For people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or lactose intolerance, it can be quite worrisome to have a good bite off Parmigiano Reggiano, as it can cause unbearable pain in the stomach.
To understand that, we have to know exactly what FODMAP is from, how much of that in the cheese, and whether it’s fine for IBS patients to eat Parmigiano Reggiano.
But, hold on. Let me clean things up a little bit.
Lactose = FODMAP ?
As I read a number of websites which referred FODMAP directly to lactose, it is not exactly correct. That’s because FODMAP is not all about lactose, but inclusive of many other carbohydrates as well. Let me put it this way, cheese that is low in lactose doesn’t mean it will always low in FODMAP.
Lactose is a type of carbohydrate (disaccharide) in the form of sugar. While, FODMAP refers to short-chain of carbohydrates that are difficult for our intestine to absorb, which including lactose. Below is from Wikipedia (scroll to the bottom):
In other words, lactose is only a part of FODMAP.
So, the FODMAP in Parmigiano Reggiano?
According to the Parmigiano Reggiano site and also the data from the USDA, they were 0g and 3.57g of carbohydrate respectively in 100g of Parmigiano Reggiano. It means that the carbohydrate content — some of them are FODMAP carbs — is very low. So, you don’t really have to worry about diarrhea after eating.
So, how high is considered high-FODMAP (1) ?
- Oligosaccharides (fructose, GOS) – More than 0.3g
- Disaccharides (lactose) – More than 4g
- Polyols (Mannitol, Sorbitol)- More than 0.3g
Also, both data found no sugar content in them. As of lactose, it’s 0 – 0.4mg of lactose per 100g of Parmigiano Reggiano — very little to none.
What about FODMAP in other cheese?
In general, thanks to the bacteria in the cheesemaking process, carbs in most cheeses are quite low in FODMAP and easily digestible. Still, there are some cheese is slightly higher in comparison, which you might need to take note of.
As there are not many research findings emphasize specifically on just FODMAP carbs in cheese, the carbohydrate content from the USDA database has been taken as the indication.
FODMAP in Cheese (Carbs per 100g)
- Pecorino Romano (0g)
- Manchego Cheese (0g)
- Brie (0.45g)
- Camembert Cheese (0.46g)
- Edam Cheese (1.43g)
- Swiss Cheese (1.44g)
- Cheddar Cheese (1.9g)
- Blue Cheese (2.34g)
- Mozzarella (2.4g)
- Colby Cheese (2.57g)
- Queso Fresco Cheese (2.98g)
- Parmesan Cheese (3.22g)
- Jack Monterey (3.57g)
- Feta (3.88g)
- Gouda Cheese (4.4g)
- Cheshire Cheese (4.78g)
- Cottage Cheese (5.31g)
- Cream Cheese (5.52g)
- Ricotta (7.27g)
- Quark cheese (10.91g)
Most cheese is in the 3-5g range, which is considered low FODMAP.
We went into detail for FODMAP in gorgonzola here in this article.
For those didn’t mention in the list above, you can always check on the cheese packaging label for lactose and carbohydrate content. Be noted that some cheese comes with other ingredients which can affect the FODMAP as well.