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What flours and starches are low FODMAP?

Understanding what flours are low FODMAP is important when baking or selecting safe gluten-free bread. Here we explore which flours and starches are safe to use during the elimination phase of the diet.

Just remember that for your final end product to be safe, all ingredients must be low FODMAP as food processing can change FODMAP levels. As a general rule, gluten-free flours tend to contain lower FODMAP levels, but there are a couple of exceptions you need to know about. The information in this article has come from the Monash University Low FODMAP android app update released 4th of August 2015.

Quick reference table: Flours and Starches

Low FODMAP High FODMAP Untested
Almond meal (safe serve <1/4 cup) Almond flour (at 1/2 cup serves) Coconut flour (potentially contains FODMAPs)
Buckwheat flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Amaranth flour Soy flour (suspected high FODMAP)
Corn flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Barley flour
Maize flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Einkorn flour
Millet flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Emmer flour
Organic sieved spelt flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Kamut (khorasan) flour
Quinoa flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Organic, white and wholemeal spelt flour
Rice flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Lupin flour
Sorghum flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Rye flour
Teff flour (safe serve 2/3 cup) Wheat flour
Yam flour (safe serve 2/3 cup)
Maize starch (safe serve 2/3 cup)

Low-FODMAP flours and starches

Almond meal (FODMAP content varies)

Almond meal is made from either whole or blanched ground almonds. The FODMAP content of almond meal varies depending on the serving size. Almond meal is low FODMAP at 1/4 cup (24g or 0.85oz) serves but becomes high FODMAP at larger 1/2 cup (48g or 1.7oz) serves. This means if you use 1 cup of almond meal in a recipe, you will need to divide the baking into at least four serves for it to be low FODMAP.

Buckwheat flour (low FODMAP)

Buckwheat flour is made from the ground seeds of the buckwheat plant. It is naturally gluten free and is closely related to rhubarb. Buckwheat flour (both standard and wholemeal) is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Corn flour (low FODMAP)

Corn flour or corn meal (also known as maize flour) is the whole corn kernel milled into flour. When corn flour is very coarse it is called polenta. In NZ, Australia and UK, corn flour is actually corn starch and this is a different product (see maize starch). Corn flour is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Maize flour (low FODMAP)

Maize flour is the entire corn kernel milled into flour. When maize flour is very coarse, it is called polenta; when it is finely ground, it’s called flour. Maize flour is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Millet flour (low FODMAP)

Millet flour is made by grinding the small seeded grains that come from several different genera of the grass family Poacea. Millet is naturally gluten free and low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Organic sieved spelt flour (low FODMAP)

Organic sieved spelt flour is low FODMAP. This spelt flour is different to white spelt flour (this is sieved during the manufacturing process but is still high FODMAP). Organic sieved spelt flour is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves. Also remember that 2 slices of spelt sourdough bread, or 1/2 cup cooked spelt pasta, is low FODMAP. This means small amounts of spelt flour may be well tolerated.

Quinoa flour (low FODMAP)

Quinoa flour is low FODMAP and is made from ground quinoa seeds. It is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Rice flour (low FODMAP)

Rice flour is made from finely ground raw rice. Both normal rice flour and roasted rice flour are low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Sorghum flour (low FODMAP)

Sorghum is an ancient cereal grain that originates from Africa and is commonly used in gluten-free flour mixtures. Sorghum is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Teff flour (low FODMAP)

Teff is a fine grain about the size of a poppy seed that is ground to make teff flour and is naturally gluten free. It is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Yam flour (low FODMAP)

Yam flour is made from yams that have been peeled, sliced, cleaned, dried and then ground into a flour. It is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves and also gluten free.

Maize starch (low FODMAP)

Maize starch is sometimes called corn starch, or corn flour, depending on the country. It is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves. Corn flour in the UK, Australia and NZ is the same as corn starch in the USA. In some countries corn flour can contain wheat, so when choosing a corn flour make sure it is made from maize and not wheat.

Potato starch (low FODMAP)

Potato starch is a very fine white powder, which is made from the dried starch component of peeled potatoes. Potato starch is low FODMAP and safe in 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

Tapioca starch (low FODMAP)

Tapioca starch is also known as tapioca flour, and is made from the cassava plant. It is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves.

High-FODMAP flours and starches

Amaranth flour (high FODMAP)

Even though amaranth flour is gluten free, it is still high FODMAP. Amaranth flour is produced by finely grinding the seeds of the amaranth plant.

Barley flour (high FODMAP)

Barley flour is produced by finely milling pearl barley or barley that has had its outer husks removed. Barley flour does contain gluten and is high FODMAP.

Einkorn flour (high FODMAP)

Einkorn is one of the oldest varieties of wheat that dates back thousands of years. It was one of the first cereal grains to be cultivated. Einkorn flour is high FODMAP and contains gluten.

Emmer flour (high FODMAP)

Emmer is a type of wheat, goes by the name of farro or hulled wheat, and is high FODMAP.

Kamut (khorasan) flour (high FODMAP)

Kamut is a trademark name for an ancient variety of wheat called Khorasan, and is high FODMAP.

Lupin flour (high FODMAP)

Although lupin flour is gluten free, it is high FODMAP. Lupin flour comes from the seeds of the common lupin garden plant, and is related to the legume family (peanuts, lentils, beans, peas). Lupin flour is high FODMAP and needs to be avoided.

Rye flour (high FODMAP)

Rye is a cereal grain like wheat and does contain gluten. Rye flour is high FODMAP.

Organic, white and wholemeal spelt flour (high FODMAP)

Organic spelt flour, white spelt flour and wholemeal spelt flour are all high-FODMAP flours. Remember that 2 slices of spelt sourdough bread is low FODMAP, as is 1/2 cup cooked spelt pasta, so small amounts of spelt may be well tolerated.

Wheat flour (high FODMAP)

Wheat flour is the most commonly used flour. It contains gluten and is high FODMAP at 2/3 cup (100g or 3.53oz) serves. Small amounts of wheat such as that found in 2 biscuits or 1/2 cup pretzels is low FODMAP. This means you may be able to tolerate small amounts of wheat during the elimination phase.

Flours with unknown FODMAP content

Coconut flour (FODMAP content unknown)

Coconut flour is a by-product of coconut milk production. It has not yet been tested by Monash University so its FODMAP content is unknown. I have discovered a study conducted by Khuwijitjaru et al. (2014), where they used coconut meal (flour) to extract high levels of mono and oligosacchrides, that could then be used as functional food ingredients in other products. This indicates that mono and oligosaccharides are present in coconut flour, however it is unclear if these levels are high enough to give the product a high-FODMAP rating. This means until coconut flour is tested for FODMAP content, I would approach it with caution.

Soy flour (untested but suspected high FODMAP)

Soy flour is made by roasting soy beans and then grinding them into flour. Soy beans are high FODMAP, and soy bean fibre contains the oligosaccharides that trigger our IBS symptoms. This means soy flour is likely to be high FODMAP, although it has not officially been tested by Monash University. This means you should avoid soy flour during the elimination phase.

Final thoughts

There are a number of safe low-FODMAP flours to choose from. I enjoy using a commercial gluten-free flour blend that contains several low-FODMAP flours. When experimenting in the kitchen, all your ingredients should be low FODMAP so that your end product is low FODMAP. Once you finish the elimination phase, you might discover that you can add some high-FODMAP flours back into your diet. Happy baking everyone.

Please note: If you want more information on going low FODMAP please see our FODMAP toolkit: Your complete guide to going low-FODMAP. Full print ready version available for purchase, details here.

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Please also see our articles; is the low-fodmaps diet right for you and our Fodmaps toolkit which is your complete guide to going low-fodmap.

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