Joanna Baker APD
First and foremost, coffee itself is low FODMAP. However, coffee is also a gut irritant, a stimulant and may contain other food molecules that some people are sensitive to.
Do you have milk in your coffee?
Firstly check that the milk you’re using is low FODMAP. Lactose free milk is usually the easiest low FODMAP swap. It behaves just like regular milk and is relatively easy to come by. Some people find it tastes slightly sweeter, but don’t worry about this, it doesn’t have added sugar. Lactose is the natural carbohydrate or “sugar” molecule in milk. In lactose free milk, the carbohydrate content is the same, but instead of being a double sugar molecule (lactose) it has been separated into single the sugar molecules, glucose and galactose. This means some people find they can taste the natural sweetness more strongly.
If lactose free milk isn’t an option for you, there are other alternative milk products that are also low FODMAP. You might like to try soy milk made from soy protein isolate, almond milk or rice milk. Soy milk made from soy beans (hulled or whole), oat milk (more than 30ml or 1oz) and coconut milk (more than 125ml or 4oz) are high FODMAP, so be careful with these options.
Coffee contains caffeine
Caffeine is well documented as a stimulant, this means it can raise blood pressure and heart rate, cause the jitters and kick your metabolism into gear. All of this revs up bodily functions, and also stimulates gastric motility. In a nutshell if you stimulate gastric motility, especially on an empty stomach, the resulting muscular contractions along the digestive tract can cause cramping and help to “take care of business” in the bathroom department.
Coffee is a gut irritant
Caffeine, catechols, and chemical-substances called N-alkanoly-5-hydroxtryptamides are all found in your cup of coffee and stimulate stomach acid secretion. This increase in stomach can result in heartburn and indigestion. Although these compounds can cause gastrointestinal issues, they are not FODMAPs and have a different mode of action.
Coffee contains salicylates
Salicylates are not FODMAPs and they have a different mode of action to FODMAPs, but they can cause similar gut symptoms. Only a small proportion of the population are sensitive to salycilates and the best way to know if you are one of them is to consult with a specialist dietitian.
Tolerance to coffee
There are two considerations when assessing your tolerance to coffee.
Joanna & Marnie are gut health expert dietitians with the knowledge and skills to support you with personalised advice and gut health solutions. We consult privately in Melbourne’s inner South East and via Skype. To make an appointment or seek advice, you can call any of the consulting rooms directly or email us at email@example.com
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