Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Milk alternatives on a low FODMAP diet

By CK Yao (Accredited Practising Dietitian, PhD candidate)

The food industry has responded to consumer demand and now produces a large range of milks from plant sources, coconut, and almond.

In our latest Monash University Low FODMAP app update, we included plant-based milks that were tested in collaboration with the dietitians at King's College, London, UK.

Our tests revealed that the majority of European soy milk products were made from soy beans, whereas Australian soy milks were made either from soy beans or soy protein extract. Soy milk made from soy beans tends to be high in the FODMAP galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS). By contrast, soy milk made from soy protein extract tends to be low in FODMAPs as the carbohydrate component (GOS) is removed in processing .

If you can't find soy milk products made from soy protein extract, low FODMAP milk alternatives include:

  •        Almond milk
  •        Coconut UHT milk
  •        Soy milk made from ‘hulled’ soy beans
  •        Hemp Milk  (not available in Australia or NZ, but widely available in Europe and USA)
  •        Coconut UHT milk  (small serves)
  •        Soy milk made from hulled soy beans (small serves)

      See the Monash App for serving sizes.

Nutrition tip: Whilst plant-based milks are good low FODMAP alternatives, they do not contain the natural benefits of lactose-free dairy products, including calcium, vitamin B12 and phosphorus. These nutrients are important for cognitive function and building strong, healthy bones and teeth.

If you have a dietary requirement for plant-based milks, ensure that the product you choose is calcium fortified (≥120mg/100ml). This will ensure that 1 x 250 ml glass of plant-based milk provides one serve of calcium (based on the Australian Healthy Eating guidelines).

Remember, a low FODMAP diet does not need to be a dairy free diet.



  1. Thank you for your article. There is an important mistake you have made. Most non-dairy beverages have nutrient supplementation and it is listed on the product, on the label, in the ingredient section and the percentages. Calcium and Vitamin B-12 are two common nutrients that are supplemented. Perhaps you would like to get the labels of the non-dairy products you mention and then write a post script article so as to not mislead readers.

    1. Agreed. I've found that many of the non-dairy milks I've purchased have a similar nutritional panel in terms of calcium, B12, etc... to cows milk. They often fortify them to match the other milks on the market.

    2. Hi Jane and Mary, thank you for your feedback. You are quite right that many brands do fortify their products with calcium and vitamin B12, however not all do, and even if they do, the amount is not always equivalent to that found in regular dairy products (this is the case in Australia anyway). If you are choosing non-dairy milks then it is important to be able to read food labels and choose products that are appropriately fortified (as outlined above). Best wishes, Monash FODMAP

    3. I have been a IBS sufferer for 35 years, it's not a whole lot of fun. I have only just found out about FODMAPS and i am pretty excited that there are researches finally looking into IBS so we can hopefully obtain a better quality of life someday. I am starting the diet gradually and started two days ago, already i feel a difference...can't say good or bad yet just different, a bit more energy...hopefully this diet will give my guts a break and i'll be able to put some weight on, which would be nice :) Big thanks to the Monash Team, please don't stop looking into IBS there are many of us out there struggling in our jobs and day to day life.

    4. If you make your own hemp milk then there is no worry about any added supplements that may change its suitability to a low FODMAP diet. It is very easy to do using hemp hearts and a bit of maple syrup for sweetening. Ratio of about 1:5 makes a nice creamy milk and there is no need to strain. Just let it sit and the solids will settle nicely on the bottom of the jar and stay there.

  2. Have you tested flax milk yet?