Is Sauerkraut Low FODMAP? The Best Low FODMAP Fermented Foods

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Is sauerkraut low FODMAP? Sauerkraut FODMAP content depends on a few factors, like the salt concentration and how long the kraut was fermented. Learn how to make low FODMAP sauerkraut and the best low FODMAP fermented foods.

Is Sauerkraut Low FODMAP?

The short answer is yes! However, it depends on how the sauerkraut is made, what ingredients are used, the salt concentration, and how long the sauerkraut is fermented. The biggest factor is the fermentation time.

If you are concerned about FODMAPs in sauerkraut, homemade sauerkraut will be the best. You can control how long it ferments. The longer it ferments, the better. The optimal fermentation time for low FODMAP sauerkraut is 28 days at a moderate temperature of around 74 degrees F.

If you’ve ever tried a sauerkraut recipe from our blog, you’ve made sauerkraut that is low FODMAP. All of my sauerkraut recipes call for a fermentation time of at least 21-28 days, making them easier to digest.

Sauerkraut FODMAP Content

Sauerkraut fermentation involves live lactic acid bacteria called Leuconostoc spp. and Lactobacillus spp. (spp. just mean various species in the genus).

Leuconostoc spp. are the bacteria that make all the bubbles in the beginning stages of sauerkraut fermentation. These bacteria are only present early on in vegetable fermentation.

The early-stage Leuconostoc species are heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria. When these bacteria ferment the cabbage, they rapidly break it down and produce oligosaccharides and mannitol. These compounds are FODMAPs and can cause issues for people with IBS.

This is why some say that sauerkraut is high FODMAP, but raw cabbage is low. However, not all sauerkraut is high FODMAP; only sauerkraut that is fermented too briefly is high FODMAP.

If you allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 28 days, the Leuconostoc bacteria die off, the bubbles stop, and a different group of beneficial bacteria takes over, Lactobacillus.

Lactobacilli break down all the oligosaccharides, mannitol, and other fermentable sugars. The key is that these bacteria need enough time to do this.

If you allow sauerkraut (or any vegetable) to ferment at room temperature for at least 21-28 days, then Lactobacilli have enough time to essentially eliminate all FODMAPs in sauerkraut.

Note that I can only speak for my recipes. Fermentation has a lot of variables, so other people’s sauerkraut recipes may not yield low FODMAP results.

Is sauerkraut low FODMAP if made with different types of cabbage?

I hope you just finished reading the section above because it’s the most important part. No matter what type of cabbage you use, what I explained in the section above applies.

Now, I want to mention sauerkraut made with purple or red cabbage. Red cabbage varieties contain fructan and galactooligosaccharides (GOS), two FODMAPs. Through fermentation, fructan and GOS are broken down, though. When in doubt, let sauerkraut made with purple/red cabbage ferment a bit longer.

using my hads to show the tightly packed layers of a fresh raw red cabbage

Is sauerkraut low FODMAP if made with garlic and other ingredients?

YES! No matter what you add to sauerkraut, if you let it ferment long enough, it will be low FODMAP. You can even ferment garlic and onions in sauerkraut, and it will still be low FODMAP.

What Fermented Foods are Low FODMAP

All the wild-fermented vegetable recipes on our blog are low FODMAP. Follow the fermentation timelines in each recipe for low FODMAP results. Most vegetables can ferment at room temperature for 21-28 days with great results.

If you struggle with IBS and are on a low FODMAP protocol, ask your doctor about trying long-fermented vegetables. If it suits you, I suggest fermenting vegetables to cook with too. Cooking kills the probiotics, but that’s okay. Fermenting vegetables before cooking them into recipes makes them much easier to digest. Eat some of the fermented vegetables raw for probiotics, but cook with some too.

The Best Low FODMAP Fermented Foods

You can learn how to ferment the best low FODMAP fermented foods here on our blog or by becoming a student in our online course bundle!

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using my hads to show the tightly packed layers of a fresh raw red cabbage

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2 comments

JohnD July 24, 2023 - 2:01 pm

I’ve noticed that usually kimchi has a bubbly taste like it is slightly carbonated but sauerkraut never does. Is this effervescence related to a quick ferment (kimchi) vs a longer ferment (sauerkraut)?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley July 24, 2023 - 2:12 pm

It is! Korean kimchi is not fermented for very long because a lot of people like the effervescence.

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