I Want to Know: Does Coconut Contain FODMAPs?
Great question – to which there are many answers. We are going to break it down for you, one coconut product at a time. Some of the answers are clear cut; others, not-so-much. As always we strive to bring you the most up-to-date FODMAP science and information so that you can thrive on the low FODMAP diet.
With no further ado, here is coconut in all its glory, from fresh to dried, sweetened and unsweetened, milk, water, cream, flour, oil, yogurt and more.
Low FODMAP Coconut Products
Let’s get to the good news first. Here are the coconut products that you can incorporate into your diet, many of them even during the Elimination phase.
Coconut Cream, regular fat: This product has been tested by Monash University and is recommended at amounts of ¼ cup (60 g). No information has been provided for Moderate or High FODMAP serving sizes, but since this is a high fat product, it is lower in carbohydrates by definition. FODMAP Friendly has low FODMAP serving sizes set at ⅓ cup (70 ml), with a max serving size of 101 ml.
Canned Coconut Milk: This product has been tested by Monash University and is recommended at amounts of ⅓ cup (80 g). In this case the margin is small as it becomes high FODMAP at ½ cup (120 g). In an email with Monash, they clarified that they tested full fat versions (center, below).
FODMAP Friendly sets the low FODMAP serving size at the same amount, but notes a max low FODMAP serving size of 1 ¼ cups (295 ml).
“Lite” or “Light” version exist (as seen in left of image, below); they just have a higher water content, so they should be fine, from a FODMAP perspective.
Coconut Water: This is the clear liquid from the center of fresh coconuts (seen above, right). Monash has tested it and it is Green Light at 100 ml, which is slightly less than ½ cup. They give this go-ahead for both fresh and packaged.
UHT Long Life Coconut Milk: This is coconut milk that comes in shelf-stable, un-refrigerated cardboard containers. Monash initially gave this a Green Light at ½ cup (125 ml/120 g). That has been increased to ¾ cup, or 180g. FODMAP Friendly says 1 cup (250 ml), with a max low FODMAP serving size of 2 cups (500 ml).
Coconut Oil: Both refined and unrefined coconut oils are low FODMAP. They are fats and therefore we don’t have to worry about FODMAP content. Refined will be less “coconutty” in flavor. Both are high in saturated fat and should be consumed in moderation.
Fresh Coconut: Fresh coconut refers to the fresh, moist flesh harvested from a freshly cracked-open coconut. You can also sometimes find fresh coconut in freezer sections of supermarkets. Note that this fruit is given a Yellow Light on the Monash University app, but if you click through you will learn that it is Green Light and low FODMAP in ½ cup (48 g) servings. Larger amounts contain the polyol sorbitol.
FODMAP Friendly states low FODMAP serving size of ½ cup (48 g), with a max low FODMAP serving size of 121 g.
Dried Coconut: Dried coconut comes in many forms. The one tested by Monash and listed on their app is for unsweetened shredded dried coconut. Just as with fresh, Monash gives it a Yellow Light, but you will see that inside the listing they approve and Green Light it at ¼ cup (18 g) servings. Larger amounts contain the polyol sorbitol.
You can see in the images above and below that dried coconut comes in many forms. Left to right: Unsweetened grated (sometimes called desiccated), in the middle is long shred coconut, sometimes called “angel flake”. This can come sweetened or unsweetened. On the right are large coconut flakes, sometimes called chips; these happen to be toasted. These also come both sweetened and unsweetened.
As Monash has only tested the finely grated kind you have to use your common sense with other textures as they measure differently. And remember they have only tested the unsweetened kind.
Coconut Sugar: This granulated sugar is made from the coconut palm tree and is not to be confused with palm sugar, which is made from the date palm. Monash gives this a Green Light at a small serving of 1 teaspoon. Fructans and fructose are present in larger quantities.
This is one of those food ingredients where lab tests have shown wildly different results. FODMAP Friendly has a low FODMAP max serving size as 1.02 cups (204 g).
Coconut Treacle: This is a liquid sweetener that has been given the Green Light by Monash in small servings. They recommend it at ½ tablespoon, however, remember that these are Australian tablespoons. Their recommendation would be the equivalent of 10 ml, which is the equivalent of 2 teaspoons everywhere else in the world. In larger amounts the fructan level makes this high FODMAP.
Coconut Cream: This is NOT the same as Cream of Coconut, mentioned below. Note the difference in nomenclature. This entry is for Coconut Cream. The highly sweetened product mentioned below is always called Cream of Coconut. Canned coconut cream is manufactured the same way as canned coconut milk, but it is higher in fat, thicker and richer.
Since its fat content is higher it is possible that it could trigger digestive upset in those sensitive to fat, however it does have a low FODMAP serving size of ¼ cup (60 g) according to Monash University. FODMAP Friendly sets the low FODMAP serving size at ⅓ cup (70 ml), with a max low FODMAP serving size of 101 ml.
Powdered Coconut Milk: This is a product that you might not come across unless you are in an Asian food store or shopping in a specialty food store. (King Arthur sells it for baking, for instance). It is a shelf stable product that allows you to whip up coconut milk for cooking and baking at a moment’s notice.
Ingredients will typically be coconut milk, and/or maltodextrin and/or modified food starch and/or possibly some sort of sweetener. Monash has lab tested it and 1 tablespoon (20 g) is low FODMAP. No other information is provided.
Vegan Coconut Oil Based Cheese: This is one of those Monash app entries that drives us a bit nuts. They state that 2 slices (what the heck is a “slice”), or 40 g is low FODMAP, however, we have no idea what product they lab tested and not all vegan, coconut-oil based cheeses are the same; they very well could contain high FODMAP ingredients.
Vegan Coconut Oil Based Cream Cheese: Same comments as above. Monash says 30 g is low FODMAP, however, we have no idea what product they lab tested and not all vegan, coconut-oil based cream cheeses are the same; they very well could contain high FODMAP ingredients.
bare brand Toasted Coconut Chips: Lab tested by Monash. 180 g, or about ¾ cup, is a low FODMAP serving size.
High FODMAP Coconut Products
Coconut Milk with Inulin: Monash has a separate line item for coconut milk with inulin. As inulin is a known FODMAP, it should be clear that you should not use coconut milk that contains it. This type of coconut milk is high in fructans.
Coconut Flour: This is a high FODMAP, albeit a gluten-free, product. It is made by grinding up the leftover mass after coconut oil and/or milk has been produced. It is very high in fiber and does not work as a 1 to 1 replacement for all-purpose flour in baking. The 2/3 cup (100 g) serving tested by Monash showed that it was high in Oligos, Fructose and Polyols. As it is a triple FODMAP threat you should just steer clear. FODMAP Friendly has tested coconut flour as well and even in their 3 tablespoon (20 g) amounts their labs determined it to be high FODMAP.
Coconut Products You Might Like to Try
Canned Cream of Coconut: This is more sugar than coconut and is hardly ever used in cooking like real canned coconut milk or coconut cream. It is, however used in desserts and beverage creation. Cream of coconut is a sugary, syrupy concoction commonly used to create pina coladas. Cream of coconut might be made with high fructose corn syrup or other potentially high FODMAP ingredients (we do not know the FODMAP content of) such as sorbitan monostearate, which is a sorbitol (polyol) derivative. But you can find products with low FODMAP ingredients. Label reading is a must.
Coconut Butter: This is not the same as coconut oil. Coconut butter is actually coconut flesh that has been ground down and processed into a creamy, spreadable paste, like a “butter”. It is essentially a very concentrated form of coconut flesh/meat. You could use your Monash App to assess Low FODMAP amount of fresh coconut itself and try small amounts to assess your tolerance.
Refrigerated Coconut Milk: Our supermarket’s refrigerator shelves are jam-packed with coconut milk. It comes unsweetened, sweetened, with vanilla or without. The ingredient lists are not bad.
They start with coconut milk, there are many sweetened with plain cane sugar and the added vitamins and gums would not be high FODMAP red flags. These products are not tested, but they are very popular and we suggest that you do a test for yourself.
Coconut Ice Cream: There are many coconut ice creams on the market so it is impossible to assess them as a group. Certainly some have cleaner labels than others and you should definitely steer clear of any with inulin, high fructose corn syrup, agave, honey or flavors like cherry or mango, all of which are high FODMAP foods. It is possible to find some brands with cleaner labels and you could try small amounts.
Coconut Yogurt: Monash has given coconut yogurt a Green Light at a serving of 125 g, which is about 4 ounces and a very small size, usually not an entire container. We can only recommend coconut yogurt with a caveat. Just as with coconut ice cream there are many brands on the market and they are not equivalent from a FODMAP point of view.
You must read individual labels and assess for FODMAPs. Even within the same brand, one flavor could be okay such as vanilla, but another flavor such as mango would not be.
Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk: A few companies (such as Nature’s Charm and Let’s Do…) have come out with a Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk product and their ingredients vary. Most brands have very simple labels such as: Organic coconut, water and organic cane sugar, occasionally with salt added.
Brand content will vary. This product has not been tested for FODMAPs. You could try small amounts for yourself.
If you want to see coconut in action, check out our Coconut Macaroons, Chocolate Macaroons, Turkey Coconut Curry, Toasted Almond Coconut Fudge Brownies, Poppy Seed Carrot Banana Bread, The Best Popcorn Ever! and our Glorious Morning Muffins.
Tell Us What You Think
10 comments for “Is Coconut Low FODMAP?”
What about coconut butter?
Hi Melissa, fats are low FODMAP, hence coconut oil is considered low FODMAP. Coconut butter is made from dried coconut, processed until smooth, so it is essentially the same as very finely dried coconut (desiccated coconut is often used to make it at home). Coconut “butter” is not tested. It is high in fat but also contains the carbohydrates that contain the FODMAPs. Monash lists dried shredded coconut as low FODMAP in 30 g portions (they say about 1/2 cup but that will depend on the type of dried coconut). I would try the coconut butter in 1 tablespoon amounts and see how you do. Thank you for asking!
What about coconut aminos? How do you know coconut milk has inulin in it?
Hi Francis. Many people do very well with the coconut aminos and they are worth a try. Inulin will be listed in an ingredient label, so you just have to look.
When you refer to “coconut butter” are you also referring to coconut mana?
Thank you for this article! It was extremely helpful as I’m trying to navigate through a low-fodmap/AIP diet and coconut is used frequently in place of nuts and seeds.
Do you happen to have any information on casava and where can I find the most current fodmap list of foods?
Hi Amy, the coconut butter is the same as coconut manna. FYI we do not recommend any other elimination-style diet be undertaken along with the low FODMAP diet, as we follow Monash University guidelines. FYI the way to always be up-to-date is to have both the Monash and FODMAP Friendly apps. They are the two entities lab testing foods and products so they are ground zero and where others derive their info, which is often out-of-date or poorly represented. Both raw cassava (Monash) and cassava flour (FODMAP Friendly) are represented on the apps.
Can you use coconut as a reintroduction product for sorbitol? Or is that silly and just stick with the Monash suggestions of avocado, blackberries, etc. I’m not fond of apricots or peaches, so I would like to try something else. Plus, I really miss coconut in various forms.
Hi Alene, Great question! I’ve got a few things to say so bear with me is there in no particular order. First of all if you are not fond of apricots or peaches and will not ever be eating them fresh then there is absolutely no reason to use them as a test. It makes much more sense to test with foods that you do eat. That said, fresh coconut only becomes moderate for FODMAPs at 1 cup or 96 g and that is quite a lot so it would not be easy to use that as a test. I dare say most of us are not eating that much at a time let alone more. Dried coconut is not that much better as it only becomes moderate at 3/4 of a cup or 45 g. Canned coconut milk is moderate add a half a cup or 120 g and is high FODMAP at 3/4 of a cup and 180 g. If you wanted to use coconut maybe you could use canned coconut milk and make smoothies?
I’ve already used coconut milk in dishes and I was fine. I was thinking more about coconut flour and dried coconut when they are added to dishes as another flavor addition. I looked at the Monash amounts and thought that was too much also. I will stick to the Monash food suggestions. I’m reacting to the strangest things, things I always ate some months ago without problems. So this whole thing is so discouraging. I did buy Alana Scott’s cookbook, the Gut-friendly Cookbook. Maybe something in there will stimulate my appetite and fit my ibs needs. Thank you for answering my question. Hope you have a nice day.
Alene, remember that symptoms can come from food as well as non-food triggers. And, your GI tract is not static. You might do well, or not, with certain things now and later it will be different. The best advice I can give to you is to work with a RD to help make sure you are structured in such a way as to get the info you need; to make it as clear as possible.