If you’re an IBS Sister like me who has a “zero dairy tolerance”, cow’s milk is actually an easy product to replace. As we age, our bodies lack the enzyme to breakdown the lactose in cow’s milk anyways, so we are actually doing our bodies a favor by not drinking it. How many other animals do you see going around drinking other animal’s breast milk? Exactly! Not one other species.
Almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, rice milk, oh my! So which is the best for the IBS Sister?
I used to be a huge almond milk advocate. It was the first thing I found that wasn’t dairy and to my surprise, it was delicious! Unfortunately, like any other part of our diet, we must keep a food diary to find out if almond milk is the best choice for you. Almonds can be good for those with IBS-C, for they contain more fiber than any other nut. The problem is if you are a Sister who suffers from gas and IBS-D. As far as gas is concerned, almonds contain the sulfur amino acids methionine and cysteine. When bacteria in the gut come in contact with these acids, hydrogen sulfide gives you an unpleasant flatulent odor. As far as IBS-D Sisters, the fiber from almonds can cause water in the intestines, and cause diarrhea by inducing fermentation by the bacteria in the gut. The maximum amount of almonds that should be eaten according to a low FODMAP diet is 15. It recently came out that almond milk was mostly water, so you may be keeping it low FODMAP after all! But if you’re downing a lot of almond milk, you may be drinking a High FODMAP beverage. Let’s see what other alternatives a Sister can use.
Soy Milk. Soy milk has also been known to cause intestinal gas, so treat this like any other food and keep a food diary to see how you react to soy. If the soy milk is made by whole soybeans, it will be high in FODMAPs. If you do try soy milk, choose a brand made with soy protein or isolated soy protein to try to keep your FODMAPs intake low.
Coconut milk has little fiber so this would be a good option for an IBS-D Sister. The only concern with coconut milk is the high fructose content. This is why it would be important to get the unsweetened coconut beverage. Trader Joe’s & Silk have great options. Coconut was believed to be a high FODMAP option at first, but with further research, it was taken off of the list. This is the milk I am currently drinking & have had success. Silk even has a coconut & almond beverage mix. Try it and let me know what you think!
Rice Milk is low in sugar and protein, and high in carbohydrates. You also have to be careful with rice milk, like soy milk, that they are gluten free if you are sensitive to gluten. Some products are and some are not. Rice is also a low FODMAP item, so as long as you are getting the brand with no added sugars and oils, this should be a good option!
Keep in mind that when you are doing trial and error to figure out which milk works best for you, to drink the milk alone. Make sure you are not mixing it in a smoothie, cereal, or other recipes when you are trying to determine the best option for you. It may just be that mango in your smoothie that’s really giving you issues! (a High FODMAP fruit).
What’s everyone’s go to milk? Be sure to leave comments about which milk works best for you and take the poll below!