2020 Low FODMAP Bread Guide: Sourdough, Gluten-Free & More
Shopping for bread on the low-FODMAP diet can be quite the challenge, especially during the elimination phase. Most store-bought breads are made from ingredients like wheat, barley or rye flour, each of which has a limited serving size. But don’t worry! There are lots of great low-FODMAP breads out there, and I’ll help you choose the one that’s right for you.
In this post, I’ll take you through the state of the state on lab-tested breads, then give you some label reading advice for your next grocery run. And if reading labels sounds as painstaking as we think it might, I’ll also give you a list of low-FODMAP bread products to pluck right off the shelf.
What Does the Lab Say?
The low FODMAP diet is an evolving science. In recent years, many wheat and grain-based products, including bread, have been tested low FODMAP at moderate serves. These include several varieties, such as sourdough (wheat, oat, and spelt-based), millet, corn, wheat wholemeal, multigrain, multigrain sprouted, and white wheat. Each of these varieties has a low-FODMAP serving at one slice.
A concern when interpreting the test results of bread is that ingredients and bread descriptions often vary greatly across country lines. It can be challenging to apply the same rules for low-FODMAP breads tested by Monash (an Australia-based company) to the everyday breads we see circulating on our shelves in the US. For example, many US breads contain high fructose corn syrup and fruit juice concentrates, which increases the FODMAP load.
There is also some confusion on what constitutes whole grain versus wholemeal bread and whole wheat vs whole white — as a consumer these descriptions would leave me a little confused. Based on my clinical interpretation white wheat, sourdoughs (aside from rye-based) and several naturally gluten-free breads are low FODMAP at one slice. While rye, whole-wheat, multigrain wheat, high fiber, and oat-based breads are high FODMAP.
What Types of Bread are Low FODMAP?
While there is some debate on how to choose a gut-friendly sourdough, I often encourage choosing a traditional variety (i.e. made without yeast) and limiting portion to one to two slices per serving.
The best place to find a traditional sourdough bread is at your local bakery or the fresh bread section of the grocer. These fresh made sourdough breads use a starter (a blend of bacteria and wild yeasts) versus baker’s yeast, which results in a slower fermentation process. The little microbes present in the starter actually eat up the majority of the FODMAP-bearing fructans during the longer ferment time, making it easier for many IBS sufferers to digest. The addition of yeast speeds up the fermentation process, which does not allow ample time for the fructans to be digested.
Tip: Take a look at the ingredient list, and opt for a sourdough bread made without yeast.
Here are a few low-FODMAP sourdough examples that I think are pretty delicious.
The Essential Baking Company Take & Bake Sourdough Bread
Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour, Water, Sea Salt, Organic Barley Malt.
Boudin Bakery Sourdough
Flour, water, salt and a little bit of the original mother dough (a magical combination formed by local varieties of wild yeast—to create a natural source of fermentation that allows Boudin sourdough to rise without using commercial yeast.).
Berlin Natural Bakery Sourdough Spelt Bread
Whole Grain Spelt flour, Water, Sea Salt.
Basic Wheat Bread (small servings)
Feel free to enjoy one slice of your basic white wheat bread – just be sure to watch portions and frequency. Avoid the high fiber, whole grain, rustic varieties, as these are likely higher in FODMAPs.
It is important to remember that the low-FODMAP diet is NOT a wheat-free diet; however, I often encourage my clients to limit wheat intake when first getting started. Why? Because it’s easy to over consume wheat in one sitting, and many of the low-FODMAP servings sizes are often less than what is recommended on the label. It may be a good idea to limit yourself to no more than one or two servings of wheat per day and pay extra attention to portion sizes.
What about potato bread, corn bread, and oat bread? Oat and oatmeal-based breads are made from wheat flour and oats and have been tested high FODMAP. Potato bread is made from wheat flour and potatoes — this is an untested bread and probably best to avoid or test tolerance at one slice when symptoms are well managed. Corn bread is low FODMAP per Monash; however, the majority of corn breads are made with a combination of corn, wheat flour, and often whole corn kernels. Due to great variance in recipes, I would approach this bread type with caution.
Here is an example of a wheat bread that is low FODMAP at 1 slice.
Sara Lee Classic White Wheat Bread
Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Reduced Iron, Niacin, thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Sugar, Yeast, Calcium Sulfate, Soybean Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid), Enrichment (Calcium Sulfate, Vitamin E Acetate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3), Monoglycerides, Datem, Soy, Lecithin, Ferrous Sulfate, Citric Acid, Grain Vinegar, Potassium Iodate, Monocalcium Phospohate.
While gluten-free bread does offer more low-FODMAP varieties than wheat bread, oftentimes you can find high-FODMAP ingredients like extracts or other FODMAP-heavy flours like rye or bean. Watch out for the tricky high FODMAP ingredients (see list below) as they are often added to gluten-free bread to boost flavor and fiber.
Here are a few examples of gluten-free low-FODMAP breads.
Udi’s Gluten Free Delicious Soft White Sandwich Bread
Water, Tapioca Starch, Brown Rice Flour, Canola Oil, Potato Starch, Dried Egg White (egg White, Calcium Sulfate), Dried Cane Syrup, Tapioca Maltodextrin, Tapioca Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Yeast, Gum (xanthan Gum, Sodium Alginate, Guar Gum), Salt, Locust Bean Gum, Cultured Brown Rice, Brown Rice And Enzymes.
Franz Gluten Free Mountain White Bread
Water, Brown Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Tapioca Syrup, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour, Xanthan Gum, Contains 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Whole Eggs, Whole grain Amaranth Seed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Cultured Rice Flour, Yeast, Enzymes
Bread Ingredient Cheatsheet
Below are some common ingredients you’ll run into on both high and low-FODMAP bread labels. The Spoonful App takes care of a lot of this for you, but it always helps to know the nitty gritty.
Low vs High-FODMAP Ingredients
|Low FODMAP||High FODMAP|
|-Tapioca starch or tapioca flour|
-Brown rice flour
-White rice flour
-Potato starch or potato flour
-Cornmeal, corn flour, milled -corn, or masa harina
-Green banana flour
-Psyllium husk powder
-Seeds: chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower
-Apple cider vinegar
-Prune juice or prune juice concentrates
-Fruit juice or fruit juice concentrates
-Apple juice or fruit juice concentrate
-Pear juice or pear juice concentrate
-Bean-based flours such as navy bean and fava pea flour
-Spelt (unless spelt sourdough bread)
|*While not tested by Monash, the definition of pea starch implies that it is low FODMAP. This is often added to some breads in very small quantities to improve texture of the bread.||**This has not been tested by Monash and likely high FODMAP|
Ingredients to Approach with Caution
Honey: there is a small low FODMAP serving size. If this is located low on the ingredient list it is likely low FODMAP and acceptable on the low FODMAP diet.
Agave: there is a small low FODMAP serving size. If this is located low on the ingredient list it is likely low FODMAP and acceptable on the low FODMAP diet.
Coconut sugar: there is a small low FODMAP serving size. If this is located low on the ingredient list it is likely low FODMAP and acceptable on the low FODMAP diet.
Molasses: there is a small low FODMAP serving size. If this is located low on the ingredient list it is likely low FODMAP and acceptable on the low FODMAP diet.
Malted Barley is sometimes added in very small portions to some breads, this is likely low FODMAP if located low on the ingredient list.
Almond flour or almond meal: this is likely low FODMAP if consumed in small portions and if located towards the end of the ingredient list. There is a low FODMAP serving size for almond flour.
Cassava flour: while not specifically tested, cassava is low FODMAP in small servings. This flour is likely low FODMAP if consumed in small portions or if located towards the end of the ingredient list.
Milk solids or dry milk solids: if sugar content is 1 gram or less this is unlikely providing excessive lactose. However, may approach with caution if sugar content is greater than 1 grams or listed towards the top of the ingredient list.
Raisin Bread: raisins are low FODMAP at one tablespoon. Limiting yourself to one slice of a low FODMAP raisin bread is likely falling within a low-FODMAP serving size.
Wheat flour: as mentioned above wheat flour used in bread making may be considered low FODMAP in small portions on severa wheat based foods, however wheat flour is high FODMAP per Monash app. Opting for a gluten-free flour mix (made without high FODMAP ingredients) would be a better option when baking at home.
Apple fiber: this has not been tested by Monash, however it does appear in a few certified low FODMAP breads.
Example of a Low, Moderate and High-FODMAP Bread
Low-FODMAP Certified Breads
If you want to be sure that the bread you’re choosing is 100% low FODMAP, I recommend reaching for something that has been certified by Monash or FODMAP Friendly. Here is a list of gut-friendly breads.
- Schar Gluten Free Baguette
- Schar Gluten Free Ciabatta Rolls
- Schar Gluten Free Deli Style Seeded
- Schar Gluten Free Deli Style Sourdough
- Schar Gluten Free Multigrain Ciabatta Rolls
- COBS Bread Low FOD Loaf
- Baker’s Delight Wholegrain lowFOD Block Loaf
- La Boulangrie Alternative Inewa 100% Spelt Sourdough
- La Boulangrie Alternative Inewa 100% Spelt & Buckwheat
- Brumby’s Bakery Quinoa and Linseed Low FODMAP Loaf
- Ernst Bocker Gluten-Free Oat Bread
- Ernst Bocker Gluten-Free Breakfast Rolls
- Pure Life Bakery Organic Sprouted Khorasan
- Pure Life Bakery Organic Sprouted Spelt
- Pure Life Bakery Organic Sprouted Sunflower Sourdough
- Naturis Organic Bread Spelt Sourdough Wholemeal
- Naturis Organic Bread Spelt Sourdough Wholemeal Chi & Sunflower Seeds
- Good Mills Innovation GmBH Ancient Wheat 2am Wheat Rustic Country Loaf
- Schar Gluten Free Wholesome White Loaf
- Schar Gluten Free Wholesome Vitality Loaf
- Schar Gluten Free Wholesome Vitality White Loaf
- Schar Gluten Free Wholesome Seeded Loaf
- Schar Gluten Free White Ciabatta Rolls
- Schar Gluten Free Brown Ciabatta Rolls
- Schar Gluten Free Seeded Ciabatta Rolls
- Schar Gluten Free Panini Rolls
- Schar Gluten Free Grissini
- Alpine Breads Hemp Rising
- Alpine Breads Sour Rye
- Alpine Breads Tuscany Sourdough
- Alpine Spelt & Barley sourdough
- Alpine Spelt & Sprouted Grains
- Alpine Breads Spelt Hot X Buns
Not Certified, but Likely Low-FODMAP Breads
- Udi’s Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread
- Franz Gluten Free Great Seed, 9 Grain, and Mountain White Bread
- Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Country White Bread
- Live G Free Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread
- Trader Joe’s Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread
Bake Your Own
If you have some down, you can try making your own low-FODMAP bread. Here are a few amazing recipes to try.
- Delicious Low-FODMAP Multigrain Sandwich Bread; Gluten-free, Dairy-free by Rachel Paul
- Lo-Fo Pantry Low FODMAP Bread Recipe
- FODMAP Everyday’s Low FODMAP Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread
And wouldn’t you know it? There is also a dedicated line of low-FODMAP baking producfts from Lo-Fo Pantry. Each of these has been certified by the FODMAP Friendly Food Program.
If choosing a wheat-based bread, opt for white wheat breads since they are likely lower in FODMAPs than high-fiber, whole wheat varieties. Remember to practice moderation and limit wheat consumption to avoid overfilling the FODMAP bucket with fructans.
Watch out for paleo, low carbohydrate, and keto-friendly breads as they often contain functional fibers such as chicory root fiber and inulin, fruit juices/purees, coconut flour, bean based flours, and cassava and almond flour in large portions