Download the FODMAP App

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are a group of sugars that are not completely digested or absorbed in our intestines. When FODMAPs reach the small intestine, they move slowly, attracting water. When they pass into the large intestine, FODMAPs are fermented by gut bacteria, producing gas as a result. The extra gas and water causes the intestinal wall to stretch and expand. Because people with IBS have a highly sensitive gut, ‘stretching’ the intestinal wall causes exaggerated sensations of pain and discomfort

Put simply, FODMAPs are a collection of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, which can trigger symptoms in people with IBS. FODMAPs are found naturally in many foods and food additives.

Fermentable

Process through which gut bacteria ferment undigested carbohydrate to produce gases.

Oligosaccharides

Fructans & GOS - found in foods such as wheat, rye, onions, garlic and legumes/pulses.

Disaccharides

Lactose - found in dairy products like milk, soft cheeses and yogurts.

Monosaccharides

Fructose - found in honey, apples, high fructose corn syrups, etc.

And

Polyols

Sorbitol and Mannitol - Found in some fruit and vegetables and used as artificial sweeteners.

Watch our animation below to understand how FODMAPs can trigger gut symptoms in people with IBS

What happens when you eat FODMAPs? 

FODMAPs are found in a wide range of foods, and most people eat high FODMAP foods everyday without issue. When FODMAPs are eaten, they move slowly through the small intestine attracting water. When they reach the large intestine, gut bacteria use the FODMAPs as a fuel source to survive. The bacteria rapidly ferment FODMAPs, producing gas as a result. 

These events occur in all people (i.e. people with and without IBS). The difference is that people with IBS can have problems with motility (the speed at which contents move through the intestines) and/or a highly sensitive gut wall. The extra water and gas in the intestines, causes the intestinal wall to stretch and expand and results in common IBS symptoms such as pain, excessive wind, bloating, distension and altered bowel habit (diarrhoea, constipation or both).

Where are FODMAPs found? 

FODMAPs are found in a wide range of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, breads, cereals, nuts, legumes and confectionery. It is impossible to guess the FODMAP content of a food. Instead, careful laboratory analysis is needed to understand the FODMAP content of food. The team at Monash University are experts at measuring the FODMAP content of foods. We distribute this information about the FODMAP content of food using our mobile phone app, the Monash University FODMAP Diet App. The app uses a simple traffic light rating system to indicate whether foods are low, moderate or high in FODMAPs.

High FODMAP foods Low FODMAP alternatives
Vegetables Artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower, garlic, green peas, mushrooms, onion, sugar snap peas Aubergine/eggplant, beans (green), bok choy, capsicum (bell pepper), carrot, cucumber, lettuce, potato, tomato, zucchini
Fruits Apples, apple juice, cherries, dried fruit, mango, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, watermelon Cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi fruit (green), mandarin, orange, pineapple, strawberries
Dairy & alternatives Cow's milk, custard, evaporated milk, ice cream, soy milk (made from whole soybeans), sweetened condensed milk, yoghurt Almond milk, brie/camembert cheese, feta cheese, hard cheeses, lactose-free milk, soy milk (made from soy protein)
Protein sources Most legumes/pulses, some marinated meats/poultry/seafood, some processed meats Eggs, firm tofu, plain cooked meats/poultry/seafood, tempeh
Breads & cereals Wheat/rye/barley based breads, breakfast cereals, biscuits and snack products Corn flakes, oats, quinoa flakes, quinoa/rice/corn pasta, rice cakes (plain), sourdough spelt bread, wheat/rye/barley free breads
Sugars, sweeteners & confectionery High fructose corn syrup, honey, sugar free confectionery Dark chocolate, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, table sugar
Nuts & seeds Cashews, pistachios Macadamias, peanuts, pumpkin seeds/pepitas, walnuts
Download our 3 step FODMAP diet guide & food list

Who should follow a FODMAP diet? 

A FODMAP diet is intended is for people with medically diagnosed IBS. If a medical doctor has not diagnosed your gastrointestinal symptoms, you should not be following this diet. There are many conditions with symptoms that are similar to IBS, such as coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis and bowel cancer. You should not self-diagnose yourself with IBS. Instead, see a medical doctor who will assess your symptoms, run any tests needed to rule out other conditions and give you a clear diagnosis of IBS before you start this diet.

Benefits of a low FODMAP diet

Researchers at Monash University did the original research to come up with the concept of FODMAPs and to establish the efficacy of a low FODMAP diet. Monash research showed IBS symptoms improve in 3 out of 4 people who follow a low FODMAP diet. Other research groups from all over the world have since shown similar results. Because of this, a low FODMAP diet is now recommended as the first treatment choice for people diagnosed with IBS

IBS symptoms that may improve on a low FODMAP diet

A low FODMAP diet has been shown to:

  • Reduce pain and discomfort
  • Reduce bloating and distension
  • Improve bowel habit (reduce diarrhoea or constipation)
  • Improve quality of life.

These benefits are usually seen within 2-6 weeks of following a low FODMAP diet.

Of course, the diet does not cure IBS symptoms, it just helps people to live more comfortably with their condition.

A low FODMAP diet also does no improve symptoms in ALL people with IBS. In fact, 1 out of 4 people with IBS find their symptoms do not improve on the diet. In these people, other diet therapies may be needed in addition to, or replacement of a low FODMAP diet. Other IBS therapies to consider include stress reduction, gut directed hypnotherapy, over-the-counter medications such as laxatives, fibre supplementation, or prescription medications. Talk to your doctor about which other therapies you should trial.

Get started on your FODMAP Diet
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A diet that improves IBS symptoms

Since the introduction of Monash University’s Low FODMAP DietTM, sufferers of IBS finally have a proven way to improve digestive comfort and all-around health.

How does the Low FODMAP Diet work?

Developed by Monash University researchers, the Low FODMAP DietTM limits foods that have been shown to aggravate the gut and cause Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms like intestinal bloating, gas and pain. These foods are high in a group of sugars called FODMAPs.

The Monash University Low FODMAP DietTM is best followed under the supervision of a qualified dietitian or healthcare professional who is experienced in this specialised area. The diet begins with a 2-6 week period of high restriction and then transitions to a more relaxed diet where certain foods are gradually re-introduced. Despite including the word “diet”, a low FODMAP approach to eating is not intended as a weight loss plan.

Online training for healthcare professionals

Interested in becoming a low FODMAP expert and helping IBS sufferers more effectively? If you’re a healthcare professional, undertake training developed by the experts at Monash University – one of the world’s top universities, not to mention the institution that originated FODMAP research.

Monash University’s online training program will equip you to deliver the Low FODMAP Diet in clinical practice optimizing treatment response for your patients.