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What is the low FODMAP diet?

FODMAP app

FODMAPs App

Definition

From Wiki:

The term FODMAP is an acronym, deriving from “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols.” These carbohydrates are commonly found in the modern western diet.

FODMAPs are short chain carbohydrates (oligosaccharides), disaccharides, monosaccharides and related alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. These include short chain (oligo-) saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactose (galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols) such assorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol.

App to manage FODMAP Diet

A new smartphone app has been launched by the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University, which provides accurate information about foods that trigger IBS reactions and will significantly help sufferers to manage their symptoms.

The concept of FODMAPs was developed through research at Monash University. Professor Peter Gibson, Director of Gastroenterology at The Alfred Hospital and Monash University and Dr Jane Muir, Head of Translational Nutrition Science at Monash University led the first group in the world to measure the majority of FODMAPs in food. The team now has a comprehensive database of FODMAP content in food that has been generated out of their laboratory at Monash University.

“The purpose of accurately measuring FODMAP content is so we can design a diet where we actually know what we’re changing,” said Professor Gibson. “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 enable doctors, dietitians and health professionals to accept the information and change how they manage patients with IBS.”

“Much of the information on the internet is no longer accurate because it’s out of date,” said Professor Gibson.

The launch of the FODMAP application came in response to an increasing number of requests about the FODMAP content of food.

“We had a growing database and wanted to make this information available,” said 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.”

Foods are listed in the application using a traffic light system and according to serving sizes.

Red foods are high in FODMAPs and should be avoided, orange foods are moderate in FODMAPs and may be tolerated by some people while green foods are low in FODMAPs and are safe for consumption.

The specific food serving sizes in the application is one of the most useful tools for IBS sufferers because the guess work is taken out of how much food can be safely consumed. For example, half a cup of broccoli may be well tolerated but more than this can cause IBS symptoms.

“The app also contains recipes and meal ideas which will help IBS patients interpret and follow the diet,” said Dr Jaci Barrett, Research Dietitian at Monash University. “There is even a seven day challenge where patients can record their food and symptoms to show their doctor or dietitian to help in the management of their condition.”

Get the app on iTunes here or for android here

fodmap app

The Low FODMAP Diet 

The Stanford University Medical Center also has a very informative resource on The Low FODMAP Diet produced by the Nutrition Services, Digestive Health Center.

It can be downloaded as a PDF here and we have also included it below:

FODMAPs are carbohydrates (sugars) that are found in foods. Not all carbohydrates are considered FODMAPs.

The FODMAPs in the diet are:

  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), etc)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructans (wheat, garlic, onion, inulin etc)
  • Galactans (legumes such as beans, lentils, soybeans, etc)
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, etc)

FODMAPs are osmotic (means they pull water into the intestinal tract), may not be digested or absorbed well and could be fermented upon by bacteria in the intestinal tract when eaten in excess 

Symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and/or cramping may occur in those who could be sensitive to the effects of FODMAPs. A low FODMAP diet may help reduce symptoms, which will limit foods high in fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols.

The low FODMAP diet is often used in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The diet could be possibly used in those with similar symptoms arising from other digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease.

This diet will also limit fiber as some high fiber foods are also high in FODMAPs (Fiber is a component of complex carbohydrates that the body cannot digest, found in plant based foods such as beans, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc) 2

Food Group  Low FODMAPs  High FODMAPs (avoid) 
Eggs, Meats, Poultry, Fish  beef, chicken, deli slices, eggs, fish, lamb, pork, shellfish, turkey made with HFCS/foods to limit
Dairy  lactose free dairy (any), low lactose dairy: cream cheese, half and half, hard cheeses (cheddar, colby, parmesan, swiss, etc), soft cheeses (brie, feta, mozzarella, etc), sherbet, yogurt (greek), whipped cream high lactose dairy: buttermilk, chocolate, creamy/cheesy sauces, custard, ice cream, milk (cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s, condensed, evaporated), soft cheeses (cottage, ricotta, etc), sour cream
Meat, Non-Dairy Alternatives milk alternatives (almond, coconut, rice, soy (made from soy protein)), nuts (walnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, pine), nut butters, tempeh, tofu cashews, beans, black eyed peas, bulgur, lentils, miso, pistachios, soybeans, soy milk (made from soybeans)
Grains  made with gluten free/spelt grains (corn, oats, potato, quinoa, rice, tapioca, etc): bagels, biscuits, breads, cereals, chips, crackers, noodles, pancakes, pastas, pretzels, tortillas, wafflesoatmeal, oat bran, popcorn, quinoa, rice, rice bran made with wheat/barley/rye when it’s the major ingredient, gluten free/spelt grains made with foods to limit, chicory root, inulin
Fruits  bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, cranberries, grapes, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, tangerine apples, applesauce, apricots, blackberries, boysenberries, canned fruit, dates, dried fruits, figs, guava, mango, nectarines, papaya, peaches, pears, plums, persimmon, prunes, watermelon
Vegetables  alfalfa/bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, cabbage (common), cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kale, lettuce, parsnips, pumpkin, potatoes, radishes, rutabaga, seaweed (nori), spinach, squash, tomatoes, turnips, water chestnuts, zucchini artichokes, cauliflower, mushrooms, sugar snap peas
Desserts  made with foods allowed made with HFCS/foods to limit
Beverages  fruit and vegetable juices/smoothies made with foods allowed (limit to ½ cup at a time), coffee, tea made with HFCS/foods to limit, fortified wines (sherry, port)
Seasonings, Condiments jam, jelly, pickle, relish, salsa, sauce, salad dressing made with foods allowed, most spices and herbs, broth (homemade), butter, chives, cooking oils, garlic/onion infused oil, maple syrup without HFCS, mustard, margarine, mayonnaise, onion (spring-green part), olives, pepper, pesto, salt, seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), sugar, soy sauce, vinegar chutney, jam, jelly, pickle, relish, salsa, sauce or salad dressing made with HFCS/ foods to limit, agave, garlic, garlic salt/powders, honey, hummus, molasses, onions (brown, leeks, shallots, spanish, white, spring-white part), onion salt/powders, tomato paste, artificial sweeteners (isomalt, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol)

© Stanford University Medical Center

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