Low FODMAP diet is not dairy free!

milk truckThe low FODMAP diet is NOT a dairy free diet but rather low in lactose, the sugar found in cow, sheep and goat milk.

If you have been tested for lactose malabsorption or intolerance and have been found to digest lactose sufficiently than you do not need to modify lactose on the low FODMAP diet.  Many individuals have NOT been tested for lactose intolerance or are unsure if lactose is a trigger for them, in this case, minimize lactose while undergoing the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet.

But even if lactose is a trigger for you…there are many dairy foods that are still allowed on the low FODMAP diet! Go ahead and enjoy yummy low lactose dairy foods such as aged or hard cheeses, think: Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan! Most semi-soft cheeses are suitable on the low FODMAP diet too, such as feta, goat cheese and Brie.  Avoid overly wet cheeses such as ricotta and cottage cheese which contain higher amounts of lactose.  Try lactose free cow’s milk or lactose free yogurt.  Even small amount of Greek yogurt can often be tolerated on the low FODMAP diet.  Greek yogurt tends to have less lactose than traditional style yogurt as more lactose is drained off when making the Greek style yogurt thick and creamy.   Of course, read ingredient labels for other added FODMAP ingredients such as fructose, inulin (chicory root), high fructose corn syrup etc.

When reading labels for cheeses–look at the Nutrition Facts label. If there is 0 grams of sugar in the cheese–then the cheese is lactose free or only contains a trace of lactose.  Remember lactose is a sugar. Unfortunately, this little trick is only useful when reading cheese labels; other dairy products such as yogurt often have other sugars added.

Butter only has a trace of lactose so is allowed on the low FODMAP diet.

Lactose containing ingredients hiding in products may include: milk, milk solids, curds, whey, yogurt, buttermilk, sour cream. Whey protein isolate is lactose free while whey protein concentrate may contain lactose.

There are some individuals that are intolerant to other components in dairy such as the protein casein.   If low lactose dairy still poses a problem for you by all means minimize it to your personal tolerance.  And of course, some people choose not to consume animal products.  In these cases, you might find alternative dairy free beverages such as rice or coconut milk your best bet on the low FODMAP diet.

My colleague, registered dietitian, Toby Amidor, wrote a wonderful cookbook featuring Greek yogurt called The Greek Yogurt Kitchen.  Check this beautiful cover out! amidor.greekyogurtkichen.tr

If you can tolerate Greek yogurt {like me}…then please leave a comment after this post on creative ways you use Greek yogurt in your diet and you’ll be entered to win a copy of this beautiful cookbook!  Of course, not all the recipes are low FODMAP–but I bet some are adaptable to the low FODMAP diet or can be new family favorites!!

Another cookbook give-a-way later this week…{Sue Shepherd’s latest cookbook!}

Stay tuned!

37 replies on “Low FODMAP diet is not dairy free!

  • Eric Kinman

    Great article!

    I currently have SIBO, but have been improving, and I’m looking to introduce new foods. I’ve had very bad reactions to SCD yogurt and unpasteurized butter. Am I reacting to enzymes and/or casein? Any suggestions on dairy that may work?

    • katescarlata

      Eric, you MAY find over time your tolerance to dairy improves. SIBO impacts digestion in many ways as I am sure you are all too familiar with….So butter can be a problem as are fats in general in SIBO–as bacteria in the small intestine can get to the bile that has been secreted by your gallbladder or liver into the small intestine –it’s purpose is like ‘dawn’ dishwashing liquid–to break up the fat and aid fat digestion. If bacteria render the bile inactive–then it can’t aid fat digestion–and fats malabsorb! Some individuals react to the probiotic bacteria in yogurt–especially with SIBO–so intolerance can be due to the bacteria OR…simply the amount of sugars in the yogurt. Even if the sugars are broken into easily digestible sugars–bacteria that can be found in the upper part of your small intestine in SIBO can get to these sugars before they adequately absorb! And then of course, it could be that you just have a dairy intolerance–proteins or other chemical components naturally found in it can trigger symptoms in some individuals. So…long winded answer….that I hope you found somewhat helpful 🙂

  • Nancy Kaye

    I use plain Greek yogurt mainly as a breakfast food to which I add just a little good quality jam (homemade when possible). It’s just sweet enough and not full of sugar.

    I have also found Greek plain yogurt to be a wonderful ingredient for muffins, cupcakes, etc. It’s also wonderful for making salad dressings, sauces.

  • Rachel

    I use Greek Yogurt as part of a mint-cucumber sauce when I make low FODMAP Moroccan leg of lamb. It’s reminds me of raitha in Indian dishes and I love it!

  • Jenny Baker

    I used to hate Greek yogurt until I purchased the “21 Day Tummy” book. Now I can’t live without it! My fridge is always stocked with at least three large containers and even then I find myself stopping by the grocery store to get more. I don’t know if it’s terribly creative, but I use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream for just about any recipe. I can barely tell the difference (e.g., a baked potato with plain Greek yogurt tastes great!). And while it’s not terribly creative, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the smoothy recipes you’ve created. I wake up every morning excited to start my day with one. I’d love a copy of that new book for even more ideas!

  • JDupraw

    I use Greek Yogurt to make yummy dips for veggies. You can substitute it anywhere that a dip/dressing recipe calls for sour cream. I’ve also just discovered Green Mountain brand sour cream! Amazing!!

  • Alorie Parkhill

    I used Greek yogurt liberally for marinating in a wonderful chicken tandoori recipe recently. No ill effects, so I assume my innerds can deal with it.

  • Sheri

    I have just started low FODMAP eating and I already feel so much better.. I love Greek yogurt and luckily it agrees with me, haven’t been real creative with it yet but my favorite snack is fresh blueberries and strawberries in Greek yogurt.. naturally sweet and satisfying.

  • Donna

    I like to mix plain Greek yogurt with a vanilla traditional yogurt and add to a microwave warmed banana drizzled with a pancake syrup or caramel flavored coffee syrup – is delicious!

  • Karen

    I don’t know how creative my ideas are, but I use Greek yogurt in smoothies, as a replacement for sour cream, in soups and in baking. I tuck it into any place I can.

  • Courtney

    This is GREAT news! I just completed my first month of the elimination phase of a low FODMAP diet. I met with an RD who saw you speak in Omaha, and she recommended. It has made a HUGE difference! I only wish I had known about it years ago! I have missed my Greek yogurt over the past month, so I will have to try entering it back into my diet. I use it EVERYWHERE: chicken salad as a sub for mayo, salad dressings, tzatziki, creamy avocado dressing, baking…I can’t wait to try subbing back in in another month or so. Thanks for all you do, Kate!

  • Laura Solt

    Before I became lactose intolerant, I used greek yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise (or for most of the mayo) in chicken salad recipes.

    Also, I’ve been drinking soy milk but I saw it was a high FODMAP food, is this true? I don’t think I’ve had problems with it bothering me but I was interested in learning that it was considered a high FODMAP.


    • katescarlata

      Some soy milk is okay–if its made from soy protein isolate –rather than the whole soy bean. In the US, 8th Continent makes what appears to be a suitable soy milk.

  • Anna

    I love greek yogurt mixed with cocoa powder and a bit of vanilla stevia (optional). Top it with fruit, chocolate chips, coconut, nuts..anything!..and you’ve got a great healthy dessert!

  • Kyle

    Hi Kate, Are there any dairy products that will work for those of us with SIBO who are lactose intolerant and allergic to cows and goat milk?

  • Jean fairbrother

    Hi Kate,

    I make a delicious low fodmap dessert with a home-made meringue roulade, filling it with fat-free Greek yogurt and fresh berries. Delicious and nobody misses the cream.

  • Stephanie

    My favorite recipe is to mix 2 tbsp of PB2 into Greek yogurt and to freeze it for an ice cream like dessert! Sometimes I add Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips or strawberries or a little maple syrup!

  • Renee Nenninger

    I use yogurt when making casseroles and find it can leave a creamier end result than using a creamed soup. I would love to try more recipes!

  • Narelle

    I use Greek yoghurt to make “bread”! 1.5 cups of Greek yoghurt mixed with 1/2 cup each of GF SR flour, brown rice flour and potato flour. Add to that a dash of salt, some baking powder and baking soda, and a squeeze of lemon juice. It makes a great pizza dough, but I like to pat out small portions that I use like a bread roll 🙂

  • Carly W

    I make a Low FODMAP desert … meringue topped with greek yoghurt and topped with fresh sliced strawberries and passionfruit puplp … and then grate over some dark chocolate.

  • Mary Wiegel

    Love the PB2 ice cream idea (saw that in the grocery store and didn’t really know what to do with it!) Only can tolerate small amounts. I use it mostly in breakfast parfaits – berries, bananas, yogurt, coconut and Bakery on Main granola. Also is a good base for dips and dressings in place of sour cream or in deviled eggs.

  • Debbie

    Hi Kate, I make a crepe by mixing the following in my magic bullet: 2T plain Greek yogurt with 3T egg whites, 1 T whey protein powder , 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, 2T GF oats, 1/8 tsp baking powder, and a dash both of cinnamon and salt which I blend and pour into a pan to make a thin crepe. I fill the crepe with either peanut butter, broiled banana and cinnamon or sliced strawberries mixed with plain Greek yogurt. Then I roll crepe up and top with chia seeds. It’s so yummy and filling. I also make peanut butter and jelly yogurt with 1 small container plain Greek yogurt and 2 Tbs powdered peanut butter, splash of vanilla extract and mix in sliced strawberries or a few raspberries and top with chia seeds. I also make a frozen peanut butter banana treat by mixing 1/4 -1/2 frozen banana with 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt and 2 Tbsp powdered peanut butter which I blend in my magic bullet….it tastes just like PB ice cream! Would love to find even more yummy ways to incorporate Greek yogurt into my days.

  • Jennifer Kershner

    Hi Kate! I’m enjoying your blog & am going to make some of the delicious recipes posted in all these comments. I use Greek yogurt consistently as a substitute for sour cream & buttermilk in cooking & baking with satisfying results every time. We live in Colorado, and are from Texas, so southwestern dishes are on our menu frequently. Enchiladas with all kinds of variations are a staple & being able to use Greek yogurt when I make my white sauce with excellent results was a huge relief for my family!

  • Keri

    I need some lunch and quick on the go foods? Help!
    Bananas can’t be the only takeaway on the run food surely!

  • jen

    I use 1 – 2 tbsp plain Greek mixed with 1/4 mashed avacado, salt and pepper to taste – as my alternative for mayo. Add it to a can of tuna fish or for chicken salad. I love it!

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