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.
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Table of Contents
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:
- Whole wheat
- Wheat flour
- Enriched wheat flour (bleached or unbleached)
- 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
- Apple juice concentrate
- Chicory/chicory root/chicory root fiber
- Coconut sugar / coconut palm sugar
- Dates / date sugar / palm sugar
- Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)
- Fruit juice concentrates or purees
- Golden syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- Soy flakes
- Sugar alcohols – mannitol, sorbitol, lactitol, maltitol & xylitol (and erythritol, anecdotally)
- Whey/whey protein concentrate (contains lactose)
Best low FODMAP granola ingredients
Low FODMAP grains
Look for granola made with low FODMAP grains such as:
- Cassava (sometimes)
- Oats / oat flour
- Rice (any kind)
Low FODMAP nuts and seeds
Choose granola products and recipes that contain only lower FODMAP nuts and seeds such as:
- Brazil nuts
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Low FODMAP fruits, sweeteners, and additives
- 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 juice
- Invert cane syrup/invert syrup/invert sugar (use sparingly)
- Real maple syrup
- Rice malt syrup
- 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
If you’re able to tolerate moderate amounts of fiber, we recommend looking for granolas with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
Look for a low FODMAP cereal with little to no added sugars. That is, 9 grams or less of added sugar per serving!
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
- Bakery on Main sprouted maple quinoa granola*
- Bob’s Red Mill homestyle coconut spice granola*
- Bob’s Red Mill pan-cranberry almond pan-baked granola*
- Bob’s Red Mill Homestyle maple sea salt pan-baked granola*
- Clearly Organic magic maple granola
- Early Bird Foods kiss my oats granola
- Early Bird CHOC-A-DOODLE-DOO granola
- Julian Bakery pro granola peanut butter clusters
- Ladera Foods pumpkin quinoa granola
- Marge Original, blueberry almond flax, and hazelnut cacao nibs granola
- Nature’s Path love crunch organic granola, chocolate and peanut butter
- Nature’s Path love crunch organic granola, double chocolate crunch
- Nature’s Path Hemp Hearts Granola
- Nature’s Path Organic Chia Plus Coconut Chia Granola
- Nature’s Path Pumpkin Seed & Flax Granola
- Nature’s Path Vanilla Almond & Flax Granola
- Nature’s Promise organic granola maple
- One Degree quinoa cacao granola*
- One Degree sprouted oat cinnamon flax granola*
- One Degree sprouted vanilla chai granola*
- Paleonola grain free maple pancake granola*
- Safe and Fair birthday cake granola
- Trader Joe’s pecan praline granola*
Other store-bought low FODMAP granola options
- Nature Valley granola crunch, cinnamon
- Nature Valley Granola Crunch, maple brown sugar
- Kellogg’s Special K granola cereal, touch of honey
- HEB select ingredients granola classic
- HEB select ingredients granola cocoa with semisweet chocolate pieces
- HEB select ingredients granola with pecans
Best low FODMAP granola bars
- GoMacro granola and coconut snack bar
- JUNKLESS chewy peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars
- JUNKLESS chocolate chip granola bars
Other low FODMAP granola bar options
- Atkins protein granola meal bars, peanut butter
- Great Value crunchy granola bars, oats & honey
- Jif power ups creamy granola clusters, peanut butter
- Jif power ups creamy peanut butter chewy granola bars
- Jif power ups super s’mores stacked granola bars
- Nature Valley crunchy granola bars, cinnamon
- Nature Valley crunchy granola bars, peanut butter
- Signature SELECT crunchy granola bar, oats & honey
- Contains less than 2% honey
3 low FODMAP granola recipes
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 greek yogurt or in a bowl like cereal with your favorite low FODMAP milk.
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 your greek yogurt with this chocolatey goodness for a balanced breakfast or snack.
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
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.
- If you’re feeling lost on what milk to choose, read all about the best milk option for IBS sufferers here!
Combining your favorite low FODMAP granola with Greek yogurt and a low FODMAP fruit (like berries) is a nutritious and filling breakfast or snack option!
For those that can tolerate it, Greek yogurt is rich in calcium and a great source of protein and probiotics for digestive health. However, Greek yogurt also naturally contains lactose (less than milk). Although the probiotics help to digest the lactose present, it’s important to know that it may not be suitable for everyone on a low FODMAP diet.
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!
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:
- 15 Tasty & Healthy Low FODMAP Breakfast Recipes
- Ultimate Guide to Finding & Choosing a Low FODMAP Cereal
- Is Oatmeal Low FODMAP?
- 7 Reasons Oatmeal and Oat Milk Can Cause Diarrhea
- What’s the Best Milk for IBS Sufferers?
- Wheat vs Gluten – What’s the Difference?
- 50+ Tasty Low FODMAP Snacks for IBS
- IBS and Coffee: Can They Coexist?
- Decaf Coffee and IBS – To Drink or Not to Drink?
- 15 Simple & Delicious Dietitian-Approved Low FODMAP Lunch Ideas
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!
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!