The Best Low FODMAP Granola for IBS

The Best Low FODMAP Granola for IBS

“The Best Low FODMAP granola for IBS” was written by dietetic intern and functional nutritionist Krista Wale, B.S. and was reviewed and revised by Jenna Volpe, RDN, LD, CLT.

Who doesn’t love the sweet, crunchy goodness of granola? Granola is a classic and timeless breakfast staple and snack food.  However, many commercially-made granolas aren’t IBS-friendly due to their high FODMAP ingredients, which can often trigger unwanted symptoms for IBS sufferers.

In this article we’ll help you to navigate the granola aisle with more ease, by showing you what to look for on the ingredient list of a granola nutrition label.  We’ve also compiled a round-up of our favorite low FODMAP granola brands, products and recipes so you have lots of “you-friendly” options to choose from! Let’s dive in.

Affiliate disclosure: This article contains affiliate links*. As an Amazon Associate, Whole-istic Living may make a small commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you!

What are FODMAPs? (A quick review)

“FODMAP” is an acronym which stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols“.

These are short-chain fibers and carbohydrates which aren’t easily digested or absorbed, which means they can ferment in your intestines and/or trigger osmosis in your colon – potentially leading to an IBS flare or “IBS attack”.

While note everyone is bothered by all high FODMAP foods, about 75% of people with IBS have reported feeling better on a low FODMAP diet, according to the latest research.

(Check out our more in-depth low-down on the low FODMAP diet for IBS here!)

What makes a granola high or low FODMAP?

Some granolas are considered low FODMAP in certain portion quantities, while others are considered off-limits due to their high quantities of FODMAP ingredients. 

Granola is typically made from a base of rolled oats or other grains and a variety of add-ins like sweeteners, nuts/nut butters, seeds, dried fruits and spices that are combined and baked to a crisp. 

Because the exact ingredients in each granola vary widely, it’s important that you have a good understanding of which ingredients are high and low FODMAP. 

Label reading: what to look for 

When looking for a low FODMAP granola, we’re going beyond just calories, protein, fiber and sugar content!  When it comes to FODMAPs, the ingredients matter more than the “macros”.

Because granola varies widely, you may want to learn how to read the ingredients list and recognize those sneaky high FODMAP culprits that lead to GI issues like bloating, gas and diarrhea. 

Granola ingredients to avoid 

High FODMAP grains

If you’re seeking out low FODMAP cereals, you’ll generally want to steer clear of the cereals made with high FODMAP grains such as:

  • “Wheat”
  • Whole wheat
  • Wheat flour
  • Enriched wheat flour (bleached or unbleached)
  • Barley 
  • Rye
  • Kamut (a type of wheat)

To add an extra layer of complexity, even cereals made with low FODMAP grains like oats, rice, or corn (which are all low in fructans) can still contain other high FODMAP ingredients such as sweeteners and fillers.

High FODMAP fruits, sweeteners, nuts and additives

Watch out for high FODMAP fruits, sweeteners, nuts and other common additives – especially when they’re listed as one of the first 5 ingredients (since the ingredients are listed in order from most to least concentrated).

  • Agave nectar
  • Apples
  • Apple juice concentrate
  • Cashews
  • Cherries
  • Chicory/chicory root/chicory root fiber 
  • Coconut sugar / coconut palm sugar
  • Dates / date sugar / palm sugar
  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrates or purees 
  • Golden syrup 
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Honey  
  • Inulin
  • Mango
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pistachios
  • Soy flakes
  • Sugar alcohols – mannitol, sorbitol, lactitol, maltitol & xylitol 
  • Whey/whey protein concentrate (contains lactose)

Related article:  Is Erythritol Low FODMAP? (The Low-Down on Erythritol and IBS)

Best low FODMAP granola ingredients

Low FODMAP grains

 Look for granola made with low FODMAP grains such as: 

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Cassava (sometimes)
  • Corn
  • Oats / oat flour
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Rice (any kind)
  • Tapioca 

Low FODMAP nuts and seeds

Choose granola products and recipes that contain only lower FODMAP nuts and seeds such as:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Flax seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Low FODMAP fruits, sweeteners, and additives

The following ingredients are usually well tolerated for folks with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and/or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) from a FODMAP intolerance standpoint: 

  • Blueberries
  • Cacao
  • Cocoa
  • Coconut flakes/shredded coconut
  • Dark chocolate
  • Dried bananas (usually in small enough quantities in a cereal)
  • Dried cranberries (if unsweetened or sweetened with cane sugar)
  • Evaporated cane juicey
  • Invert cane syrup/invert syrup/invert sugar (use sparingly)
  • Real maple syrup
  • Rice malt syrup
  • Strawberries
  • Table sugar/cane sugar (use sparingly!)

Although table sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, aspartame, corn syrup, and evaporated cane juice are all technically considered low FODMAP sweeteners, refined sugars and chemically-made artificial sweeteners have been shown to have a negative impact on your gut microbiome.

  • As holistic-minded clinicians, we recommend steering clear of chemical sweeteners and limiting added sugar by keeping the total amount to no more than ~9 grams.
  • Get a more holistic perspective on IBS and sugar here, or better yet – check out a round-up of the best sweeteners for IBS, according to a holistic gut health dietitian!

More low FODMAP granola criteria

Before we go any further, it’s important to remember: just because a granola is low FODMAP, doesn’t necessarily always mean it’s IBS-friendly or healthy if you’re looking to optimize gut health! 

Some granolas are very high in added sugar, and some granolas could also contain foods that you react to from a food sensitivity standpoint.

What to consider

Fiber 

If you’re able to tolerate moderate amounts of fiber, we recommend looking for granolas with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. 

Added sugar 

Look for a low FODMAP cereal with little to no added sugars. That is, 9 grams or less of added sugar per serving! 

Naturally sweetened

From a gut microbiome standpoint, more and more research is showing us that refined sweeteners like table sugar and corn syrup seem to feed the pathogenic, unhealthy microbes in the gut.  And we know now that dysbiosis and candida overgrowth are two very common underlying culprits of IBS.

So consider leaning more towards natural sweeteners like real maple syrup versus corn syrup or cane sugar!

Does organic matter? 

We prefer granolas that are certified organic and/or not genetically modified. Going organic (“non-GMO”) means the ingredients in your cereal were never sprayed with glyphosate which, as we mentioned, is a herbicide (weed-killer) like RoundUp, that is under scrutiny for potential links to health problems.

      • We believe in informed consent, and although research on this is still conflicting, we prefer not to take that risk when possible! 

Best store-bought low FODMAP granola options

Other store-bought low FODMAP granola options 

Best low FODMAP granola bars

Other low FODMAP granola bar options

3 low FODMAP granola recipes 

Easy low FODMAP granola

A simple crunchy granola recipe that only uses 5 ingredients and 30 minutes of your time to make! This granola is a breeze to prepare and goes great on top of low FODMAP yogurt or in a bowl like cereal with your favorite low FODMAP milk. 

Dark chocolate granola

This one is for all our fellow chocolate lovers! This dark chocolate granola is made with quinoa flakes and puffs instead of oats and sweetened with brown sugar and maple syrup.

Top low FODMAP yogurt with this chocolatey goodness for a balanced breakfast or snack. 

Low FODMAP granola bars with peanut butter and chocolate chips

Making homemade granola bars is a great way to ensure it’s low FODMAP, plus you get more bang for your buck! These granola bars are the perfect blend of peanut butter and chocolate and serve as the perfect hunger-buster to get you through the week. 

Fun ways to eat granola

Cereal

If eating plain granola isn’t your cup of tea, try eating it like cereal by pairing it with your favorite lactose free milk or milk alternative.

Yogurt parfaits

Combining your favorite low FODMAP granola with low FODMAP yogurt and a low FODMAP fruit (like berries) is a nutritious and filling breakfast or snack option!

For those that can tolerate it, lactose free dairy yogurt is rich in calcium and a great source of protein and probiotics for digestive health. 

Baked goods

Another popular way to use granola is in baked goods like granola bars, cookies and muffins. Granola is a great way to add extra nutrients, flavor and texture to our favorite goodies. See below for recipe inspo! 

More resources

If you’d like some extra resources navigating the low FODMAP diet and/or IBS, we’ve got you covered!  Feel free too check out any or all of the following recipes and articles:

Conclusion

Granola is one of the most popular breakfast and snack choices out there with a huge variety of options on the market to choose from, including a few low FODMAP options! 

Most granola is made with oats, which are low FODMAP in small quantities, but many are also made with high FODMAP additives like certain nuts/nut butters, dried fruits and sweeteners. Knowing what to look for on the label is key to determining if a granola fits the bill of the low FODMAP diet.

We hope that we were able to help make sense of what to look for when searching for a low FODMAP granola. If you’re still unsure, stick to one of the granola products we recommend, or try making it yourself, to ensure your granola is low FODMAP! 

Next steps

If you’re navigating gut issues and would like to learn more, we recommend downloading a copy of this free gut health nutrition guide: 5 Diet Mistakes to Avoid When Healing Your Gut!

Free Download - 5 Diet Mistakes to Avoid When Healing Your Gut - by Jenna Volpe RDN LD CLT

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