The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet App

  1. Can the Monash University Low FODMAP diet app be used in different countries?
  2. Are foods from other countries being tested for FODMAP content? Will this information be added in the app?
  3. Can the ‘app’ provide more brand-specific names or lists of ingredients used in food products?
  4. Does this app work on an iPad?
  5. Can I ‘sync’ the app between my iPad and iPhone?
  6. I do not have an iPhone or iPad can I download the app onto my iPod?
  7. Do the traffic light colours vary if you adjust the filters according to your sensitivities?
  8. Can future versions of the app show GOS and fructans separately?
  9. Is there any way to print out the recipes and shopping lists?
  10. Adding your own notes in the app about foods you may be intolerant to (independent of FODMAPs).
  11. Can you re-set and re-use the ‘Challenge’ section of the app?
  12. I set the filter by mistake and can’t turn it off.
  13. There are some differences in the FODMAP ratings of some foods between the Monash Low FODMAP diet booklet and the app. Which is correct?
  14. Can the app also include information about the gluten content of foods?
  15. Can more information about the fibre content of foods be included in the app?
  16. Why is the app so expensive? I don’t believe it is good value for money. I can get much more information from the internet for free.
  17. Can the app be used without internet access?
  18. App Update FAQs
  19. What does 'Upgrade to a server system' mean?
  20. How do I get the app updates?
  21. After the initial download, will I be able to use the app without internet connection?
  22. Why aren't all of the images showing up?
  23. How much of my phone data is this app update using?
  24. Why is the app running so slow? / What can I do to make my app run faster?

1. Can the Monash University Low FODMAP diet app be used in different countries?

Yes, our app is being downloaded and used very successfully around the world. The information contained in the app has been kept very general, with the exception of our Monash University Low FODMAP Certified food products, so the information can be applied internationally. We are constantly working with dietitians worldwide to include a broad range of international foods in the app. There is also an option in settings to change the units of measurement from  metric (grams) to imperial (ounces). Remember to follow the low FODMAP diet with the guidance of a dietitian with expertise in gastroinestinal issues. Your dietitian can help you select appropriate foods in your area.

2. Are  foods from other countries being tested for FODMAP content?  Will this information be added in the app?

Yes, we are now collaborating with dietitians around the world, to select and send commonly used foods from their country to be tested by our research team. These foods will undergo testing in our laboratory for total FODMAP content and the information will be added to the app. These updates will be free of charge.  We have now tested foods from Austria, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Norway, New Zealand and the United States.

3. Can the app provide more brand-specific names  or lists of ingredients used in food products?

Our app is being downloaded in over 100 countries around the world so we are unable to name specific brands of food products if they are not part of our Monash University Low FODMAP Certified program. Instead, we are planning to provide more detailed descriptions of the food ingredients used. This should help identify suitable choices when shopping. For example, we have provided more detailed information about fruit juices. E.g. for Tropical fruit juices (in the Beverages section) we now give information about the % of various fruit juices used in these products (e.g. 1. Tropical Juice – 35% apple juice, 2. Tropical Juices– 45% apple and 6% apricot juice and 3. Tropical Juices- 50% apple, 8% pear and 8% mango). Future updates of the app will include more details. Until this is done, we recommend that you check the labels of any orange or red foods at the supermarket. There is more information about how to read labels under Reading labels for FODMAPs in the 'About' section of the app (Chapter 11).

4. Does  this app work on an iPad?

The current iPhone version is compatible with  the 5th generation of iPad. You download the app using your iPad and re-size (x2) to increase the size of the  image on your iPad.

5. Can I sync the app between my iPad and iPhone?

Yes, it is possible to sync the app between multiple devices. For the most up-to-date information on how to do this, we recommend you consult Apple Product Support Services at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2109

6.  I do not have an iPhone or iPad, can I download the app onto my iPod?

Yes, you can download this app onto your iPod. It is compatible with iPod touch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generation).

7. Do the traffic light colours vary if you adjust the filters according to your sensitivities?

We have set the filters in such a way that the foods you have filtered as 'high' are faded out. These are the ones you need to avoid. All the other foods that are not faded, however, are suitable to consume (ignore the traffic light colour). We apologise for any confusion.

8. Can future versions of the app show GOS and fructans separately?

Yes, we are looking at separating the oligosaccharides (Oligos) into fructans and GOS in future versions of the app.  It should be noted, however, that you can get information about which Oligos (fructans and/ or GOS) are present in a food by clicking on the food in the app and going to the serving size information.  Listed underneath the serving size suggestion and traffic light symbols is a description about which types of FODMAPs and which Oligos are present in that particular food.

9. Is there any way to print out the recipes and shopping lists?

Yes, in the latest version of the app (1.1.1) there is an option to print each recipe, which can be selected at the bottom of each recipe page. You must, however, have access to a wireless printer. We have discussed the possibility of printing the shopping lists with our app developer. This option should be made available in a future update of the app.

10. Adding your own notes in the app about foods you may be intolerant to (independent of FODMAPs).

We are aware that there may be other compounds contained in foods (independent of FODMAPs) that may trigger undesirable symptoms in some people. The current version of the app now allows users to highlight (or star) as well as make notes under each food listed in the Food Guide section. Also, it is possible to add other foods to the Daily Symptom Journal, in this way symptom responses to various foods can be tracked and problematic foods identified.

11. Can you re-set and re-use the Challenge section of the app?

The latest version of the app  allows users to reset the 1 Week Trial and archive previous symptom journals. Although each journal runs for 7 days only, it is now possible to archive multiple journal entries as Week 1, Week 2 and so on.

12. I set the filter by mistake and can't turn it off.

You can turn the filter off by clicking on My Filters in the Food Guide section and next to Enable Filtering tap on the ON button, it should change to OFF.  Click on Done to get back to the Food Guide section.

13. There are some differences in the FODMAP ratings of some foods between the Monash Low FODMAP diet booklet and the app. Which is correct?

It is important to read  the detailed serve size information and FODMAP breakdown for foods in the app rather than only noting each food's overall traffic light rating. For some foods, serving size can make a significant difference to its FODMAP rating. This can be illustrated by using sweet corn and celery as examples;
Sweet corn - Both the  app and the booklet list ½ cob of corn as being low in FODMAP content. However, the app also includes FODMAP information for 1 whole cob of corn which is high in the sugar polyol - sorbitol and moderate in Oligos (GOS), which gives it a high rating overall.

Celery – Celery contains the sugar polyol - mannitol. The  booklet lists celery as being moderate in mannitol content due to its listed  serving size of ≤ ½ stick. However the app lists serving sizes of ½ and 1 large stalk, both of which are high in mannitol (giving it a high FODMAP rating  overall). To clarify, more than ½ a medium stalk (approx.12cm length) of celery is high in mannitol content. Intake of this amount should therefore be avoided if you malabsorb mannitol. A 5cm length of celery is low in mannitol and therefore should be tolerated by most people with IBS.We apologise for any confusion. We do what we can to ensure the app and booklet are consistent. It is worth noting, however, that much more detailed information is included in the app.

14. Can the app also include information about the gluten content of foods?

Our department does not measure the gluten content of foods. This app is not suitable for individuals with coeliac  disease who require a strict, life-long gluten-free diet. It is imperative that  you have been properly investigated for coeliac disease before restricting  gluten in your diet.

People who do not have coeliac  disease (confirmed by adequate testing) but whose symptoms improve when they are placed on a gluten-free diet have been termed as having non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). Despite this, the existence of NCGS is controversial.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. These cereals also happen to be high in FODMAPs (mostly fructans). Our research suggests that it may be the presence of FODMAPs (fructans and GOS) in these foods that contribute to these symptoms rather than gluten.

15. Can more information about the fibre content of foods be included in the app?

We have included a fibre counter in  the current app. This can be found in the About section. In the Contents page, scroll down and you will see Dietary Fibre Counter, which lists the fibre content of low FODMAP foods in each food group (also take note of the serve size for each of these).  We have also added the fibre levels per serving in the Recipe section of the app (see under Nutritional  Information).  For future updates, we are planning to include more information about the fibre content of each food listed in the Food Guide.  These updates will be available free of charge.

16. Why is the app so expensive? I  don't believe it is good value for money. I can get much more information from the internet for free.

Many factors were carefully considered before deciding on the final price of the app.

The analysis of foods for total FODMAP content is expensive. The full FODMAP analysis of foods is labour-intensive and takes about 2-4 weeks. The funding from the sale of the app goes to expanding our list of foods and further research in the area of FODMAPs and gastroenterology, and we plan to have significant regular updates of the food list in the app. These updates are free.

The Low FODMAP diet is not suitable for the general public who do not have a functional gastrointestinal disorder. The Low FODMAP diet is a special therapeutic diet for the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome which requires the correct medical diagnosis and dietetic management. The higher price, therefore, acts as a deterrent to individuals who may download the app and place themselves on the diet without proper medical advice.

We believe the app is great value for money. It contains our FODMAP food database which lists over 600 foods. The app also uses the traffic light system to guide people to low FODMAP food choices. It contains a recipe book with over 77 recipes and meal ideas. The app also contains a bowel symptom and food diary in the 1 week challenge that can be re-used and diary-journals archived and used in discussions with your health care professional.

Some information about the FODMAP content of foods is available on the internet. We are not able to comment on the accuracy of the FODMAP data obtained from other sources – however, much of the information will be sourced from the work done by the Monash research group. To our knowledge, no other laboratory is testing the FODMAP content of foods according to FSANZ food sampling protocols or using validated and published testing procedures.

17. Can the app be used without internet access?

Yes, the app now features a function that allows app users to retain data so that the food guide can be accessed even when internet connection is not available. This can be done by clicking into Settings then switching on the Offline mode function. This enables the app's data to be stored in the event of no internet connection such as when travelling, in a supermarket, or when trying to limit data intake. Switching Offline mode off again will allow the app to search for new data to be downloaded to ensure your app is updated with the latest app information from Monash University's Department of Gastroenterology.

App Update FAQs

18. What does 'Upgrade to a server system' mean?

We have implemented a new system which allows our research team to update newly tested foods quicker into the app so you'll have the latest FODMAP data sooner.

19. How do I get the app updates?

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20. After the initial download, will I be able to use the app without internet connection?

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21. Why aren't all of the images showing up?

You may not be connected to a strong enough internet connection. We recommend doing the initial download of all new data and images with a strong wifi connection or a 3G or 4G network.

22. How much of my phone data is this app update using?

5 minutes of downloading the new update and all of the images to your phone will use approximately 2.5mb of data, not much more than you would use to load a few Facebook pages. After this initial download period, the app will no longer need to use up data until the next update. The new update has also reduced the size of the app, so it will now only take up 25.6mb of space compared to its initial 45.8mb.

23. Why is the app running so slow? / What can I do to make my app run faster?

The app may be running slower due to an overdrive of activity on your phone. Android's multi-tasking operating system means that it runs all apps simultaneously if you have just clicked out of an app without actually closing it. To rectify this, close the apps on your phone you're not using by clicking the button on the bottom right corner that looks like two rectangles overlapping, and swipe each app left. The app may also be running a bit slower due to lack of or poor internet connection, so you may find this inhibits some images from showing up, though it should not affect the information being displayed, so you will still have all of the FODMAP information come through even without wifi or cellular data. To rectify this, see Q5. If you have full internet access and have closed all other apps, the issue is likely due to your phone model having lower memory and performance capabilities, therefore being unable to handle the app and the update.