Are Strawberries Low FODMAP?

I’ve written before about having to give up pears and apples when I went low FODMAP. I also wrote that I didn’t mind, since those (especially apples) were never my favorites anyway. But strawberries? I love strawberries! Would I have to sacrifice those, too? Happily, no.

Strawberries are low FODMAP at normal serving sizes. A half cup of fresh strawberry slices contains .40 grams of excess fructose. A half cup of frozen strawberry slices contains .17 grams of excess fructose. These are within the low FODMAP recommendation of .40 grams of excess fructose per serving.

In this post, we’ll look mostly at the FODMAP content of fresh strawberries. Unlike some fruits, strawberries are thought to contain only one FODMAP, fructose. This is good news for those who must avoid fruits high in fructans or polyols. Even those sensitive to fructose, like me, may still enjoy strawberries in typical serving sizes.

Are Strawberries FODMAP Friendly?

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Fresh strawberries are FODMAP friendly at normal serving sizes. This includes five medium strawberries or one half cup of sliced strawberries. However, at larger serving sizes, strawberries exceed low FODMAP guidelines for excess fructose.

If a food has more glucose than fructose, we say it has no excess fructose. If a food has more fructose than glucose, we say it has excess fructose. It’s the amount of excess fructose that determines whether a food is low FODMAP.

Low FODMAP researchers have set two limits for excess fructose. When fructose is the only FODMAP present in a food, excess fructose should be .40 grams or less per serving. When fructose is present with at least one other FODMAP, excess fructose should be .15 grams or less. At this time, fructose is the only identified FODMAP in strawberries, so we use the higher limit.1

Fortunately, many normal serving sizes of strawberries fall below the .40 threshold. The following table shows the excess fructose content for different serving sizes of fresh, raw strawberries.

Glucose, Fructose and Excess Fructose in Fresh Strawberries

Excess Fructose
5 small1.
5 medium2.
3 large3.
1 cup, whole5.
1/2 cup, sliced2.
1/2 cup, halves2.
Selected sugar content of fresh, raw strawberries.2

As shown in the table here, strawberries can be a good low FODMAP fruit option. Strawberries contain acceptable amounts of excess fructose at most normal serving sizes. You’ll have to watch portions, of course, but that’s true of all foods. But strawberries, along with cantaloupe, are among the best summer fruits for low FODMAPers.

Are Frozen Strawberries Low FODMAP?

Since fresh strawberries are low FODMAP, but you may be wondering about the FODMAP content of frozen strawberries, too.

It’s true that freezing, drying or otherwise transforming foods can change the FODMAP content. For example, applesauce has a much higher fructose content than the fresh apples from which it’s made, even without the addition of sweeteners. So, then, how might freezing affect strawberries?

Fortunately, freezing strawberries doesn’t significantly alter the fruit’s glucose-to-fructose ratio, so frozen strawberries are also low FODMAP. However, as shown in the table below, whether the strawberries thawed or unthawed makes a difference.

Glucose, Fructose and Excess Fructose in Frozen Strawberries

Excess Fructose
1/2 cup, frozen1.51.6.10
1/c cup, thawed2.22.4.20
Selected sugar content for unsweetened whole, frozen strawberries.3

I know it probably seems weird that thawing frozen strawberries increases the glucose and fructose content, but you have to remember that FODMAPs are water soluble carbohydrates. That’s a fancy way of saying that FODMAPs dissolve in water.

When frozen foods thaw, they release water, which means they also release stored FODMAPs. This is why thawed strawberries have more FODMAPs than frozen ones.

But, good news: frozen or thawed, a half cup contains well below the acceptable level of excess fructose. So, you can toss some frozen strawberries into your smoothie or make some frozen fruit pops without stressing over the FODMAP content.

Is Strawberry Jam Low FODMAP?

While fresh and frozen strawberries can easily fit within a low FODMAP diet, the same can’t be said for strawberry jam. Or for related products like strawberry syrup and ice cream topping. But here we’ll focus on jam.

I was unable to find a full breakdown of the sugar content of strawberry jam. I had to use some context clues when investigating the FODMAP content of strawberry jam. And I feel pretty confident is saying that strawberry jam is not low FODMAP.

Strawberry jam in a jar. Unlike strawberries, jam is not low FODMAP due to added high FODMAP sweeteners.

It’s very typical for store-bought jellies and jams to contain loads of added sweeteners. The two most common jam sweeteners are white sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

White sugar, also known as sucrose, is half glucose and half fructose. Because it has equal amounts of both, and therefore contains no excess fructose, it’s often considered a low FODMAP food. And high fructose corn syrup is, as the name implies, high FODMAP due to excessive fructose content.

Now let’s take Smucker’s strawberry jam as an example. This brand of jam contains three types of added sugars: high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), corn syrup and sugar. These added sugars account for 75% of the sugar content in the jam!4 And really, that’s not unusual for jams and jellies.

Since manufacturers must list ingredients in order by volume, there’s more HFCS in the jam than corn syrup or sugar. This alone indicates the fructose content is probably higher than that recommended by low FODMAP researchers. Especially since we know strawberries already contain slightly more fructose than glucose.

I think this is a good example of why we need to read and understand labels. I have trouble with fructose, so avoid HFCS. But I have trouble with sugary foods in general, probably because of the fructose in white sugar. While it may be considered low FODMAP, I’ve found that my body just doesn’t process sugar well. I really have to understand the different sugars and be able to recognize them on ingredient lists.

Final Thoughts on Strawberries and Eating Low FODMAP

If learning that watermelon is high FODMAP has you hating on summer, try another red, summery fruit instead. Unlike watermelon and many other fruits, strawberries don’t appear to contain any fructans or polyols. And, they have acceptable amounts of fructose at most serving sizes, making them a good low FODMAP option.

As with any food, you’ll need to watch portion size. And you’ll need to be careful about FODMAP stacking, too. While strawberries contain acceptable amounts of excess fructose, pairing them with other fruits could increase fructose values too much. A good complement to strawberries is cantaloupe, since it also has low excess fructose.

I know it can be a struggle to find fruits that fit a low FODMAP lifestyle. But fresh fruit is one of the great joys of summer. So, don’t lose hope. There are fresh, healthy fruits suitable for you. It may just take a bit of testing to find the right ones in the right portions for your body.


Posts Related to “Are Strawberries Low FODMAP?”

Strawberries are low FODMAP due to their relatively low fructose content. In fact, most berries are low in fructose, making them a good choice for people coping with fructose malabsorption. You can learn more in this post on fruits low in fructose.

Kiwi and strawberries is a classic fruit salad combo. I’ve written an entire post about the fructose content of kiwi, if you’re interested. Green kiwi is low fructose, but the yellow, or golden, variety is another story.

Strawberries and blueberries are also often paired together. I also have an in-depth post on the fructose content of blueberries, in case it’s helpful.


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.

Disclaimer: the author is not a certified medical professional. Opinions expressed and content contained on this website are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Exercise caution and due diligence when using this site and the information contained herein and understand your experiences may vary.

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