I admit, mushrooms aren’t my fave. When I found out most of them are high FODMAP, I wasn’t disappointed. But then I started learning about the health benefits of mushrooms. It made me rethink my attitude toward fungi. Is there a way to reap the benefits of mushrooms and avoid the drawbacks? Maybe.
Most commonly eaten mushrooms are not low FODMAP. Button, crimini and portabella mushrooms all contain excess polyols, particularly mannitol. But less popular mushrooms, like oyster, shiitakes and chanterelles, are low FODMAP in 2 ounce servings.
Here we’ll learn about the most commonly eaten mushrooms and their FODMAP content. Button mushrooms are on low FODMAP “no” lists for a good reason. But if you’re the adventurous type, you may still be able to fit mushrooms into the menu.
Commonly Consumed Mushrooms
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The most widely eaten species of mushroom, both in the United States and globally, is Agaricus bisporus. Agaricus bisporus includes the common white (button) mushroom, as well as crimini and portabella mushrooms. In fact, criminis and portabellas are just more mature versions of the button mushroom.1
Less commonly eaten, but still well-known, mushrooms in the US include oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. Shiitakes are often bought dried then rehydrated before cooking. Another less consumed but well-know mushroom is the chanterelle. Unlike most other mushrooms, which are farmed commercially, the chanterelle is a true wild mushroom.
Most of us know that mushrooms are fungi. But, for the purposes of nutritional analysis, mushrooms are classified as a vegetable by the US Department of Agriculture. They fall into the same gray area as squash and pumpkin. These are technically fruits, but are typically classified as vegetables. Just one of many oddities in food science.
Now that we’ve clarified mushrooms’ place in the nutritional hierarchy, lets look a bit more at some commonly eaten mushrooms.
Button mushrooms have several different names. Some people just refer to them as white mushrooms, or use button and white interchangeably. They’re also called champignon mushrooms, though that’s more common in Europe than in the United States. White button mushrooms are the most popular mushroom in the US, accounting for 90% of all mushrooms eaten here.2
Crimini mushrooms (also spelled “cremini”) are a more mature version of button mushrooms. If a button mushroom is allowed to grow, it takes on a deep brown color. When picked at this stage, it’s known as a crimini mushroom. Sometimes criminis are simply labeled brown mushrooms, to distinguish them from button mushrooms, since they look very similar.
If allowed to mature futher, a crimini grows into a portabella. So, crimini is the stage in-between button and portabella. This is why criminis are sometimes marketed as “baby portabellas” or “baby bellas.”
Crimini mushrooms have an earthier taste and meatier texture than button mushrooms and can be used as a crumbled meat substitute.3
Portabella (sometimes spelled “portabello” or “portobello”) mushrooms are fully matured button mushrooms. They are have a dark brown, large cap, with many dark brown gills underneath.
When cooked, portabellas take on a distinct meat flavor, much stronger than that of criminis or button mushrooms.4 Like all mushrooms, portabellas are a good source of Vitamin D.5 For these reasons, portabellas are popular among those eating plant-based diets.
Oyster mushrooms belong to a different species (Pleurotus ostreatus) than button mushrooms and are native to Germany. Oyster mushrooms grow in the wild, but today most oyster mushrooms available for sale come from commercial farms.6
Oyster mushrooms have the same general health benefits as most mushrooms and have been classified as medicinal mushrooms. They seem to benefit hearth health in particular. For example, a review of ten medical studies found that oyster mushrooms can reduce plaque buildup in heart arteries.7
Shiitake mushrooms are native to East Asia but are now grown on farms all over the world. Like oyster mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms are also considered medicinal mushrooms due to their health benefits.8 This includes boosting heart health and reducing inflammation in the body.9
It’s possible to find fresh shiitake mushrooms in the United States, but they are more commonly sold dried. Dried shiitakes can be rehydrated by soaking in hot water.10
Chanterelle mushrooms are yellow-to-orange colored wild mushrooms said to smell somewhat like apricots. They grow in forests primarily in North America and Europe.11
Unlike other mushrooms, chanterelles aren’t grown commercially on farms. As such, they’re harder to find in stores, are more expensive than most other mushrooms and thus are often considered a delicacy.
In the US, chanterelles, like shiitakes, are often bought dried rather than fresh, since the fruiting season for chanterelles only lasts a few months.12
Now that we know a bit more about commonly eaten mushrooms, let’s look at which types are high FODMAP and which, if any, can fit into a low FODMAP eating plan.
Why Are Mushrooms High FODMAP?
Most commonly eaten mushrooms are classified as high FODMAP due to their polyol content.
Polyols, also known as sugar alcohols, occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Typical polyols that low FODMAPers need to watch out for are mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol.
In a review of eleven FODMAP food lists produced in different counties, mushrooms appeared on five of the lists. All five found mushrooms are high in polyols, with one listing mushrooms as high in fructans, too.13 So, there’s widespread agreement among food scientists that mushrooms are high in polyols and, therefore, are generally high FODMAP.
However, polyol content varies by type of mushroom. For example, one study I found included three different types of mushrooms. It found that common button mushrooms have an average of .21 grams of sorbitol, 1.33 grams of mannitol and .16 grams of xylitol per 100 grams, or about 3.5 ounces.
In contrast, the study found that the same amount of oyster mushrooms have an average of .11 grams of sorbitol, .41 grams of mannitol and no detectable xylitol. And chanterelles have nearly the same amount of sorbitol as button mushrooms, but much less mannitol (average of .35 grams) and no detectable xylitol, either.14
So, while most mushrooms do contain polyols, it really depends on the variety. Button mushrooms, and their more mature counterparts, crimini and portabella, are definitely high FODMAP. But that’s not necessarily the case for other mushroom varieties.
The US Department of Agriculture doesn’t have data on polyol content of mushrooms. Fortunately, Ciqual, the French government’s food composition database does contain information on polyols in several types of mushrooms. The following table summarizes this data.
Polyol Content of Select Mushroom Varieties
|Variety||Fresh or Dried||Total Polyols|
As shown in the table, dried shiitake mushrooms contain the most polyols. But, remember, this is for 100 grams, or about 3.5 ounces, of food. It takes a lot of dried mushrooms to create 3.5 ounces of weight. This is why the polyol content of rehydrated shiitakes is much lower. Rehydrating adds water, and thus, weight back into the mushroom, so fewer are needed to create 3.5 ounces.
The Ciqual figures for oyster and chanterelle mushrooms generally agree with the study cited above. The figures are a bit lower, but overall, show that fresh oysters and chanterelles contain around .40 to .50 grams of total polyols at a 100 gram portion.
*The figure reported for button mushrooms seems too low, based on other sources. The database lists cooked button mushrooms as having a much higher total polyol content of 3.0 grams for 100 grams.
As discussed later, cooking doesn’t significantly alter the FODMAP content of a food. So, the 3.0 grams of polyols figure seems more accurate and the database reports a higher confidence level for this number than for raw mushrooms. I believe the report of 3.0 grams of total polyols for button mushrooms is likely the correct one.
What Mushrooms Are Low FODMAP?
After reading all this, you may be wondering what, if any, mushrooms are low FODMAP? I’ve seen a few references to low FODMAP mushrooms on the internet, but there’s not much publicly available data to verify this.
Just a reminder, low FODMAP guidelines state that a food should contain less than .40 grams of total polyols per serving. If mannitol or sorbitol is present in the food, it should be less than .20 grams of the total polyol content.16
It appears, then, that small servings of shiitake, oyster and chanterelle mushrooms are low FODMAP. Based on the Ciqual data above, a small serving of about 2 ounces of each of these will fall within low FODMAP guidelines.
Small servings (2 ounces) of shiitake, oyster and chanterelle mushrooms are low FODMAP, containing .20 to .25 grams of total polyols, below the suggested .40 grams polyol limit.
Button mushrooms won’t qualify as low FODMAP at any serving size. Since crimini and portabellas are more mature versions of button mushrooms, they are also unlikely to meet low FODMAP standards at any reasonable serving size.
I’ve also read that black fungus, also known as Cloud Ear, is low FODMAP. This type of mushroom is native to East Asia and used in Asian cuisine. However, it’s not widely available in the United States, so I didn’t further investigate its FODMAP status.
Are Canned Mushrooms Low FODMAP?
Canned mushrooms are low FODMAP in one-fourth to one-third cup servings. 3.5 ounces of canned mushrooms (just shy of a dry half a cup) contains .40 grams of polyols, which makes them high FODMAP.15,16 Reducing serving size to one-fourth or one-third of a cup keeps total polyols at acceptable levels.
Canned mushrooms sold in the United States are usually white button mushrooms, which are high FODMAP at any serving size, due to high amounts of mannitol. So how is it, then, that canned mushrooms can be low FODMAP?
All FODMAPs are water soluble carbs. That means they dissolve in water. During the canning process, some of the FODMAPs in mushrooms leach out into the canning liquid.
As the item sits on the shelf, even more FODMAPs leach out into the liquid. The end result is that many of the FODMAPs in mushrooms have dissolved into the liquid, making the mushrooms themselves lower in FODMAPs. This is the same reason canned beans test lower in FODMAPs than dried, fresh cooked ones.17
If you buy canned mushrooms, be sure to drain them prior to using. It wouldn’t hurt to rinse them off, as well, to remove any canning liquid that’s still on the surface.
So, Are Mushrooms FODMAP Friendly?
Generally speaking, mushrooms are not FODMAP friendly. The vast majority of fresh mushrooms eaten in the United States each year are button mushrooms. These are high FODMAP at all serving sizes, due to excess polyols. As a general rule, low FODMAPers sensitive to polyols should avoid fresh button mushrooms and their more mature counterparts, crimini and portabella mushrooms.
However, canned button mushrooms are low FODMAP in one-fourth to one-third cup serving sizes. These are readily available at grocery stores, so if you want to include mushrooms in your menus, drained and rinsed canned mushrooms may be your best option.
That said, some less commonly consumed mushrooms can fit within low FODMAP eating plans, too, if eaten in smaller portions. Shiitake, oyster and chanterelle mushrooms appear safe when eaten in portions of two ounces or less. These aren’t as easy to find in US grocery stores, though. If you do find them, just be sure to test your tolerance with a very small portion first.
And remember, there’s no reason to restrict mushroom intake if you aren’t sensitive to polyols.
Eating low FODMAP doesn’t mean limiting yourself to only low FODMAP foods. It means avoiding the foods that stoke your digestive issues. If polyols don’t cause you distress, there’s no reason to avoid them, and thus no reason to avoid mushrooms. Otherwise, you’ll be losing out on all the great health benefits mushrooms offer.
About the Author
Amanda Coleman, PhD, studies food culture and teaches a popular Food and Society course. Years of digestive problems led her to live low FODMAP. Now she uses her research and analysis skills to help others understand FODMAP essentials, so they can lead better, healthier lives.