Low FODMAP Diet App

mobile phone

Researchers at Monash University have developed a diet and related smartphone application to help manage gastrointestinal symptoms associated with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

The Monash University Low FODMAP diet works by restricting foods that are high in certain carbohydrates called FODMAPs. The research team within the Department of Gastroenterology have released a smartphone application which provides users with accurate information about which foods may trigger IBS  reactions,  helping sufferers to manage their symptoms.

It is now widely recognised that the best way to alleviate IBS symptoms is to avoid foods that contain a family of carbohydrates known as FODMAPs (fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), which are poorly absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.

The Smartphone application was first launched in December 2012 in response to an increasing number of requests about the FODMAP content of foods.

The app, which is now available on both iPhone and Android, has been purchased by over 30,000 people worldwide since its launch. It has been downloaded in 60 different countries, reaching no. 1 in the Medical category in 20 countries.

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 particularly helpful in taking the guess work out of how much food can be safely consumed.

The app also contains other information about IBS as well as recipes and meal ideas to help IBS patients interpret and follow the diet.

One in seven adults suffers from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition characterised by symptoms such as gastrointestinal wind, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Although more women than men are affected by IBS, the condition is common throughout the world, including; Australia,  the  US, Europe as well as many Asian countries.

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. "We think this application is unique because it is based on the scientific work at Monash. All foods have been tested carefully and scientifically  measured  so the information is entirely accurate and not based on guess work or anecdotal evidence." said Dr Muir.

With significant interest from around the world, the research team is now testing foods from other countries, including the US.

Proceeds from the sale of the application will go towards funding further research.

More information about the app can be found on the Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences website.

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