Is caffeine safe on the Low FODMAP Diet?
When you’re trying your best to avoid symptoms from IBS or gluten sensitivity, the low FODMAP diet is an effective but difficult method navigate. One of those tricky categories you have to master is safe beverages. This raises lots of questions on what Low FODMAP caffeine drinks are safe.
Should you drink coffee if you expect GI symptoms after a meal? Does it matter what kind of coffee it is? Are there other factors that affect the outcome of the beverage on your GI system?
The truth about caffeine
Up to 40% of people with IBS believe that coffee triggers their GI symptoms. In fact, they have good reason to feel this way, because about 33% of IBS sufferers experience symptoms when caffeine is reintroduced during an elimination diet.
Coffee, soda and energy drinks provide you with very few nutrients as well as a potential blood sugar crash an hour and a half after drinking them. This crash is due to either the caffeine and/or sugar content that is not balanced with adequate nutrients to counteract the reaction. Caffeine is a big culprit in the effects, but it’s not the only one. Caffeine affects colon motility. It stimulates the movement of food passing through the GI tract- similar to what happens when you eat a full meal.
Here’s a list of some common beverages and their caffeine content:
- Starbuck’s coffee, Blonde Roast, 20 ounces – 475 mg caffeine
- Dunkin Donut’s coffee, 14 ounces – 210 mg caffeine
- Starbuck’s Iced Black Coffee, 11 ounces – 160 mg caffeine
- Maxwell House Decaf ground coffee, 2 tablespoons (12 ounces coffee) – 2-10 mg caffeine
- Honest Tea Organic Lemon Tea, 17 ounces – 90 mg caffeine
- Black tea, brewed, 8 ounces – 47 mg caffeine
- Green tea, brewed, 8 ounces – 29 mg caffeine
- KeVita Master Brew Kombucha, 15 ounces – 80 mg caffeine
- Arizona Iced tea, green, 16 ounce – 15 mg caffeine
- Pepsi Zero Sugar, 20 ounces – 115 mg caffeine
- Mountain Dew (diet/regular), 20 ounces – 91 mg caffeine
- Pepsi, 12 ounces – 38 mg caffeine
- Barq’s Root Beer, regular, 20 ounces – 38 mg caffeine
- Root Beer, most brands, 12 ounces – 0 mg caffeine
- Bang Energy, 16 ounces – 357 mg caffeine
- Monster Energy, 16 ounces – 160 mg caffeine
- V8 V-Fusion+Energy, 8 ounces – 80 mg caffeine
- Red Bull, 8 ounces – 80 mg caffeine
- Crystal Light Energy, 16 ounces (1 packet) – 60 mg caffeine
- Glaceau Vitaminwater Energy, 20 ounces – 50 mg caffeine
For a full list and to evaluate your own caffeine intake, see https://cspinet.org/eating-healthy/ingredients-of-concern/caffeine-chart
Since there aren’t any studies on how changing the amount of caffeine consumed during the day will alter symptoms of those with IBS, there will be some guess and check work on your part. Use your own body as an experiment. Consider also the role of pesticides and chemicals added to the coffee, as coffee is one of the most highly pesticide crops. Go organic, and search for brands that are also mycotoxin-free. Mycotoxins can cause damage to the GI tract.
Low FODMAP Caffeine - Beverages That Heal You Versus Beverages That Harm You
It's no secret that beverages containing high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are often a trigger for those suffering from IBS, which is why they are restricted to a low FODMAP diet. The main culprit in these beverages is the fructose.
Different types of HFCS contain different amounts of fructose. While it is sometimes possible to tolerate up to 42% fructose in HFCS, the amount of fructose in a HFCS item is never disclosed on the label making every item with HFCS in it risky to consume.
Certain herb teas such as peppermint and cinnamon make great teas and may be consumed three or more times daily. They fit in well on a low FODMAP diet. For more options on Low FODMAP dieting check out The Gut Program.
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