Is Cauliflower Low FODMAP?

Cauliflower is a traditional vegetable that is really common to see on our plates at dinnertime. It’s versatile and pairs well with cheese, gravy and any type of meat! You can even eat it raw with a dip.

However, is cauliflower low FODMAP and can you include it on a low FODMAP diet?

The Quick Answer

Unfortunately, cauliflower is not low FODMAP and can cause people who suffer from IBS or FODMAP related issues a lot of problems. There are other alternative vegetables you can eat instead so you won’t be missing out, you should just avoid cauliflower in particular.

Eating Cauliflower on a FODMAP Diet

It might seem like you should be able to eat vegetables like cauliflower as much as you like. In general, they are considered to be healthy and they are low calorie too.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and there are many types of fruit and vegetables that are high in FODMAPs and cauliflower is one of these vegetables.

It is the mannitol in cauliflower that is causing problems. Mannitol is a sugar alcohol and it is considered to be fairly high on the FODMAP scale. It occurs naturally in many types of fruit and vegetables.

It can also be manufactured and may be added to other processed foods and foods that contain sweeteners. It is especially commonly added into foods that are labelled as sugar-free which can make eating low calorie as well as low FODMAP a little difficult.

Mannitol is a problem for those who struggle with FODMAPs because it is a polyol and these are not easily absorbed into the body. In fact, only about a third of the polyols you consume are likely to be absorbed into the body.

Because these are sugars they can then sit in your gut and ferment and grow bacteria which can cause symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain. Obviously, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people have no problems with foods that contain FODMAPs.

Low FODMAP Alternative to Cauliflower

If you do need to follow a low FODMAP diet then don’t worry there are plenty of other options of vegetables you can eat. You won’t even miss cauliflower! Low FODMAP vegetables include carrot, kale, aubergine, spinach and courgette.

If you wanted to eat a vegetable a little closer to cauliflower you could always eat broccoli instead. Broccoli is super good for you – it is even considered a superfood!

You can eat some broccoli but you need to stick within guidelines on portion sizes. This is about 70 grams of broccoli which should be more than enough to add to your meal.  Be careful of broccolini though. These tiny forms of broccoli might look delicious but they are high FODMAP and should be avoided.

Broccoli FODMAP

Cabbage is another type of vegetable that you can eat but you need to ensure you cut down on your portions and stick to portion sizes of 75 grams. Luckily, this is usually plenty to fill you up as part of a healthy meal.

Other Cauliflower Products

So you know cauliflower is to be avoided, but are there cauliflower product or similar cauliflower products that can be consumed when following a low FODMAP diet?

Is Cauliflower Rice Low FODMAP?

Cauliflower rice or couscous may be the in thing to eat but that doesn’t mean you should. Unfortunately, if it is made of cauliflower then it is going to be high FODMAP – cooked or raw!

Is Broccoli Low FODMAP?

It may look like a green cauliflower but the structure of broccoli is vastly different. That is why you can actually consume it on a low FODMAP diet because it is low FODMAP up to portions of roughly 70g.

Common Cauliflower FAQs

There are a handful of questions that crop up often when it comes to consuming cauliflower which we have answered below for you:

Why is Cauliflower High FODMAP?

Cauliflower is high in mannitol which is a polyol – one of the FODMAPs that you need to avoid. Your body will struggle to absorb it which is why it can cause bloating and stomach flare-ups.

Is Cauliflower Bad for IBS?

If you suffer from IBS then chances are you’re going to be avoided FODMAP rich foods where possible. For this reason, we would strongly advise against eating cauliflower. If you’re desperate for a floret or two then you could try to slowly add it to your diet.

Quick Summary

Unfortunately, cauliflower is high FODMAP and should be avoided if you are trying to follow this style of diet.

It is high in mannitol which is an alcohol fruit sugar that your body struggles to absorb which is why it causes so many problems. There are lots of alternatives you can eat instead. Luckily, there are a lot of vegetables on offer and some of these are low FODMAP.

Choose other veggies such as carrot, courgette, kale and spinach because all of these are low FODMAP. You can also eat broccoli and cabbage but you need to eat these in smaller amounts to ensure you stay low FODMAP.