Low FODMAP Baking: US vs. UK



Hello Friends! As you probably know, the low FODMAP diet has gone global!

Thankfully, I might add, as there are many IBS sufferers around the globe. Periodically, I receive queries about the differences in baking, food selections etc. in the UK vs. US. So along with my good friend Gill, a fabulous baker, who grew up in the UK but now resides in the US and my colleague, Emma Carder, a UK based dietitian and FODMAP expert, here are some FAQs to help you sort out some of the differences.  Thanks Gill and Emma!

Let’s start with baking tips!

What is the equivalent of a 350 degree oven in the US to Celsius used in UK?  180 degree C or Gas mark 4 is the alternative (these options are usually stated in UK recipe books).

How do our measurements differ in the UK? For instance, a cup of flour in the US would be what in the UK?  This is always something I struggle with as cup sizes between countries can vary. I like this easy to follow US Cups Conversion Table from Dove’s Farm. Though there are slight variations from country to country–the UK  the measurement for 1 cup of flour would be slightly greater than listed in this conversion table 1 cup flour is 128 g (4.5 oz.).

How about a tablespoon measure in the US vs. UK–any difference?  Personally, I do not change anything when using a tablespoon measurement – I just use the US measurement. Though there is a slight difference: 1 tablespoon US (tbsp.) in volume  Equals: 0.83 tablespoons U.K. (tbsp. Imperial).

Emma, what flour blends do your recommend to low FODMAP diet followers?  Here in the UK we have a huge variety of individual gluten free (GF) flours available to buy in supermarkets, health food shops and online. They are made from all sorts of different grains, seeds, beans and starchy tubers! I’ve noticed that GF recipes are becoming increasingly adventurous by using a wider variety of different GF flours.

It’s definitely worth remembering though that not all GF flours have been FODMAP tested yet e.g. sorghum and teff. We know flours made from rice, potatoes, quinoa and corn (maize) are great to use on their own or in a shop bought blend as these have tested low for FODMAPs. Flours made from oats, amaranth, buckwheat, soya bean, chickpea (garbanzo), fava (broad) bean have on the other hand tested amber/red for FODMAPs. Followers may find they have to avoid or limit foods made from these flours to suit their individual tolerance.

In the UK popular, fodmap friendly, All Purpose GF flour brands include Dove’s Farm & Glebe Farm. These are a blend of rice, corn and potato starch. The Dove’s Farm blend also contains tapioca (not yet tested for fodmaps). Despite this, it does seem to be well tolerated by FODMAP followers possibly because it’s a starchy tuber, similar to potato and less likely to contain short chain fermentable sugars.

What lactose free milk would be suitable to cook with in the UK, Emma?  For regular cow’s milk without the lactose – Arlo’s Lactofree milk is very popular and now available in full fat, semi skimmed and skimmed varieties (fresh & UHT long-life). It’s generally easy to find and usually sits alongside the fresh soya milks in the supermarkets. Marks and Spencer have also recently started selling their own lactose free milk.

Any other differences that you encountered when you moved here in regard to cooking in the US vs UK, Gill?

The main difference is that I would always use a scale in the UK to weight before I bake or cook.  Here I now have the cup and jug measurement tools so that I can make the US recipes!  Also, is it not popular to buy boxed baking ingredients for example, Betty Crocker Cake baking products.  Everyone I know would bake from scratch in the UK (this may have changed since I have lived there) I had never even tried a boxed cake recipe until I moved here.

In the UK, most people would use Self Raising flour to bake cakes they would not buy plain flour and then add the raising agent.

Do you find this to be true as well, Emma? We do have a love for self raising flour in the UK but I’d say folks would feel equally at home baking cakes with plain flours and adding the raising agent separately. The following can work well to convert plain flour into self-raising:  Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder per 175g of plain flour and a pinch of salt

I also found this website that highlights the different names of foods in the UK vs. US and also provides suitable measuring and baking tips!

And more US–> UK translations! a cupcake = a fairy cake, a cookie is a biscuit, Eggplant = Aubergine, French fries is called Chips, Arugula is called Rocket, Granulated sugar = Caster sugar!

For more on info on FODMAPs in the UK, I recommend Emma’s site …visit Emma at Emma Carder Nutrition (and check out her low FODMAP scones recipe…mmmm!!)

Emma also recommends the following UK sites:

Kings College London (FAQs)

Two Dietitians Do The Fodmap Diet (Recipes, information & links to other great resources)

Cook Low Fodmap (Recipes)

Clinical Alimentary (Recipes, information & links to other great resources)

If someone is looking for a dietitian to guide them in implementing the low FODMAP diet, how would they go about finding a skilled dietitian?

King’s College London holds an up to date record of UK and international dietitians that have undertaken their Professional Low Fodmap Course.

You can also search The British Dietetic Association Freelance Dietitian Group for private dietitians with an interest in IBS.

My next UK vs US FODMAP post will feature Emma and my tips to secure food brands that appear to be low FODMAP diet suitable based on ingredients in the UK –and of course, some US brands too! Stay tuned!


7 replies on “Low FODMAP Baking: US vs. UK

  • Juliane Baerwaldt

    Dear Kate,

    I`m from Germany and I´m so glad about your wonderful blog… I´m on the low FODMAP diet now for about eight months and I`m feeling better and better… Unfortunately I have the feeling that also amines and salicylates have bad influence on my digetive peace of mind… How can I combine the low FODMAP diet and a diet low in amines and salicylates?

    Thanks a lot

    • katescarlata

      When working with clients that appear to have food chemical sensitivities along with FODMAP issues–I tend to pull out the richest sources only –to assess if this is enough of a modification–and it seems to work most of the time!

  • Pauline

    Hi Emma (my dietician! Exciting to see you writing here!),

    I’ve been baking a US recipe today for Gluten free carrot cake, I think it’s FODMAP free as well. It’s rather fragile though. Doves farm SR flour has some xanthan gum in it. Do you think it would be enough or should I have added more?

    As I said, the cake is fragile, so I think I shall have to provide cake forks!

  • Caroline

    Hi Kate- I have a few questions that I was wondering if you could clarify for me. Is Gluten-free also Low Fodmap? Can you briefly clarify what the difference is between the two. Also, I make a lot of my own bread. Can you recommend a whole wheat and all-purpose flour that is Fodmap friendly? Thanks

  • Juliane Baerwaldt

    Hi Kate,
    thanks a lot for your quick answer. Actually that is what I`m doing at the moment… Next time I see my doctor I tell him to check the balance of amines and this particular enzym in my body (here in Germany we call it DAO). Additionally my Vit. B6 state.
    I`m feeling more and more that these amine and salicylate problems appear shortly before my menstruation. So I´m also working with my gynaecologist to improve the situation.
    The most problems are caused by Emmentaler cheese, walnuts, too much of (tinned) tomatoes, kiwis. Soy sauce and some then is also not kosher for me to flavour my foods…

    I`m always happy to do receive your letters and I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas time.

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