Is coconut safe on the low fodmap diet?

low fodmap for lifeI think that we can all agree that the low fodmap diet can be difficult to navigate – it has taken me over 3 years and still I continue to find it difficult sometimes! Coconut causes significant confusion as there is conflicting information on the fodmap status of the numerous coconut products out there.

The main problems lie in that there are many different coconut products and it seems, from my research, that each product has a different fodmap rating. If you want to find out what my research has told me, please read on…

1. Coconut Water. In small quantities (100ml) coconut water is a low fodmap option. However in quantities of 250ml, coconut water is high in fodmaps, specifically polyols (ooohh, I broke up with polyols for good in a previous post…). I sourced this information from Monash University, so it is highly credible.

2. Shredded or desiccated coconut. According to the Monash University’s Low Fodmap App 1/4 cup or 18g serve is low in fodmap’s and should be tolerated by most people with IBS. However, 1/2 cup serve or 37g can be problematic for those who malabsorb polyols (like I do!). So, that is good news for those of us who like to bake with a little coconut or like it on our breakfast cereal. Keep our quantities small and we are OK!

3. Coconut oil. This product doesn’t contain carbohydrates and as such is not a fodmap, however coconut oil, like all fats can trigger IBS symptoms in some people, so be cautious (also sourced from the Monash University low Fodmap App). Coconut oil is a wonderful product, so start with small quantities and see how you go. When I first started using coconut oil I preferred the refined version as it does not have a strong flavour, and over time I have found that I also like the virgin coconut oil as it has a lovely nutty, sweet flavour.

4. Coconut milk/cream. According to the Monash University Low Fodmap App (yes, truly the most useful app of all time), up to 1/2 cup of coconut milk is safe for IBS suffers! Hooray!! Coconut milk is a wonderful alternative to cream if you are dairy or lactose intolerant. I often use it for desserts (try my coconut ice-cream!) and yoghurt and I am relieved that it has the green light. Note: I have found that the coconut content of coconut milk varies considerably and so I believe we should be cautious in this area. For example, I have personally found that I am more sensitive to Ayam coconut milk which is the more premium brand with a higher amount of coconut in the finished product – 82% coconut extract. My personal choice is TCC coconut milk (a mid-range product with 53% coconut extract) as I find that I tolerate it quite well.

5. Coconut flour. I am sorry to say that the jury is out on coconut flour, so unfortunately I am not able to give you an official, research-based outcome on this. I can however share with you my own personal experience of coconut flour. For myself, coconut flour is high fodmap, particularly in larger quantities. Having said that, some of my favourite recipes use only a little coconut flour (a teaspoon in the whole recipe for example), and I am fine with that small amount. So, be cautious and aware that you may be intolerant to coconut flour too.

6. Coconut sugar or coconut nectar. Again, there is no official Fodmap test to give final verification on this, however there are indications that it has a similar fructose level to honey, in which case it is it a fodmap and not suitable for those who are fructose intolerant. Personally, I don’t go near the stuff as fructose is hazardous for me and I strongly suspect that coconut sugar is high fodmap.

Coconut products are very good for us and are readily available these days, so now it is good to know that even on the low fodmap diet we can safely enjoy some of the benefits of coconut and, most importantly, are able to avoid the ones that we need to.

All the best,

Sacha x

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25 thoughts on “Is coconut safe on the low fodmap diet?

    • Thanks for your comment! At the moment I am eating it, but I have heard that it is wonderful on skin and hair however I haven’t got there just yet as I worry about it being to oily. I’d love to hear what your experience is!
      Sacha

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  1. Pingback: FODMAP in different coconut products | sibowithhope

    • Hi!
      Thanks for getting in touch. I am basing the 1/2 cup of coconut milk on the Monash University Low Fodmap App and is doesn’t say if it’s research is based on full fat or lite, sorry that’s not very helpful. I personally use a good quality full fat coconut milk because the Lite version uses additives and gums and I am a bit suspicious of these. Sometimes I water down the full fat coconut milk with almond milk or water as I find it very rich. Good luck!
      Sacha

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      • Yes, I like to avoid the gums and additives as well. Natural Value is my favorite brand because it is BPA free and coconut is the only ingredient. I recently found out that the Trader Joe’s brand lite coconut milk also has no additives (and it is very affordable at 99 cents). It tastes a little sweeter than the Natural Value brand which had me wondering how both could be free of any additives.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Renee, thanks for posting a comment. I am not sure about store bought coconut ice-cream, read the ingredients very carefully to ensure that they are free from fodmaps. Some companies add fructose instead of sugar which is toxic to us IBS sufferers. I make my own coconut milk ice-cream and I have a recipe on my blog: https://lowfodmapforlife.com/coconut-ice-cream/
      Coconut yoghurt in small serves is also OK, again just check the ingredients.
      Sacha

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  2. Thank you for this post. This information is gold.

    I have also broken up with Polyols, which is depressing considering how much avocado is loved in our house.

    Given the imminence popularity of Coconut water it is a pity about the polyol content. One thing I also noticed with coconut water is many brands have added sucrose. Which is a sneaky way of hitting (non Fodmap folks) with added sugar they do not need.

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  3. Thanks for your blog. I just found you and am very glad. This coconut thing has been driving me crazy. I too love the monash fodmap app, but lots of foods we have in the US aren’t listed. Also, so much conflicting our outdated info on the web. I also have a problem running careful experiments on myself. I’m supposed to be in the total elimination phase, and then I go, oh wait, I just ate almonds (or whatever). Anyway, I really appreciate your blog. Thanks! Ellen

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    • Hi Ellen,
      Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Yes, fodmap challenges are so difficult, even after 3 years I find myself forgetting and then remembering, oh yes, I shouldn’t be eating such and such! There is so much conflicting information, you are so right. It gets really frustrating. I am trying to challenge banana flour at the moment to work out if it is low fodmap. Cross fingers it is! Keep in touch and let me know how you get on. Sacha

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Coconut Spelt Tart - North/South Food

  5. Sacha,
    Thank you for your informative blog! I just recently went on the FODMAP diet, after struggling for YEARS with stomach problems. As I am in the elimination phase, I am trying alternatives to wheat flour and decided to try coconut flour. Alas, I do believe this was a mistake! My stomach immediately felt bloated and uncomfortable after eating a pumpkin dessert I made with coconut flour. I concur with your assessment that coconut flour is to be avoided. Mine is going in the trash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for leaving a comment and for reading the blog! If you are looking for wheat flour alternatives, have you tried spelt and buckwheat? They are my favourites, especially spelt as you get a pretty close match to wheat flour. Buckwheat is lovely in pancakes…
      All the best, Sacha

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  6. Thanks Sacha for great overview! I experienced many times problems after eating yoghurt made from coconut or higher quantities of “coconut oil based nutella” and was confused why do I feel so terribly bad as most of the fodmap lists do not comprise coconut products…. Im sensitive to polyols, so now it makes perfect sense! Cheers! Lucia

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  7. Sacha, on the coconut cream question – I have found that I only tolerate cream or milk sold in cardboard containers. Have heard that the lining used in steel cans reacts with high-fat content (as well as with high acid content) to release … something, can’t remember what, but an irritant for people who have IBS-like issues. Maybe something you could follow up?

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  8. Pingback: FODMAP – Takeaway Australia – Fuck Fodmaps

    • Hi there, I am suspicious of a lot of the coconut yoghurts as they often have ‘high fodmap’ sweeteners. I have tried making it at home myself using a recipe by Paleo Mom, but I stopped after a while as I think it was triggering symptoms. What is your experience?

      Like

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