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Low FODMAP Choices At Starbucks & Dunkin’ Donuts

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Hot coffee? Iced Frappuccino? Matcha Latte made with almond milk? What is your beverage of choice? And what are your Low FODMAP Choices At Starbucks & Dunkin’ Donuts?

This article takes a look at these two very popular chains; we have pored over the menus and have come up with the best choices for those following the low FODMAP Diet.

A selection of food from Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts on a grey background
You can find something low FODMAP to eat at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts!

It is certainly more economical to make coffee drinks at home, and yet, many of us – including FODMAPers – spend our money there. Starbucks revenue as of 2021 was $30.4 billion, while Dunkin’ Donuts was $1.37 billion. That’s a lot of drinks (and accompanying foods) being ordered out of the house.

This article is part of our exclusive fast food series. Be sure to also check out our Low FODMAP Fast Food Options and Low FODMAP Chain Restaurant Options (coming soon).

Starbucks logo and awning in city setting
Look for the green mermaid Starbucks logo.

Coffee Or Tea

Coffee and tea (as in camelia sinensis) are both low FODMAP. Many herbal “teas” are not, although some are. We cover both coffee and tea in general in our two articles, IBS, The Low FODMAP Diet, Coffee & Coffee Drinks, and Tea & FODMAPs; we highly recommend reading those articles along with this one.

Dunkin_Donuts_Original_Location
Here is the signage on the original Dunkin’ Donuts location in Quincy, MA.

Let’s Talk Caffeine

Caffeine is not a FODMAP, but it can be a gut irritant. Most of us know our caffeine limits, and it makes sense to pay attention to your individual needs. 

BTW did you know that a shot of espresso has less caffeine than an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee?

Coffee And Acidity

Many of us with gut issues are dealing with GERD as well. Acidity in foods and drink can be a huge issue. Unfortunately, if you consult Dr. Google (you shouldn’t be, but we know you do) you will come away believing that dark roast coffees are higher in acidity and end up believing that choosing lighter roasts would be your best bet. Not so fast. We dove deep into the coffee-and-acidity research and have interviewed coffee scientists (yes, that’s a thing).

The acidity in coffee is not just one type. Chlorogenic acid breaks down to quinic and caffeic acid with heat exposure, during roasting, long extraction time, or when letting drip coffee sit on the warmer too long. The darker the roast, the more quinic acid that is present, but there are no definitive studies showing that quinic acid has been linked to any digestive issues. Di-chlorogenic acid is a compound that is more often linked to gastric upset, and this is highest in lighter roast coffees, and particularly coffee brewed from robusta coffee beans. 

What this means is that lighter roast coffees may have a higher percentage of the type of acid that triggers digestive upset, especially if the coffee is made from robusta beans, as opposed to arabica. Of course, everyone’s digestion is individual, so go by what your gut tells you.

Person hiding under white cover holding Starbucks cup.
Don’t bother us until we have had our coffee! Is this you? We get it.

Is Cold Brew Less Acidic?

Short answer: No. We know that many people believe that cold brew is less acidic, and again, Google would have you believe the same thing. (Hopefully by now you know that just because you read something on the Internet does not make it true – about coffee, the low FODMAP diet, or anything else!)

According to current 2020 research and Niny Rao, PhD a professor of chemistry, “if a consumer’s goal is to drink a lower acid coffee, they’d be better off seeking a darker roast, but that it doesn’t actually matter much whether the coffee is brewed with cold water or hot.” In addition, antioxidants were higher in hot brew!

What Menu Items We Chose To List

The menus at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are large and evolving, and also have seasonal items. We have focused on the more popular basic items from the main menus, as well as some seasonal favorites (like Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, Peppermint Mocha Latte and Gingerbread Latte). 

The options presented as low FODMAP have been researched thoroughly. We are not declaring that these are the only low FODMAP options available at each restaurant. Please use our articles on How to Read Food Labels for the Low FODMAP Diet with Confidence and Understanding FDA Nutrition Panels to help you make decisions about additional options.

Determining FODMAPs

Please note that we spent countless hours corresponding with corporate offices in regard to the ingredients in their menu items. Our recommendations are based on what was stated to be fact at the time. Formulas can change, and also always remember that just because something is low FODMAP does not guarantee that you will not have a negative digestive reaction. 

Please read our article, Ask The Right Question: Is It Low FODMAP vs. Will I Tolerate This?

Starbucks blended drink on dark counter held by man's hand.
You can have some whipped cream – but ask for a small portion.

Fat, Sugar & Sodium

A lot of fast food is very high in fat, and while fat is not a FODMAP issue, it can be a gut irritant. These fast foods can also be very high in sodium (salt) and sugar, and again, while not a FODMAP issue, can have negative digestive and physical effects for some. Know your limits and always eat to your tolerance. 

Oftentimes, with fancy coffee drinks in particular, it is the serving size (often copious) that is the issue for us FODMAPers. Watch your serving sizes. Maybe stick with small and medium sized orders. 

Serving Sizes & FODMAPs

Hopefully by now you know that serving sizes are everything when it comes to the low FODMAP diet. The menu items we have listed here are considered to be low FODMAP, but the tolerated serving sizes will vary person to person. You might be able to tolerate a Grande Iced Matcha Latte made with almond milk, but not a Vente. Please read our article, What Is A Low FODMAP Serving Size?

Two Starbucks drinks held in your person's hands, held in the air.
Hot or cold, you do have choices while following the low FODMAP diet.

Serving Sizes At Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts

Small? Tall? Short? Medium? Grande? Venti? Let’s look at ordering terminology at Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. As we have said before, best to order smaller than larger to keep FODMAPs, caffeine, fat and sugar on the lower side.

Starbucks

Hot Beverages:

  • Demi = 3-ounces
  • Short = 8-ounces
  • Tall = 12-ounces
  • Grande = 16-ounces
  • Venti = 20-ounces

Cold Beverages:

  • Tall = 12-ounces
  • Grande = 16-ounces
  • Venti = 20-ounces
  • Trenta = 30-ounces

Dunkin’ Donuts

Hot Beverages:

  • Small = 10-ounces
  • Medium = 14-ounces
  • Large = 20-ounces
  • Extra Large = 24-ounces

Cold Beverages:

  • Small = 16-ounces
  • Medium = 24-ounces
  • Large = 32-ounces
woman holding a black Starbucks cup.
Is a hot coffee part of your day?

Flavorings, Spices & FODMAPs

We have inquired about and researched the items listed below, but if you are looking into fast-food offerings on your own, you have to be expert label readers and understand what ingredients are. 

In the U.S. garlic and onion cannot be “hidden” within spices but can be hidden within natural flavors/flavorings. Other countries handle this labeling differently and, by the way, artificial flavors are never an issue. Please read our article, How To Decipher “Natural Flavors” & “Spices” on Food Labels for the Low FODMAP Diet, which discusses the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe labeling.

When it comes to beverages, we don’t have to worry as much about garlic and onion, but higher FODMAP sweet ingredients like cherry or mango derivatives may lurk. Also, by definition, the term “natural flavors” is a bit ambiguous and may possibly include inulin or chicory root, both of which are high FODMAP.

A Note About Gluten & Dairy

The low FODMAP diet is neither gluten-free nor dairy free. Therefore, small amounts of wheat, for instance, are low FODMAP, and since the diet is lower in lactose (but not dairy-free) you can enjoy a portion of whipped cream! This opens up choices for us when it comes to coffee shop menu items. But a little whipped cream on top? Sure. A mountain of it? Nope.

If you eat gluten-free or dairy-free, use your personal guidelines to make decisions about the following recommendations. Most of these companies have guidelines on their websites that detail what is gluten-free, and sometimes what is dairy-free.

Please read our articles, The Low FODMAP Diet Is Not Gluten-Free and also Lactose, Dairy & The Low FODMAP Diet.

Outside of Starbucks location
What is YOUR favorite order?

Is The Sourdough Bread At Starbucks & Dunkin’ Donuts Low FODMAP?

Speaking of gluten, we have to address the sourdough toast that is now available at many Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. But are they it low FODMAP?

We were able to find out quite a bit about Dunkin’ Donuts sourdough formulation. According to Dunkin’s Research and Development Manager, Josh Gomes, “Dunkin’s Sourdough Bread is one of the only mass-produced sourdough’s that uses a ‘true’ sourdough starter.”

We were not able to find out as much about Starbuck’s sourdough, which they use in a few different ways. We do know that the Crispy Grilled Cheese on Sourdough is high FODMAP, as it contains garlic within the butter spread that they use.

For more information, see the food options below, and read our article, How To Choose Low FODMAP Bread.

Starbucks Low FODMAP Menu Options

Let’s look at what someone following the low FODMAP diet can order at Starbucks. And yes, you can enjoy a Pumpkin Spice Latte (also known as PSL), with some specific ordering instructions. Get ready for the drive-through!

Hot Beverages:

  • Caffè Americano
  • Veranda Blend – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Dark Roast – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Pike Place Roast – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Decaf Pike Place – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Caffè Misto made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Cappuccino made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Espresso
  • Espresso Con Panna
  • Flat White made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Caffè Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Espresso Macchiato made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Caffè Mocha made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Hot Chocolate made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Cinnamon Dolce Crème made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Espresso Frappuccino made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Caffè Vanilla made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Matcha Latté made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Royal English Breakfast Tea
  • Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) – order made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk, whipped cream, Pumpkin Spice Topping, but no Pumpkin Spice Sauce.
  • Peppermint Mocha Latte – order made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk, whipped cream, Mocha Sauce, Peppermint Syrup and chocolate curls.
  • Gingerbread Latte – order made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk, whipped cream, and Gingerbread Syrup.

Blended Beverages

  • Coffee Frappuccino made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Mocha Frappuccino made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Matcha Crème Frappuccino made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Vanilla Bean Crème Frappuccino made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk

Cold Beverages

  • Starbucks Reserve Cold Brew
  • Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee
  • Starbucks Cold Brew Coffee with Milk made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Starbucks Reserve Nitro Cold Brew
  • Nitro Cold Brew
  • Iced Americano
  • Iced Coffee
  • Iced Espresso
  • Iced Coffee with Milk made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Toasted Vanilla Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
  • Iced Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso
  • Iced Chocolate Almondmilk Shaken Espresso (small amount of malt flavoring from barley)
  • Iced Shaken Espresso made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Flat White made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Starbucks Reserve Iced Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Caffè Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Cinnamon Dolce Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Caffè Mocha made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Black Tea
  • Iced Black Tea Lemonade
  • Iced Royal English Breakfast Tea Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Matcha Tea Latte made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Matcha Lemonade
  • Evolution Fresh Orange Juice
  • Lemonade
  • Spindrift Grapefruit Sparkling Water
  • Spindrift Raspberry Lime Sparkling Water
  • Galvanina Sparkling Water
  • Galvanina Sparkling Water – Lime

Food

  • Bacon & Gruyere Egg Bites
  • Marshmallow Dream Bar
  • Cheese Trio Protein Box – omit dried apricots and have just a few crackers
  • Cheddar & Uncured Salami Box – watch dried fruit and nut serving size, and have just a few crackers
  • Cheddar & Fruit Protein Box – watch apple serving size and have just a few crackers
  • Rolled & Steel-Cut Oatmeal – skip toppings, except blueberries
  • Strawberry Overnight Grains

Snacks

  • Salted Almond Chocolate Bites
  • Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans
  • Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – have one
  • Squirrel Brand Classic Almonds
  • Squirrel Brand Fruit & Nut – try a small serving
  • Starbucks Butter Gourmet Popcorn
  • Simply Salted Kettle Potato Chips
  • Salt & Vinegar Simply Salted Kettle Potato Chips
  • Sweet Potato Simply Salted Kettle Potato Chips
  • String Cheese
Man's hand holding a Dunkin' Donuts cup between legs.
For some folks, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is simply the best.

Dunkin’ Donuts Low FODMAP Menu Options

Dunkin’ Donuts is far more than donuts. In fact, their beverage revenue is higher than that of their baked goods. Recent statistics state that 60% of their revenue is for coffee and coffee drinks. We were surprised to learn that a huge amount of their sales goes to their Dunkin’ Bottled Iced Coffee, however, even the “classic” version contains milk, so unless you are on good terms with lactose, you should probably skip it.

Hot Beverages

  • Coffee – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Espresso
  • Americano
  • Latte – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Macchiato – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Cappuccino – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Black Tea – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Matcha Latte – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Chai Latte – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk

Cold Beverages

  • Iced Coffee – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Cold Brew – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Americano
  • Iced Latte – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Macchiato – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Cappuccino – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Tea – black or made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Matcha Latte – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Iced Chai Latte – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Frozen Coffee – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk
  • Strawberry Coolatta
  • Frozen Matcha Latte – made with almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk

Food

  • Egg Patty
  • Sourdough Toast
  • Slice Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Turkey Sausage
  • Wake Up Wrap – if you do well with a small amount of wheat, you could try this
  • Snackin’ Bacon

PS: The Hash Browns contain garlic and onion and are not low FODMAP.

Dunkin donuts store, inside, showing tables and chairs and menu on wall.

The Takeaway

If you are on the road, or just have a daily coffee shop habit, there is no need to steer clear of Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts if you are following the low FODMAP diet. From hot beverages to cold – and even blended drinks and food – we have discovered dozens of low FODMAP options for you.

As with any food we consume while following the low FODMAP diet, there are no guarantees that you will not trigger your IBS. In particular we suggest that you pay attention to serving size; smaller is better in the case of coffee shop drinks.

Also, when it comes to caffeine, it is a stimulant that can irritate the gut and it is present in coffee as well as tea beverages; always eat and drink to your personal tolerances.

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