Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Low-FODMAP App for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Is watermelon approved for FODMAP diet?

Kate Scarlata, RD, LDNThis featured post is by Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN. You can follow this blogger @KateScarlata_RD.

A diet that has the potential to manage symptoms in three out of four people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is now at your fingertips. Researchers from Australia's Monash University have been implementing the low-FODMAP diet for some time, noting its ability to help many people with digestive woes gain back their life. And newly released app lets people with IBS bring the low-FODMAP diet wherever they go.

What Is a FODMAP?

Although the name may sound like the latest GPS technology, FODMAP is actually an acronym coined by a pair of Australian researchers: Sue Shepherd, a dietitian; and Dr. Peter Gibson, a gastroenterologist. FODMAP means:

Fermentable (Produce Gas)
Oligosaccharides (Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides)
Disaccharides (Lactose)
Monosaccharides (Fructose)
Polyols (Sorbital and Mannitol)

 Simply put, FODMAPs are a group of small carbohydrates found in common, everyday foods such as: wheat, apples, onions, milk and even watermelon, that can contribute to bloating, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation in individuals who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  The FODMAP family includes: lactose, fructose (only when found in excess of glucose), fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides (also known as GOS), and polyols.

The concept of the low-FODMAP diet was developed through research at Monash University. Dr. Jane Muir, head of translational nutritional science, led the first group in the world to measure the majority of FODMAPs in food. "The purpose of accurately measuring FODMAP content is so we can design a diet where we actually know what we are changing," Professor Gibson says. "In the past there have been many diets which were proposed to help IBS symptoms, whereas our research at Monash has been done to profile the evidence that enables doctors, dietitians and health professionals to accept the information and change how they manage patients with IBS."

How Do FODMAPs Impact IBS Symptoms?

Poorly absorbed FODMAPs draw water into the intestine, which can contribute to diarrhea and fermentation by intestinal bacteria, causing gas and bloating.

Individuals who have IBS seem to be more vulnerable to the aftermath of poorly digested FODMAPs, perhaps because the amount of gas produced in their large intestine is greater or their gut is hypersensitive to the osmotic effects of FODMAPs.

To begin to navigate the world of FODMAPs, start with this FODMAP checklist on my blog. It separates the cautionary foods—those notoriously high in FODMAPs—from the FODMAP-friendly foods which contain negligible amounts.  Individuals that embark on the low-FODMAP diet should seek guidance with a registered dietitian experienced with the diet to help ensure it is followed accurately and is nutritionally balanced. Although shopping for a low-FODMAP diet may seem daunting at first, this easy to read low-FODMAP grocery list will help streamline the process.

Yes, There Is an App for That!
Monash University Low-FODMAP Diet

The research team at Monash recently launched a new smartphone application that provides accurate information about foods that trigger IBS reactions. The app is in response to the increasing interest in the FODMAP content of food. "We had a growing database and wanted to make this information available" says Dr. Muir.  "A smartphone application is an ideal way of delivering information to where it's needed—to IBS patients, health professionals and scientists in the field."

On the Monash-developed app, foods are listed in the application using a traffic light system (red=avoid; green=eat without fear) and according to serving sizes.  For instance, a half cup of broccoli may be well tolerated but more than that could trigger symptoms.

The application will be updated every 12 months. It is currently available only at Apple's iTunes Store (with a planned launch in Android devices next year).  All proceeds from the sale of the application go to the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University to fund further research.

Kate Scarlata, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Well with IBS. Read her blog at KateScarlata.com and follow her on Twitter.

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

Wild Honeysuckle Simple Syrup

Wild Honeysuckle Simple Syrup

As those of us raised below the Mason-Dixon Line can attest, honeysuckle flowers are actually kind of edible, containing a tiny taste of nectar at the base of the flower. I wanted a way to concentrate that flavor from my youth and use this crazy plant that was sprawling all over my family's forest — so I came up with the idea of making a simple syrup using the nectar.
October is National Vegetarian Month

October is National Vegetarian Month

When you plan your meals around plant foods, the sky’s the limit. Think of all the delicious fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds there are to choose from.
Healthy Post-game Snacks for Kids

Healthy Post-game Snacks for Kids

If you are trying to replenish and rehydrate a young athlete, you want to avoid foods that are filled with sugar, chemicals, additives and colors.
5 Steps for Branding Yourself as a Nutrition Expert

5 Steps for Branding Yourself as a Nutrition Expert

As registered dietitians, we should be seen as the go-to resource for nutrition information. Unfortunately, misinformation about diet and food runs rampant. Here’s what you can do make yourself visible as a nutrition expert.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.


Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop