food in different states seems to change its amount of FODMAPs such as fennel bulb and tea and grapes and raisins–the logical assumptions that 20 grapes are okay so 20 raisins should be doesn’t seem to hold up when the researchers analyze the foods. So, it can be frustrating. So, my advice is to do the best you can.(And get help with this!) The stress of trying to follow the diet perfectly can impact your positive progress. Try to create menu plans looking at the lists and grocery items and have the food on hand so you have the best chance of being successful. Not eating enough can be just as detrimental on the health of your gut as it relies on nutrition to help renew the intestinal lining.
One very important detail of the Monash app Stoplight system is that amounts matter ! A little of portion of something gets a greenlight, however read the text and the same greenlight item can become a redlight consumed in greater amounts.
I learned this the hard way.
Understand your frustration but Monash is doing the research … Trust no one’s interpretation. Get the app and read each entry thoroughly.
I was wondering where you live! It looks beautiful!
You post that instant coffee is not okay but espresso is okay. What about regular coffee – drip or made in a french press?
Also curious if you know anything about how long it takes the Monash app to be updated? It does not list coffee or cocoa
Hi Christy, I am not sure how often the Monash researchers will update the app, I believe it has been updated twice already but not sure when they will add the info on the coffee etc. I can’t answer definitively on the different types of coffee preparation. If I had to guess, I would say French press and regular perked or dripped coffee would be okay.
Take care and glad you stopped by my blog! 🙂
Barbara M White
Hi, Kate. I drink tea to get my caffeine. Several queries:
1) I like the Lipton’s “orange pekoe and pekoe cut black tea.” Does that count as black tea? If not, does any black tea work or only the brand above pictured in your posting? Many of the black teas are too strong for me, especially since I enjoy having several cups at a time.
2) How do I figure out how much tea I can have at a time?
Barbara, Unfortunately the info on tea is scanty. What I can tell you from the info provided to me from the Monash team–it appears two cups of black tea per sitting would meet the meal time FODMAP limit. Green tea and peppermint tea had lower quantities of FODMAPs when tested. I was just providing some examples of teas in my post–as a generalization–not naming those specific tea brands for any special purpose. I believe the orange pekoe would be similar to black tea.
First, i must say: I love your blog and have found into be very helpful- so thank you! I recently received a starter kit from teavanna (don’t you just love an early Xmas exchange?) and I myself picked out four new teas to try. Unfortunately, I had horrible symptoms after trying my first one (which was unprecedented since the low fodmap diet has been working so amazingly well)! It was Teavanna’s White Earl Grey which contains “apricot nuances”, “orange flavor” and “robust bergamot”. Since it was a white tea I didn’t even think to look at the types of fruits that may be present. I am now aware, after checking my app, that apricot is high in fodmaps but I am curious if it should even have an effect since you aren’t actually ingesting the fruit. Is it possible I drank too many cups? Or do you believe I should be okay choosing white, green and black teas even if some high fodmap foods may be mixed in? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated for someone trying to move away from coffee and caffeine for the healthier tea option!
Katherine, I am not sure I can adequately answer your question. Many foods have not been tested for FODMAPs and I am not sure what ‘apricot nuances’ might consist of?? I would recommend a trial of plain black tea–on the weak side–and see how you tolerate that. And then perhaps at a later date–during your re-introduction/challenge phase of the diet–try some of your fun Teavanna teas. Caffeine can be bothersome for some people so sometimes it’s not a FODMAP issue per se–but something else triggering symptoms. Thanks for your kind feedback on my blog.:) And Happy Holidays!
Saying I’m a Starbucks lover is an understatement! I usually opt for some sort of flavored (not sugar-free syrup) coffee/iced coffee with skim milk. Is this okay for the FODMAP diet? Are there any drinks you know of that should be completely avoided at Starbucks while on this diet? Let me know if you have any info, curious about this seeing as I’m a frequent customer there!
Christine…I am a Starbucks Queen..so I hear you! But I really don’t know what is in their syrups. Ask to see the bottle and take a picture and send me the ingredients. The coffee should be okay…but what you add to it might not be..such as their soy milk or cow’s milk.
I love Starbucks coffee too. After seeing your post about espresso being low fodmap, I switched to decaf Cafe Americano, which is espresso with hot water added, with my own low fodmap vanilla soymilk and a little sugar. My body seems to be able to tolerate this better than Starbucks decaf Pike coffee.
Also the Starbucks stores I frequent have been really nice about letting me read the ingredients on their soymilk and other labeled products when I’ve asked.
I recently checked the Starbucks website and found the syrup nutrition contents by clicking on the syrups for purchase. The mocha and white mocha sauce have high fructose corn syrup and therefore, I have assumed, should be avoided! I have found this to irritate me very severely! It does appear however, the peppermint and the vanilla syrups appear to be HFCS free. I have also noticed that their soy milk (which I switched to in efforts to avoid dairy) actually made my symptoms worse than when I consumed cows milk. Just food for thought.
Katherine– I know the Starbucks near me uses soy milk that is made with the whole soybean so is not FODMAP friendly.
Thanks for a nice blog.
Without knowing for certain, I would think that the reason espresso is ok is that the ground beans are in contact with water for such a short period of time whereas the they’re soaked if you make French press. The FODMAPs are water soluble meaning that the longer you soak the ground beans the more FODMAPs you extract from the starting material.
Excellent point Kristine!
Nancy Wells Shannon
Wondering now if any more info has surfaced on Nettle Tea. Just returned for the Southeast Women’s Herb Conference. They provided a constant source of Nettle Tea. Thought is was beneficial for my Ulcerative Colitis, but now wonder. Looking at Fodmap after doing SCD for 2 years with continued relapses. Thank you for all your good work in this area.
Nancy–sorry no info on nettle tea that I am aware of.
I was wondering if there is any new info on nettle tea. Thank you.
I haven’t heard any new news on nettle tea! Sorry.
Thanks a lot for this.
My digestive system is SO upset this morning! (Special trip to a delectable gluten free place yesterday. Not good for me, even tho I thought I was choosing low fodmaps.)
Have been wondering for a while which herbs worked, beyond the well known no nos. My digestive issues can be so complicated, but identifying high FODMAPS and avoiding them is slowly simplifying my life!
Was wondering WHICH of the many herbal teas I have would help me settle enough to be able to eat maybe today!
Hi katescarlata! do you know about chicory in tea? I have this celestial tea sampler and it has chicory. I know inulin is bad but when it is a tea you don’t really eat it right? it’s just flavor?
The fructans and GOS in some of these tea components are water soluble so leach into the tea you drink. Weak versions of tea would have less of these FODMAP sources. here is the latest info from Monash: http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/research/updates.html
The link you provided to Montash actually says instant coffee is low FODMAPS (up to 2 tsps).
Is it actually high as you’ve reported here ?
The initial read on instant coffee measured higher in FODMAPs so my chart reflects the initial read. The most recent info is reported by Monash and reflects correctly. My chart updates are coming…
Hi Kate, your blog is a godsend! I read through the comments and see that almond milk is a potential problem… What about homemade hemp milk? Or maybe sunflower seed milk? I try to stay away from dairy even lactose free milk because of hormones and general health concerns… Do you think if I make hemp milk or other nut milks (pecan/sunflowerseeds/pumpkin seeds) that it would work on tthe low fodmap diet? I am in the elimination phase… Thanks!
Well Balanced - Food - Life - Travel
Jenni–Great question and I am afraid we just don’t know about these milk alternatives. Seeds and nuts contain water-soluble fructans and GOS and typically when making milk w/ seed/nut/grains–the water-soluble fibers can be remain in the water-soluble milks. I would suggest rice milk (though read ingredients avoiding those with FODMAPs such as inulin) or 8th continent soy milk (original) as an alternative milk choice. After the elimination phase, I would test your tolerance to these alternative milk beverages if you are interested in incorporating them into you diet. Hopefully Monash U will test the more of these alternative milk products soon!
Hi Kate! Thanks again for all that you do. Just wondering – while I know that green tea has been given the fod map green light, have you seen any information on matcha green tea powder? I’ve identified that coffee in all forms is a major trigger for me, and I’m desperate for a warm latte alternative!
Well Balanced - Food - Life - Travel
Hi Amber, I have no idea on the matcha green tea powder…sounds like it might be a more concentrated form and might be an issue–but without testing, of course, I really have no idea! Remember the diet is trialled for 4-6 weeks, perhaps after that point, trial the tea to see if it troubles your symptoms.
Hi !!! I’m new to the Low Fodmap diet, had to start due to IBS playing up really bad. May I just ask…has anyone lost lots of weight because of it. I have developed such a scary relationship with food but due to fear I haven’t really had the chance to experiment with foods yet, I was thinking maybe I should do a Lemon Polenta cake? I don’t see why I should lose much more weight…i’m really depressed about it. Also can anyone recommend a good book.
Thank you x
Ruth…please be sure to get help and support as you attempt the low FODMAP diet–and be sure that you are an appropriate candidate for the diet. And work with your health care provider to assess why you have lost weight. If food hurts when you eat, it can create a fearful relationship with food. And this sometimes might require some help with a therapist.
Hi Kate –
Do you have any advice on fructose malabsorption? I didn’t believe in the diagnosis until I cut it out… now whenever I have it, I feel the effects within hours. Breads seem to be the hardest to locate.
Cheers to Rice and Chicken 🙂
Advice on fructose malabsorption==follow the low FODMAP diet! 🙂 And rule out small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.
This definitely explains a lot! One question about chai though, if you find a mix that doesn’t have fennel or chicory root in it, is it safe to drink or is there something else to avoid as well??
Ariana, Great question….but not sure I have the answer!
Do you have any info on Ginger Tea? I’ve been drinking Chamomile, Fennel and Ginger. I see that the first two are not good, just hoping I can still drink the Ginger.
Have not seen actual data on ginger tea–but many of my clients drink it without issue.
Thanks, Kate. How about Good old American Cheese? And Smart Balance Margarine?
Having trouble finding lactose free coffee creamer that doesn’t contain Carrageenan.
I just subscribed! Can’t believe I haven’t come across your website before. I went shopping over the weekend and bought calendula tea and marshmallow root. I’ve always loved calendula mixed with peppermint but it kind of looks like dandelion… is it the same thing but different name or completely different? Also I’ve heard marshmallow root brewed warm and cooled overnight is great for digestive problems but as its a pretty rare tea type I haven’t been able to see if it’s low fodmap or not… any thoughts?
Hi Katherine===I don’t think there is any data on calendula or marshmallow root re: FODMAP content.
I read this below and exclaimed becuse i have had an unprecedented ( awful) reaction to Pu-erh tea.
All tea is the same plant ‘Camellia sinensis’. All that differs is the cultivation, processing & preparation.
Monash must give us an understanding of what to avoid in terms of these factors. Just to say Green & White OK … Oolong not OK doesnt help us problem solve on our own.
Thank You Kate for your knowldge, patience & dediction.
You have saved me from the nut house 🙂
It’s weird that green (unoxidised) and black (oxidised) tea is fine but oolong (semi-oxidised) is on the high side. Wonder if they’ll get round to testing pu-erh someone.”
Thank you for all your great work Kate. Its so much appreciated.
I have to let you know… its eSpresso, not eXpresso, and its pronounced with an “s” sound, not an “x” sound. 🙂
Thanks Kathleen….I am always learning. 🙂
I’m another new comer to the low FODMAP diet.
I drink tea, mostly herbal teas because I can’ t handle caffeine. it makes shake like a chihuahua
I’ve already eliminated my favorite: Chamomile.
But I really enjoy decaffeinated Earl Grey, and I haven’t been able to find it any fodmap lists
Do you have any information on it?
I don’t have info on Earl Grey but I have had patient’s that seem to tolerate it.
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