The low FODMAP diet has been essential in improving unpleasant digestive symptoms for many of my clients. It can be a tough diet to navigate through, because FODMAPs are found in many different foods. Which foods are low FODMAP? Which are high? What if the food is cooked versus raw? Does the serving size matter? Lucky for us, the researchers who developed the diet created an app so we can find the answer to these questions on-the-go. I always recommend this tool to my clients. With busy lives it’s so helpful to have reliable information in a simple-to-use format at your fingertips!
If you’re unfamiliar with the diet and how it can help you manage your IBS symptoms, our FODMAP FAQ is a great place to start.
The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet app was launched in December 2012 for iPhone and November 2013 for Android. Unlike many sources, the Monash app provides information that is evidence-based, peer-reviewed, and published in scientific journals. The app is also updated every year to ensure that the information is current.
The app has five sections: the about page, the guide, recipes, a shopping list, and a food diary.
The about section is a guide to understanding the low FODMAP diet. It is filled with answers to common questions and provides many helpful tips and tools. Learn about what FODMAPs are, how they affect our digestive health, and what to keep in mind when reading product labels. There is even a handy low FODMAP shopping guide! If you would like more detailed information on how to read product labels and ingredient lists for FODMAPs, this article will be helpful!
The guide portion of the app is what people find most helpful. There are over 300 foods in the guide that were tested at Monash University for the level of FODMAPs, then classified using a simple traffic light system:
- Red light: food is high in FODMAPs and should be avoided
- Yellow light: food is moderate in FODMAPs and may be tolerated by some people, but could potentially cause digestive distress in others
- Green light: food is low in FODMAPs and is safe to eat
The app shows different serving sizes for each food item. This is important because a red or yellow light food may become a green light food when consumed in a smaller amount. It comes down to the total amount of FODMAPs you eat at one time. In the case of butternut squash, ½ cup is a yellow light food, but ¼ cup is a green light food. If you click on the item the app provides more detailed information including the breakdown of the types of FODMAPs. This is helpful for people who are more sensitive to certain FODMAPs, like lactose for example.
With so many foods that contain FODMAPs, it’s great to have a way to track your tolerance of each food you try. Once you’ve clicked on a food item and are in the detailed view, you can “star” the food by clicking the star icon in the top right-hand corner. This will add it to your personal list of foods. You can also attach a note to the food item, which can be helpful to record how you prepared the food and what you ate it with to see if other factors make a difference to your symptoms.
Within the guide, there is also an option to enable filters. This is helpful if you are aware of which FODMAPs you are most sensitive to. You can indicate your sensitivity to the different FODMAPs as none, medium, or high. If you set your sensitivity to a specific FODMAP as high, foods that contain that FODMAP with a yellow or red traffic light will automatically be greyed out in the food guide list. This means you won’t be able to access that food, as a reminder that it is likely to cause digestive distress. If you set your sensitivity to medium, only foods with a red traffic light will be greyed out.
Recipes and Shopping List
So you have a list of foods you can tolerate – now what? The app also includes low FODMAP recipes, plus the nutrition information and a step-by-step guide to make a tasty and symptom-free breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or snack! Just like with the individual food items, you can also star a recipe you’ve tried and loved or are planning to try. They will all be saved under the starred tab so you don’t have to scroll through the full list of recipes. You can also print right from the app or add the recipe to your shopping list.
The shopping list section is your space to plan! By clicking the + symbol in the top right-hand corner, you can add any individual food from the guide. If you’re looking to make one of the low FODMAP recipes on the app, go to the recipe and click “Add to Shopping List” at the bottom of the page. When you’re in the grocery store simply tap the box beside the food to check it off your list!
The diary option allows you to track your symptoms and food intake while on the Low FODMAP diet. It begins with a 1 week FODMAP trial where you are encouraged to eat only low FODMAP foods. At the end of the week, the patterns of your symptoms will be shown on a graph, along with a summary of your dietary intake. Journaling is a great way to gain a better understanding of what causes your digestive symptoms. It’s also excellent information to bring to your appointment with your Dietitian!
This app is a great tool, but it is recommended to work closely with a Registered Dietitian while following the low FODMAP diet. It is important to ensure that all of your nutrient needs are met. If you would like to learn more about how working with my team at the Clairmont Digestive Clinic can help you improve your IBS or digestive health symptoms contact us – we would love to hear from you!
Much love & good eating,
Stephanie & the Team