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Is Honey Low FODMAP? Sweeteners & The FODMAP Diet In 2023
FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. For some, these carbs are not absorbed well in the gut and may cause digestive issues. A person with a gastrointestinal condition, like irritable bowel syndrome, may benefit from a low-FODMAP diet. A low-FODMAP diet avoids or limits this group of carbohydrates. FODMAP content varies, and not all items will have the same amounts of these short-chained carbs] It’s a restrictive diet meant to be done in the short term to determine the tolerance of these carbs. Honey, a natural sweetener, can be a safe alternative to other sweet components. But is honey FODMAP-friendly? Unfortunately, honey is high in fructose, a simple sugar classified as a FODMAP. But you may not need to eliminate honey completely if you follow a low-FODMAP diet. Let’s read on.
Is Honey A Low FODMAP?
No, Honey is a high-FODMAP food, but if consumed in small quantities, it may fit into a low-FODMAP diet. It contains the simple sugars fructose and glucose, the sugars eliminated during the discovery phase of a FODMAP diet.
Honey Health Benefits
Honey, a natural product made by honeybees from the nectar of flowers or honeydew from insects, can offer several benefits to humans. Some benefits of honey include its antioxidant, anti-fungicidal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Other benefits include its role in lowering blood pressure, limiting the growth of tumor cells, and supporting liver health.
But not every honey product is the same. Its beneficial components may vary depending on the flower source, location, climate conditions, season of harvesting, and even how the honey is handled and stored.
There are about 300 different types of honey, mainly differentiated by the type of flower the nectar is extracted from. The different types of honey provide a variety of flavors, colors, and nutrients. These differences can favor people who consume honey for its health benefits.
Guidelines For Low FODMAP Honey Serving Size
The typical portion size of honey is one tablespoon unless otherwise directed by your registered dietitian. For such a small amount, the best use can be to drizzle honey as a garnish or to provide a bit more of a sweet flavor.
If you find that honey is incompatible with your digestion, there are other options to consider. You can replace honey with other sweeteners with a lower FODMAP content.
You can try low-FODMAP sweet sources like:
- Pure maple syrup.
- Manuka honey.
- Rice malt syrup.
- Clover honey.
- Sugar beet juice.
- Brown sugar.
- Golden syrup.
Pure Maple Syrup
Pure maple syrup is made by concentrating sap from a maple tree. It’s made up of sucrose, a disaccharide sugar, but is considered a low FODMAP food.
Honeybees also make Manuka honey. Is Manuka honey low fodmap? While it is typically considered a high FODMAP food, many experts indicate it can be considered low FODMAP if used in small quantities.
Brown Rice Malt
Brown rice malt is a syrup made from brown rice. Adding a small amount of sprouted barley grains to cooked rice helps break down the sugars.
It is low in fructose and glucose but high in maltose, a disaccharide that is considered a low FODMAP item.
Honeybees make Clover honey with nectar sourced from clover plants. It contains fructose, but some experts indicate it can be included in a low FODMAP diet if consumed in small doses.
Made of beets, beet sugar can also be an alternative to honey. It does, however, contain oligosaccharides. Oligosaccharides, being one of the short-chained carbohydrates to limit on a low FODMAP diet, may be tolerated if consumed in small doses.
Although brown sugar is a disaccharide, it contains sucrose and equal amounts of fructose and glucose, making it a low FODMAP item.
Golden syrup is a thick syrup made by refining cane or beet sugar. This sugar component is derived from a disaccharide sugar with equal parts of fructose and glucose.
How Can Honey Be Used On A Low FODMAP Diet?
Because honey has a high content of monosaccharides fructose and glucose, this makes it a high FODMAP item. To use honey safely and minimize symptoms of IBS or small intestine bacterial overgrowth, you can use honey in quantities as little as half a teaspoon to a teaspoon.
The symptoms aren’t limited to just consuming one ingredient with sugar but a combination of various foods high in these sugars. Knowing what other foods contain these short-chained carbs can help develop a meal plan that best suits you.
For example, consider adding honey to low-FODMAP foods instead of other high-FODMAP foods. Instead of drizzling honey over fruit, add it to a small portion of oatmeal or tea cup.
Check out these lists of some high and low FODMAP foods:
- Most legumes.
- Wheat/Rye/Barley based bread.
- High-fructose corn syrup.
- Cashews and pistachios.
- Bell pepper.
- Almond milk, lactose-free milk, soy milk.
- Brown rice.
- Pure maple syrup.
- Rice malt syrup.
- Clover honey.
- Brown sugar.
Honey, despite its many health benefits and various uses, is a high-FODMAP food. However, it can be included in a low FODMAP diet if tolerated and consumed in small portions. The minimum amount is 1 tablespoon.
Still, low FODMAP alternatives are available and should be considered. It’s important to try to follow a healthy diet, especially with low FODMAP needs. With its high restriction, you risk not having enough nutrients to be healthy.
Consulting a registered dietitian specializing in irritable bowel syndrome or other digestive issues can help you determine how to follow this diet best. Remember that this diet is not for weight loss and you shouldn’t follow restrictively for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
All honey types made by honeybees are high-FODMAP, but consuming honey at 1 teaspoon or less can make it a low-FODMAP option.
You can typically use honey with IBS in small amounts. However, it depends on your tolerance and your healthcare professional’s guidance.
Maple syrup is low FODMAP and an appropriate alternative to high FODMAP honey.
Maple syrup is typically better for those with IBS. It primarily contains sucrose, while honey contains fructose.
If you have questions about the FODMAP content of a particular food, talk with your doctor or registered dietitian.
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