During recent trips to the grocery store lately, I have started to notice the seemingly endless options in the “New Age” beverage section.
There are so many brands and flavors for sparkling water, different types of kombucha, and multiple versions of the “natural” energy drinks as well as probiotic sodas and juices.
What I am most interested in is how these products hold up when it comes to gut health and IBS/IBD.
Understanding FODMAPs and the different beverages that contain probiotics, how do you choose what may be best for you and your ever-evolving symptoms? There have been a lot of studies and so much development in functional foods and how they can positively affect the gut microbiota.
Seeing this new rise in beverage options has sparked my curiosity, therefore I began investigating what information is out there.
What exactly is the Bizz on the Fizz?
Many magazines have published articles on these varying beverage options and their health claims. An article in Harvard Health mentioned that there are probiotic supplements recommended by digestive disease specialists for “frustrating” conditions such as IBS. This is not specific to beverages, but more to consuming food containing probiotics or taking a supplemental form, ideally, live culture as a means to support symptom management.
Another article in the Journal of Food Science and Technology continued to emphasize how functional foods are favorable when it comes to positive influence on the gut microbiota, therefore research is continuing to investigate these foods. Specifically, I looked to see if these probiotic beverages fit into the functional food category and if they support a dietary pattern friendly to sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The main beverages I considered were Kefir, Kombucha, Cold-Pressed Juice, and Probiotic Soda.
Keep in mind if your IBS symptoms are flared by any kind of carbonation then anything but kefir is not a great option. This alone eliminates cold-pressed sparkling juice, kombucha, and probiotic soda.
If you are following a Low FODMAP diet and are still in the elimination phase you may need to use extreme caution when choosing these beverages. Many of these beverages have been found to contain high FODMAP ingredients, with some (such as kefir) only considered Low FODMAP under certain circumstances.
- Kombucha has been found to contain high amounts of fructans.
- Milk-based Kefir or yogurt drinks may contain lactose (there are milk alternative options, so this is not a complete loss).
- Cold-Pressed Juice may contain excess fructose, fructans, and/or polyols depending on the fruit used.
- Probiotic Sodas may contain high FODMAP fruits and polyols (Currants, Peach, Mango, Cherries, Apple, Watermelon, Blackberries, and Pear).
If you have reintroduced foods and can tolerate any of the fruits or ingredients mentioned above, then feel free to give these beverages a try.
You can easily find many claims that support the benefits of these drinks, and even some research studies supporting their use. There is sufficient in vitro evidence to warrant further research into the health benefits of fermented foods in gastrointestinal health, however, there is limited high-quality evidence for most foods at this time.
Understanding and educating yourself on new products is always a great idea, especially if you suffer from IBS/IBD or GERD. Depending on your personal trigger foods, additional options include choosing foods that contain probiotics naturally such as yogurt and cottage cheese (low/no lactose), kimchi, miso soup, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread. If you are wondering if the serving size is FODMAP-friendly- there's an app for that!
- Understanding the health benefits of taking probiotics. Harvard Health. (2022, August 8). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/understanding-the-health-benefits-of-taking-probiotics
- Predo, Flavera C. (2008). Trends in non-dairy Probiotic Beverages. Food Research International, 41(2), 111–123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2007.10.010
- Probiotics: What is it, benefits, side effects, food & types. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Retrieved October 26, 2022, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics
- Kim, M. J., Kim, J. I., Ryu, C. H., & Kang, M. J. (2021). Effects of Fermented Beverage in Subjects with Metabolic Syndrome. Preventive nutrition and food science, 26(1), 12–20. https://doi.org/10.3746/pnf.2021.26.1.12
- Webber, S. (2017, February 28). Fermented drinks and the low fodmap diet. A blog by Monash FODMAP | The experts in IBS - Monash Fodmap. Retrieved October 31, 2022, from https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/update-new-fermented-drinks-added-to/
- Dimidi, E., Cox, S. R., Rossi, M., & Whelan, K. (2019). Fermented Foods: Definitions and Characteristics, Impact on the Gut Microbiota and Effects on Gastrointestinal Health and Disease. Nutrients, 11(8), 1806. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081806