- Can the Monash University Low FODMAP diet app be used in different countries?
- Are foods from other countries being tested for FODMAP content? Will this information be added in the app?
- Can the ‘app’ provide more brand-specific names or lists of ingredients used in food products?
- Does this app work on an iPad?
- Can I ‘sync’ the app between my iPad and iPhone?
- I do not have an iPhone or iPad can I download the app onto my iPod?
- Do the traffic light colours vary if you adjust the filters according to your sensitivities?
- Can future versions of the app show GOS and fructans separately?
- Is there any way to print out the recipes and shopping lists?
- Adding your own notes in the app about foods you may be intolerant to (independent of FODMAPs).
- Can you re-set and re-use the ‘Challenge’ section of the app?
- I set the filter by mistake and can’t turn it off.
- There are some differences in the FODMAP ratings of some foods between the Monash Low FODMAP diet booklet and the app. Which is correct?
- Can the app also include information about the gluten content of foods?
- Can more information about the fibre content of foods be included in the app?
- 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.
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 and specific ‘brand names’ have not been given so the information can be applied internationally. We do understand, however, that more information about country-specific foods is required in the app, and have just commenced testing food from other countries. 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 this area. The 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 to our research team at Monash, commonly used foods from their country. These foods will undergo testing in our laboratory for total FODMAP content and the information will be added to the app. Our laboratory has just commenced testing a range of foods from the USA. We anticipate that the app will be updated with results from these foods from the USA towards the start of next year. These updates will be free of charge.
3. Can the ‘app’ provide more brand-specific names or lists of ingredients used in food products?
Our app is being downloaded in over 30 countries around the world and so we are unable to name specific brands of food products. Instead we are planning to provide more detailed descriptions of the food ingredients used; this should help identify suitable choices when shopping. We have (in the current version of the app) 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 Juices– 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?
We currently do not have an app specific for iPad, however 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. We are currently discussing a strategy with our app developer to change this in future updates of the app, so that the traffic light colour does change when filters are activated according to your sensitivities. Updates of the app will be free of charge.
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. At this stage we are not sure when this information will be made available in the app. ‘Updates’ of the app, however, will be free.
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 (1.1.1) 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 (version 1.1.1) 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’ (red) 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 and will check that the ‘app’ and ‘booklet’ agree. 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). In 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 weeks. The funding from the sale of the app will help to expand our list of foods, and we plan to have significant annual 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 ‘barrier’ 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 350 foods and over 700 serving sizes. 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.