You may have noticed that FODMAPS are mostly found in plant foods (with the exception of lactose found in dairy). For this reason we tend to focus a lot on the do’s and don’ts of carbohydrate foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains. But what do we need to know about protein and FODMAPs?
It often surprises people that almost all animal sources of protein are naturally low in FODMAPs. Fresh chicken, fish, veal, pork, beef, lamb and eggs are all completely safe. Where care needs to be taken, is in the preparation of these foods. Adding high FODMAP ingredients such as breadcrumbs, onions, garlic, marinades and sauces can quickly turn your harmless protein source into a FODMAP danger.
Processed meats, sausages and chicken with stuffing should be avoided for the same reason. So once you have mastered low FODMAP-flavouring of your favourite meats (with the help of your dietitian or The FODMAP challenge recipes) you can continue to safely enjoy them.
Milk, yoghurt and cheese are also high sources of animal protein found in almost every fridge; however this time the FODMAP lactose (the ‘D’ in FODMAP) becomes involved. Luckily lactose-free milk and yoghurt is available, and there are also a growing number of dairy alternatives on the market to choose from including soymilk, almond milk and rice milk. For those cheese lovers out there, you’ll be happy to know that most hard cheeses contain very little lactose as a result of the manufacturing process and are generally well tolerated.
But what about protein from plant sources?
Given the mounting research out there supporting the health benefits of plant based diets this is something we should all be interested in, whether following a vegetarian/vegan diet or not. Fortunately, there are several good sources of plant-based protein to choose from that are also low in FODMAPs.
Tofu and Tempeh are both high-protein soy products that are naturally low in FODMAPs. These are a great meat alternative and can be used in stir-fries, salads and pasta sauces. Remember to stick to firmer varieties of tofu. Silken tofu has less water pressed out of it during processing and so is actually high FODMAP.
As mentioned above, Soymilk (made form soy protein) is a good source of protein. Try a soymilk-based smoothie with banana, maple syrup and chia seeds as a low FODMAP breakfast.
Nuts and seeds are low in FODMAPs (with the exception of pistachios, cashews, (and in small quantities) hazelnuts and almonds; I know they are my favourites too)! They contain a good amount of protein and their high satiety properties make them an ideal low FODMAP snack.
Some low FODMAP grains have higher amounts of protein than others such as quinoa and oats. These grains also provide dietary fibre, which is always important to consider when on a low FODMAP diet. It is important to check – are you getting enough?
Although most lentils and legumes are high in GOS small quantities of brown lentils and chickpeas can often be tolerated (<1/4 cup). These are good sources of protein, low in energy and cost making them a great meat alternative.
I hope this has answered your low FODMAP protein questions and has given this important nutrient the attention it deserves.
By Fiona Kupresanin
Start feeling better now! By signing up to The FODMAP Challenge you will receive meal plans, recipe ideas, and regular support with other resources, such as a private Facebook group, to make this as easy for you as possible.