IBS-Friendly Baking Guide
Last updated: December 2021
Do you love cakes, cookies, muffins, bread, and anything doughy? Commonly made with gluten-abundant flour, honey, high fructose corn syrup, confectionary sugar, and milk, store-bought baked goods are essentially a brutal mash-up of IBS-triggering ingredients. But you don't have to desert all the desserts (nor "suffer through the consequences") to keep your gut health in check. So instead, skip the store-bought options and create your own gut-friendly treat with this low FODMAP baking guide.
The power of flour! While traditionally used wheat flour may be a no-go, there are tons of substitutes to satisfy your tastebuds while preserving your gut health. Plus, these fiber-filled alternatives can improve feelings of fullness, overall satiety and reduce long-term disease risk.1 But, if you are a fan of the classics and strive for flavor or texture familiarity that won't negatively impact your gut, simply opt for gluten-free all-purpose flour. Or discover a newfound favorite by experimenting with the other low FODMAP flour options below.2 You can also start by mixing in a third or half of a whole grain flour with gluten-free all-purpose flour. Whole grains provide important nutrients for the gut microbiome and help with regularity.3
- All-purpose gluten-free
- Oat (choose gluten-free)
Do you strive for Coldplay's "lips like sugar" yet don't know which options will feel sweet from start to finish? While many sweeteners are low in FODMAPS, store-bought goods may contain high-fructose corn syrup, which may trigger unwanted symptoms of IBS. Personally, my favorite sweetener option is maple syrup because of its irresistible taste and abundance of antioxidants.4 Listen to your gut and opt for whichever sweet options you find best. Also, keep in mind many sugars are dose-dependent. So, for example, if a recipe calls for four dates and makes 20 servings, you will most likely tolerate this as 1/3 of a date is low FODMAP.
- Maple syrup
- Jam or jelly made without high-fructose corn syrup
Milk is not what it used to be. Thankfully for those with IBS, cow's milk is no longer the only option on the shelf. However, sometimes more options can result in greater confusion. Not to mention that not every type of milk is created equal. Ideally, opt for unsweetened milk containing minimal additives and possibly fortified with calcium from a nutritional perspective. For a sustainable choice, experiment with soy milk, which produces fewer emissions and requires less water than other IBS-friendly options.5 For more milk options that won't trigger unwanted symptoms of IBS, check out the list below.6
- Unsweetened Almond milk
- Lactose-free cow’s milk
- Macadamia milk
- Rice milk (low in nutritional value)
- Hemp milk
- Soy milk made from soy protein
- Unsweetened quinoa milk
Unlike cow's milk or heavy cream, butter is low in lactose—the high FODMAP sugar naturally found in dairy products. So, there is no need to replace what isn't broken! However, butter remains an ingredient high in saturated fats, which can negatively affect health when chronically overconsumed. For a heart-healthy alternative, opt for vegan butter or polyunsaturated oil. Since oils contain little to no carbohydrates, they are well-tolerated by people with IBS.7 When substituting butter for oil, use three-quarters of the amount specified in the recipe.
- Cow’s butter
- Earth’s Balance (vegan butter substitute)
- Avocado oil
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Coconut oil
- Macadamia butter (not tested, but appears to be well tolerated by my clients)
- Lactose-free yogurt (can be substituted for part of the butter and oil)
When it comes to store-bought baked goods, it's better to trust your gut and leave it behind. Instead, discover your inner baker by creating an IBS-friendly option that you can feel good about eating. After all, you should be able to have your cake and eat it too without unwanted symptoms of distress. So, when creating your next tasty masterpiece, use this IBS-friendly baking guide.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?