Is Cream Low FODMAP? All About Dairy & FODMAPs

November 15, 2022 (Last Updated: November 28, 2022)
is cream low fodmap

Looking for an answer to “is cream low FODMAP”? Short answer: Yes, cream is low FODMAP in small amounts. Cream is mostly fat and contains less lactose than regular milk BUT not all creams are the same. That’s what we’re going to cover in today’s post. Stick around for the long answer to “is cream low FODMAP”:

Dairy in general is one of those low FODMAP foods that are tricky because the ‘D’ in FODMAP stands for disaccharide which is essentially lactose: a naturally occurring sugar in dairy. 

Cream is a very general term for dairy products with more butterfat than milk. There’s heavy cream, double cream, half and half, you name it. They’re all different. Not all of these have been tested by the creators of the low FODMAP diet -Monash. 

So, I’ve done lots of digging and lined up information on creams in this one article. All information in this article is collected from Fig App, Monash FODMAP App, FODMAP Friendly and FODMAP Everyday.

Is Cream Low FODMAP?

is cream low fodmap

Cream has a high fat content and low lactose content which makes it low FODMAP depending on the serving size. The Fig App states that cream is low FODMAP at 2 tablespoons but Monash University states that whipped cream is low FODMAP at 1/2 cup or 125 ml or 60 grams.

This is weird because heavy cream and whipped cream are exactly the same thing.

Heavy cream is the liquid unwhipped version of cream that makes whipped cream. Also, it’s not clear if the 1/2 cup serving size is before or after the cream is whipped. 1/4 cup of unwhipped heavy cream makes 1/2 cup of whipped cream. 

1/2 cup of heavy cream makes about 1 cup of whipped cream. This is a very big difference and double or triple the recommended serving size. 

The information is pretty wishy-washy. According to Monash [1], products are likely to have a single low FODMAP serving if the “Total Carbohydrates” on the label amounts to less than 1 gram per serving.

With that being said, creams aren’t all the same. The kind of cream you put in coffee or tea is different from cooking cream or whipped cream in a can. And to make things more confusing, every country has different names for the same thing.

So, the next section will clear up some confusion between creams in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

Types Of Creams In The USA, UK & Australia

is cream low fodmap

Creams are used in cooking to make sauces and add richness to soups. Cream is also used in many desserts as whipped topping, the base of a mouse or other desserts. Some people add cream into their coffee or tea. All of these are considered creams but there’s a difference between light cream and heavy cream.

The difference between them is the fat content. Richer and heavier creams have higher butterfat content than light creams like half and half. The butterfat content is what makes some creams easy to whip (like heavy or double cream) and others (like cooking cream or half and half) impossible to whip.

Google is filled with questions like, “is heavy cream whipping cream?” or “is heavy cream double cream?” Yes and no. Heavy cream is one of the creams used to make whipping cream and double cream is what Europeans call heavy cream but the fat content is different to American cream.

To clarify this heavy cream vs whipping cream debate: The main difference between creams all over the world is the name but the classification used so the best way to differentiate types of creams in the US, UK and Australia is by listing the fat content:

What Are These Creams Used For

The fat percentage of each cream determines how its used:

  • Half-and-half is great for coffee or tea because it’s richer than milk
  • Light cream is used in cooking for soups and gravies but will not whip up.
  • Whipping cream has a high fat content and whips up perfectly into a soft fluffy texture.
  • Heavy cream has a higher fat content (more than 36%) than whipping cream. Using heavy cream for whipped cream will result in stiff peaks and a more stabilized whipped cream.

Australian Creams Low FODMAP Serving

is cream low fodmap

The low FODMAP diet was developed by researchers at Monash University in Australia. 

It actually took me a while to figure out that the measuring tools in Australia are different from European and American tools.

A U.S. tablespoon is roughly 14.8 ml or 0.50 US fl oz but an Australian tablespoon is 20 ml 0.68 US fl oz. Whereas, U.K and Canadian tablespoons are exactly 15 ml 0.51 US fl oz [2].

And since the research is based on Australian products and measurements, here’s the low FODMAP serving sizes of various creams based on the information on the Monash University FODMAP App.

  • Full Cream: Low FODMAP at 1 Australian tablespoon or 20 grams. Moderate at 1/4 cup, 60 ml or 60 grams. 
  • Thickened Cream: Low FODMAP at 1 ½  Australian tablespoons or 30 grams. Moderate at 2 tablespoons or 40 grams. 
  • Whipped Cream: Low FODMAP at 1/2 cup, 125 ml or 60 grams. Moderate at 2 cups or 200 grams and high FODMAP at 4 cups or 400 grams. 
  • Pure Cream: Low FODMAP at 2 Australian tablespoons or 40 grams. Moderate at 1/4 cup or 63 grams and high FODMAP at 1 cup, 250 ml or 257 grams. 

With the low FODMAP serving size out of the way, let’s have a look at some other dairy products you can add to your low FODMAP diet.

Which Dairy Products Are Low FODMAP?

So, we know the answer to “is cream low FODMAP” is based on the fat content, type of cream and serving size. Luckily, other dairy products are easier to fit into the low FODMAP diet. 

Is Creme Fraiche Low FODMAP?

Creme fraiche has between 3-4% and according to the FIG App 2 tablespoons should not be an issue. Lactose levels will vary depending on brands. Creme fraiche can be substituted with sour cream.

The difference in creme fraiche vs sour cream is creme fraiche is made with cream that’s been cultured and sour cream is made with milk that’s fermented. Because creme fraiche is made from cream it has a higher fat content than sour cream.

Is Sour Cream FODMAP-Friendly?

Sour cream is made from milk which is why it is high in lactose. According to Monash’s App, sour cream is low FODMAP at 2 tablespoons 30 ml. Sour cream is high FODMAP at 1/4 cup or 60 ml.

Honestly, I recommend using plant based sour cream or buying lactose free sour cream to avoid lactose altogether.

Is Butter Low FODMAP?

Yes, it is. Butter has 1 gram of lactose per 100 grams of butter. It’s not lactose free but it contains a small enough amount of lactose to be considered low FODMAP. Monash University states that a dairy product is low FODMAP if there is 1 gram or less of lactose per serving.

Is Buttermilk Low FODMAP?

Buttermilk contains a lot of lactose because of how it’s made. It is low FODMAP at 16 grams or 1 tablespoon. 

It’s recommended to avoid dairy products like buttermilk because of the high lactose content. Want to learn how to make your own low FODMAP buttermilk with only 2 ingredients?

Is Buttermilk Low FODMAP & How To Make It

Lactose isn’t the only issue that could trigger IBS symptoms. Some people with IBS do not tolerate fats well. 

About Fat & IBS

is cream low fodmap

Aside from lactose, fat is a common trigger for people with IBS. So, even if you choose a lactose free cream option, the high fat content in the product may trigger symptoms.

It’s important to understand what your triggers and tolerances are. The serving sizes given by Monash are a guideline. Do what’s best for you and eat for your tolerances. There are plenty of foods on the low FODMAP diet that are red that may or may not affect you.

I can eat raw garlic with zero issues but that doesn’t mean I’m not triggered by trace amounts of soy. Did you know that Monash recommends adding lactose containing dairy products in your diet if you can tolerate it? 

Or that studies show people diagnosed with lactose intolerance can tolerate up to 2 cups or 500 ml of milk everyday [3]? I would die if I did that but I know plenty of other people that wouldn’t.

low fodmap scalloped potatoes
Low FODMAP Scalloped Potatoes With Cream

So, can you have heavy cream on low FODMAP? Yes. As long as you keep within the serving size recommendation and know your tolerance. Is cream OK for IBS? Yes. A single serving of cream is low FODMAP depending on the fat content. 

But the answer to those questions would be ‘no’ if fat triggers your IBS symptoms. Every person is different. If lactose is your problem then I recommend finding lactose free products or plant based dairy products

There you have it, folks. We answered more than is cream low FODMAP and I really hope that was helpful. Need more information about dairy and the FODMAP diet?

Is Buttermilk Low FODMAP? Recipe included

Is Ghee (Purified Butter) Low FODMAP? Recipe included

Low FODMAP Baking Guide + 9 low FODMAP desserts

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