FODMAP in Provolone: IBS-Friendly?

Last Updated on July 29, 2023 by Aaron

For many individuals grappling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), the search for food that doesn’t trigger stomach upset, bloating, and other uncomfortable symptoms can often prove difficult.

This is why an increasing number of people are resorting to low FODMAP diets to help control their IBS symptoms. But, what does a low FODMAP diet entail? And does provolone fall under low FODMAP foods? Let’s explore!

Understanding FODMAPs Intake

FODMAPs are a group of carbohydrates that some people struggle to digest. When consumed in excessive amounts, they can induce stomach upset, bloating, and other unsettling symptoms. Studies have shown that 50-86% of patients who adhere to a low FODMAP diet experience a significant reduction in their IBS symptoms.

So, what constitutes a low intake of FODMAPs? What is the ideal daily FODMAPs intake?

The daily intake of FODMAPs for individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can vary depending on several factors, including their individual tolerance and the specific type of FODMAPs.

In the initial restrictive phase of the low FODMAP diet, the goal is to significantly reduce the total daily intake of FODMAPs to help alleviate IBS symptoms. There isn’t a specific universal “safe” limit, but some sources suggest keeping daily intake below 20 grams (1), and for some people, it may need to be much lower than 12 grams (2).

Is Provolone Low in FODMAP? and how.

provolone cheese is generally considered low in FODMAPs. This is primarily due to the fact that the lactose (a type of FODMAP) in cheese is greatly reduced during the cheese-making process. The fermentation and aging processes help to break down lactose, making the cheese more tolerable for those who have lactose malabsorption, a common issue for people with IBS.

One serving size, usually considered to be one slice or around 1 oz (28 grams) per meal, is typically safe to consume on a low FODMAP diet. However, as with any food, individual tolerances can vary. Some people may be able to handle more, while others may need to limit their consumption.

In addition, when considering any type of processed or packaged food, it’s important to check the ingredient list. Provolone cheese should ideally just contain milk, cultures, salt, and enzymes. Any additional ingredients could potentially contribute to the FODMAP content.

Some examples of additional ingredients that could increase the FODMAP content include:

  1. Lactose: While the cheese-making process greatly reduces lactose content, some cheeses, particularly those that are less aged, may still contain significant amounts of lactose.
  2. High FODMAP vegetables or fruits: These could be included in flavored cheeses or as part of a cheese mix. Examples could include onion, garlic, apples, or pears.
  3. Wheat or other high FODMAP grains: These might be present in cheese products that have added fillers or are coated with bread crumbs.
  4. High FODMAP sweeteners: These can be included in some flavored or processed cheeses. Examples include honey, high fructose corn syrup, and sorbitol.
  5. Inulin or chicory root: This is a type of fructan, a category of FODMAPs, that is often added as a fiber supplement to various food products.
  6. Soy products: While some soy products are low in FODMAPs, others such as soy flour or soy protein concentrate could be high in FODMAPs.
A visual presentation of provolone to use in the cheese board by Gutivate.

Side Note

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center nutrition data, every 28 grams (1-ounce) serving of provolone cheese contains about 0.6 grams of carbohydrates. Even though there wasn’t specific data available regarding the exact FODMAP content of provolone cheese, It’s safe to assume that the FODMAP will likely be lower than 0.6 grams.

While carbohydrates are indeed a broad category that includes FODMAPs, it’s important to note that not all carbohydrates are FODMAPs. For instance, most simple sugars (like glucose and sucrose) and polysaccharides (like starches) are not FODMAPs, while some complex carbs (like fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides) are.

Therefore, while a provolone’s total carbohydrate content on the packaging label can provide some insight, it’s not a perfect indicator of its FODMAP content. Foods with minimal total carbohydrates can be assumed to be low in FODMAPs, but the opposite isn’t always true – foods high in total carbohydrates aren’t necessarily high in FODMAPs.

Either way, provolone is quite low in carbs, and thus low in FODMAP.

With that being said, a few brands you can definitely add to your cart during your next grocery run. They are suitable to be included in your low FODMAP diet:

  • Applegate Provolone cheese – 0g (USDA)
  • Kraft Provolone Natural Cheese Slices – 0g (USDA)
  • Tillamook Smoked Provolone – 1g (USDA)
  • Belgioioso Provolone Natural Cheese Snack – 1g (USDA)
  • Good & Gather Provolone Extra-Thin Cheese – 1g (USDA)
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