Here in Southern Ontario, it’s been getting hot and steamy! That craving for a cold treat is starting to set in so the team and I decided to do some good for your gut investigating. Enjoying a nice cold ice cream cone can be quite tricky when you’re suffering from Irritable Bowel Disorder (IBS) or other digestive distress. Our team member, Erin, hit the grocery stores to see what kind of products she could find and we put them to the taste test at our recent backyard picnic.
While searching through the freezer section, We discovered that while there are a variety of dairy-free ice cream products available, many of them contain other FODMAP ingredients. Here is a breakdown of what she found:
Luna & Larry’s Coconut Bliss – Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge
We were very hopeful when we first saw this brand as they have a variety of unique and delicious flavours similar to regular gourmet ice cream. Unfortunately we found that it is sweetened with agave syrup, which is high in the FODMAP fructose.
So Delicious – Cherry Amaretto
Still convinced we wanted ice cream parlour-type flavours, we reached for this Cherry Amaretto coconut milk ice cream. This one proved to be a worse choice, with multiple FODMAP-containing ingredients. Again, this flavour was sweetened with agave syrup and contained additional fructose with the black cherries. This flavour also contains chicory root extract, also known as inulin, a fibre ingredient that is a source of fructans and can trigger symptoms.
Almond Dream – Vanilla
We then decided to try more simple flavours, hoping they might contain fewer ingredients than the others. This Almond Dream vanilla flavour had the least amount of FODMAP ingredients, since it was sweetened with evaporated cane juice. Our taste testers declared this product “not bad”, giving it a 5 out of 10. It would satisfy a craving for a creamy, cold treat however the almond flavour was quite strong and it did not taste like traditional vanilla. It also had a slightly chalky texture.
So Delicious – Chocolate
We all really wanted to try a coconut milk flavour since we assume it should have a creamy texture similar to traditional ice cream. We found the So Delicious chocolate flavour was sweetened with evaporated cane juice so she decided to give it a try. After tasting, we found we liked this flavour better than the Almond Dream vanilla. The coconut flavour was subtle and quite delicious paired with chocolate. However, after purchasing, we noticed this product does contain inulin, which might contribute to digestive symptoms.
So Delicious – Mini Coconut Almond Bars
The last item on our taste-testing list were these Coconut Almond Mini Bars. I have these in my freezer for that summer craving for something cold and as long as I don’t have loads of other foods that aren’t so great for my body, I feel fine. These were everyone’s favourite! The crunchy coating combined with a creamy coconut inside was just delicious. The fact that it’s a bar gives you a perfect portion size, as long as you keep it to just one ;-). However, these bars also contain inulin, so monitor how you feel afterwards to see if it is a trigger for you.
Like traditional ice cream, these dairy-free options do contain quite a bit of sugar and fat, sot they should be consumed in moderation of course (that means not twice a day!). Since most processed foods are somewhat of a “grey” area when it comes to FODMAPs and their impact on digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, abdominal discomfort, etc, it’s key for you to monitor your own body and symptoms after trying something like this. All of the products Erin found contained some sort of gum, either guar gum or carob bean gum. While these ingredients do not contain FODMAPs, they can cause gas or other symptoms, so be mindful of this.
We found these products at a larger chain grocery store but you might find a wider variety at your local health food store. If you are searching on your own, keep an eye out for the FODMAP containing ingredients mentioned above, especially:
- Agave syrup
- Chicory root extract
We hope this article helped you wade through the available products and provide you with some insight on key ingredients to watch for, so you can make the best choice for your body when indulging in an occasional treat.
The first step if you’re looking to improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or another digestive disorder or disease, is to understand more about the Low FODMAP diet and if it can help. Download my free eBook to help you better understand this diet and get started implementing simple steps to get rid of symptoms like gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea or constipation related to IBS. Click here to get a copy emailed to you right away.
Much love and good eating,