Coconut water is a popular beverage among health enthusiasts, athletes, and those seeking a refreshing, hydrating drink. With its natural sweetness and abundance of minerals, it’s no wonder that people are turning to coconut water as an alternative to sugary sodas and energy drinks.
However, for those following a low FODMAP diet, the question remains: Is coconut water low FODMAP? In this article, we will explore the science behind coconut water and its FODMAP content.
What is the low FODMAP diet?
The low FODMAP diet is a dietary approach that can help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) manage their symptoms. FODMAPs are short-chain carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can lead to IBS symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
The acronym FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. The low FODMAP diet involves reducing or eliminating these types of carbohydrates from the diet to alleviate symptoms.
What are the FODMAPs in coconut water?
Coconut water is a clear liquid found inside young, green coconuts. It is naturally low in calories and fat and contains a range of minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium. However, it also contains FODMAPs in the form of fructose and polyols.
Fructose is a monosaccharide (single sugar molecule) that is naturally present in many fruits, including coconut. Polyols, also known as sugar alcohols, are a type of carbohydrate that is commonly used as a low-calorie sweetener in processed foods. Coconut water contains the polyol sorbitol.
Is coconut water low FODMAP?
The short answer is no, coconut water is not low FODMAP. Coconut water is not suitable for strict low FODMAP dieters as it is high in fructose and sorbitol, according to the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App.
However, the amount of FODMAPs in coconut water can vary depending on factors such as the maturity of the coconut and the amount consumed. Some people with IBS may be able to tolerate small amounts of coconut water, while others may need to avoid it entirely.
How much coconut water can you drink on a low FODMAP diet?
If you have IBS and are following a low FODMAP diet, it’s important to limit your intake of coconut water. According to Monash University, a low FODMAP serving of coconut water is 100ml (3.4 fl oz) or less. Larger servings are likely to contain high levels of fructose and sorbitol, which can trigger IBS symptoms.
What are the alternatives to coconut water on a low FODMAP diet?
If you are following a low FODMAP diet and are looking for a hydrating, refreshing drink, there are several alternatives to coconut water. These include:
- Water: Drinking plenty of water is essential for staying hydrated, and it contains zero FODMAPs.
- Lemon water: Adding a slice of lemon to your water can add flavor and help with digestion.
- Herbal tea: Many types of herbal tea are low FODMAP, including peppermint, ginger, and chamomile.
- Sports drinks: Some sports drinks, such as Gatorade G2, are low FODMAP and can be used to rehydrate after exercise.
In conclusion, coconut water is not low FODMAP and should be avoided or consumed in moderation by those following a low FODMAP diet. While it does offer some health benefits, such as being a good source of minerals, the FODMAP content can trigger IBS symptoms in some people.
To maintain a healthy low FODMAP diet, seek guidance from a registered dietitian, and be mindful of the ingredients in your food and drinks.
- Barrett, J. S. (2017). How to institute the low-FODMAP diet. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology, 32(Suppl 1), 8-10.
- Monash University. (2022). The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App.
- Shepherd, S. J., & Gibson, P. R. (2013). Fructose malabsorption and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome: guidelines for effective dietary management. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(3), 375-382.
- Staudacher, H. M., Lomer, M. C., Anderson, J. L., Barrett, J. S., Muir, J. G., Irving, P. M., & Whelan, K. (2012). Fermentable carbohydrate restriction reduces luminal bifidobacteria and gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome. Journal of Nutrition, 142(8), 1510-1518.