Friday, 18 August 2017

Classic Bolognaise Sauce (minus the FODMAPs!)

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)
Bolognaise sauce is a great favourite in many homes and the kids love it too! However, most recipes invariably start off with problematic onions and garlic. This simple, fast and delicious recipe gives you all the flavour of your favourite bolognaise but it is low FODMAP! It’s also very versatile and easy to store for a quick meal or snack (see the tips and serving suggestions below).

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Does fat play a role in the management of IBS?

By Dr Jane Varney and Dr CK Yao
Patients commonly associate the consumption of fatty meals with the onset of IBS symptoms, but are these effects real and is fat restriction necessary to manage IBS symptoms?

Monday, 7 August 2017

Using Non-Traditional Cereals and Grains

By Dr Jane Varney (Research Dietitian) 

You may have found that since starting your low FODMAP diet, many of your favourite grain and cereal foods (pasta, gnocchi, breakfast cereal, bread, biscuits and many snack products) are off limits. These restrictions are due to the high fructan content of grains that commonly form the basis of these foods, namely wheat, rye and barley. While many of these foods have low FODMAP serves, to get all the nutritional benefits of wholegrain foods, you may need to broaden your horizons and try some non-traditional grain and cereal foods, many of which are low in FODMAPs. Low FODMAP grains and cereals to consider include:

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Carrot and Pepita Dip

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)
This simple, delicious and healthy recipe is one the whole family will enjoy! It is versatile as it can be used as a dip with veggies or crackers or a spread on your favourite low FODMAP bread so it’s great for entertaining, snacks, breakfasts or lunch boxes (see tips below for some suggestions!

Monday, 31 July 2017

Does Endurance Exercise Affect Gut Health?

By Dr Ricardo Costa 
Senior Lecturer & Researcher in Exercise Physiology, Metabolism & Dietetics - Monash University 

A recent Monash University review of published studies has found that all people who exercise excessively may be prone to acute or chronic gut issues [1].

Friday, 28 July 2017

Low FODMAP Croutons

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)
Making croutons is very easy and it is a great way to use up your old bread! They are a delicious addition to many salads or sprinkled on soups to give your dishes that lovely crunch. You can use any of our Monash certified breads for this recipe to ensure your croutons are low FODMAP. The croutons are also easy to store and will keep for more than a week (see the tips below).

Monday, 24 July 2017

What's the go with SIBO???

By Lyndal McNamara (Research Dietitian)

Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (better known as SIBO) is gaining more and more attention as a potential cause of gut symptoms in at least a subset (4-78%) of IBS patients (1-2). But what is SIBO? And what exactly do we know about the relationship between SIBO and IBS?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Research Update: Long-term impact of the low-FODMAP diet on gastrointestinal symptoms, dietary intake, patient acceptability, and health care utilization in irritable bowel syndrome

By Erin Dwyer (Research Dietitian)

Ever wondered what the impact of a low FODMAP diet is long term, in regards to nutritional adequacy and quality of life? This study is the first comprehensive report on the long term implications of a low FODMAP diet - here is a summary.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Carrot, Walnut and Linseed Cake or Cup-Cakes

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

This satisfyingly filling, moist, tasty and naturally (but not too) sweet recipe makes either a whole cake or individual cup-cakes that the whole family will love! The cakes are great for any occasion such as quick snacks, lunchboxes, afternoon tea or a sweetish treat after dinner. The cakes are simple and easy to make and are good keepers if stored at room temperature in an air airtight container. They are also handy to freeze as either individual cake slices or cup-cakes. Additionally, they are pretty healthy as they are a source of dietary fibre, minerals and even sneak in some vegetables and linseeds into your diet.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Apple Cider Vinaigrette (Salad Dressing)

By Trish Vetch (Research Chef)

As a follow up to our recent blog post about short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), we thought you may enjoy trying a recipe that incorporates apple cider vinegar, a rich source of the SCFA, acetate. While we don’t yet know whether consuming SCFAs through diet confers any health benefits, we think it can’t hurt to include them in the meantime.
This dressing is a terrifically easy and tasty way to incorporate the SCFA, acetate into your everyday diet. Many salads (see some suggestions under tips) require a dressing and this versatile recipe can be used to enhance their flavour. It is also has a really good shelf life so can always be ready for those quick meals after a long day. Or why not take a jar to work to pour on your healthy lunchtime salads?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The health benefits of fermented foods – is it the probiotics, their by-products or both?

By Lyndal McNamara (Research Dietitian)

Fermented foods are constantly promoted for their health benefits, particularly when it comes to improving digestion, gut function and the balance of good bugs living in our gut. In the past, these benefits have been attributed to the probiotics, or beneficial bacteria naturally found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha. But what if there is another side to the fermented foods story? One which until recently, has received relatively little attention….

As well as probiotics, fermented foods generally contain the by-products of bacterial fermentation – namely acetate, which is the main organic acid responsible for the sour taste of many fermented foods. Apple cider vinegar for instance is a fermented liquid that is a particularly good source of acetate (1). 

Acetate, like its big brothers butyrate and propionate, is a type of short chain fatty acid (SCFA). You may be familiar with the term SCFA, which are produced by beneficial bacteria in our gut as a by-product of the fermentation of dietary fibre (2).

It is these SCFAs that appear to act as an intermediate between our gut microbiome and the rest of our body to deliver health benefits (2-4). For example, butyrate is used as a major energy source by the cells lining our gut, helping to keep them healthy and functioning at their prime (2). In recent years, scientists have turned their attention to studying SCFAs and exactly how they confer health benefits. Although human research is still in its infancy, there is ample animal data to suggest that SCFAs play important regulatory roles within our immune system, particularly when it comes to reducing inflammation and allergic responses (3-4).

Whilst all of the research so far points to the importance of consuming a high fibre diet for optimal SCFA production in the gut itself, there remains a huge question mark around how dietary sources of SCFAs might also play a role. For example, can a dose of acetate from drinking apple cider vinegar have any direct effects on the immune system in humans?

Paul Gill, one of our students here at Monash University is currently conducting his PhD on this very topic. Up until now, the actual amount of SCFAs contained in different foods and beverages was largely unknown. Paul’s research so far has seen him develop methodology for quantifying levels of SCFAs in different foods and drinks and he has now developed a database with over 30 different fermented foods and drinks. Paul now plans to explore the immune effects of high dietary sources of SCFAs in human trials. We hope that this research will add to our understanding of SCFAs and whether oral sources are of any additional benefit to a high fibre diet.

Whilst time will tell, in the meantime, it can’t hurt to try incorporating more fermented foods into your diet where you can – but be sure to check the app first, as not all are low in FODMAPs (read more about fermented foods and FODMAPs here:

  1. Budak NH, Aykin E, Seydim AC, Greene AK, Guzel-Seydim ZB. Functional properties of vinegar. Journal of food science. 2014;79(5):R757-64.
  2. Wong JMW, de Souza R, Kendall CWC, Emam A, Jenkins DJA. Colonic Health: Fermentation and Short Chain Fatty Acids. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2006;40(3):235-43.
  3. Tan J, McKenzie C, Potamitis M, Thorburn AN, Mackay CR, Macia L. The Role of Short Chain Fatty Acids in Health and Disease. Advances in Immunology. 2014;121:91-119
  4. Rooks MG, Garrett WS. Gut microbiota, metabolites and host immunity. Nat Rev Immunol. 2016;16(6):341-52. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Double Chocolate and Teff Bliss Balls

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

Are you craving some date packed bliss balls that are normally so problematic? Well, the problem is solved, so now you can indulge in these delicious, chocolaty treats from time to time without having to worry about FODMAPs! Teff is a cereal with the healthy benefits of dietary fibre, calcium, iron and protein. Toasting teff gives it a delectable crunch and makes it a perfect coating for these easy to make balls. These bliss balls keep well and are great snacks at any time of the day, good in lunch-boxes, go really well with coffee and kids will love them too.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Eating out on a Low FODMAP Diet – Italian, Chinese, French and Indian!

By Erin Dwyer – Research Dietitian
Last week we gave you 5 tips on how to eat out on low FODMAP diet. Today we investigate some go-to meals and tips for popular cuisines. Also, don’t forget to follow the tips from last week and most importantly, enjoy dining out!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Low FODMAP Vegetable and Chickpea Soup

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

Vegetable soups are great favourites regardless of the season and they can be a terrific way to use up those odds and ends in the fridge! This mouth-watering recipe is very easy and healthy as just one serve provides more than half your daily recommended serves of vegetables. And don’t forget about all the dietary fibre! It’s also versatile as you can use whatever low FODMAP veggies you like and perhaps use what’s seasonal, cheap or growing in your garden. Also, if you are craving some legumes in your diet this soup recipe allows low FODMAP amounts.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Eating out on a Low FODMAP Diet

By Erin Dwyer (Research Dietitian)

Eating out when you are on a Low FODMAP diet is definitely possible, here are our 5 tips you can use so that you don’t miss out on the fun of socialising over food!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Low FODMAP Thai Tom Yum Soup

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

Delicious tom yum soup is very popular both in Thailand and in Thai restaurants everywhere. However, traditional home or restaurant made, packet and instant versions can be packed with high FODMAP garlic and onions and often have a lot of salt and additives! This recipe is worth the effort as it omits these problematic ingredients. However, it maintains the vibrant traditional flavour with all its wonderful, aromatic characteristics of this much loved soup.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Friday, 2 June 2017

Low FODMAP Oat & Banana Pancakes

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

Pancakes, flapjacks or griddle cakes are an old favourite for breakfasts and snacks and the kids love them as well! They are quick and easy to make but the traditional recipes usually use high FODMAP wheat flours. This recipe is a delicious and simple alternative with the added benefits of extra fibre. There are many toppings that you can add depending on your mood and taste, the only limit is your imagination (see the tips below for some suggestions)!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Low FODMAP stock concentrate

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

Used as a foundation for savoury recipes, good stocks can transform a recipe from ordinary to gourmet. Stocks are often used in dishes such as soups, sauces, gravies, stews, casseroles, risottos, tagines, biryanis or even steamboats. However, many commercial stocks are salty, expensive and often contain onion and/or garlic, making them unhealthy and high in FODMAPs. They can also have cuisine based limitations, making them unsuitable for the delicious Asian dishes you love.

Here are two very simple, but mouthwatering stock recipes. They also reduce well to make concentrates, meaning they can be frozen in ice-cube trays and pulled out next time you want to make a delectable dish that is bursting with natural umami!

Stocks require several hours of cooking time, making them perfect to prepare and freeze on the weekend, then pull out to use on busy work days.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Savoury Low FODMAP Muffins

By Trish Veitch (Professional research chef)

Low FODMAP muffins are great served as snacks or treats when entertaining. They also freeze and reheat well, meaning you can pull them out of the freezer whenever you’re hungry. Here is a delicious, easy recipe for savoury low FODMAP muffins that is easy to modify to suit your taste or inspiration (see the tips below)!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Update: Bananas Re-Tested!

By Shirley Webber & Lyndal McNamara (Research Dietitians)
From time-to-time, we re-test a food tested in the past, to ensure that the information we provide to app users is up-to-date. This is important as changes in agricultural and environmental factors can influence FODMAP levels in food. Our scientific testing methods have also become more advanced over time, allowing us to detect FODMAPs with even greater sensitivity and accuracy.
Our most recently re-tested food was banana. We chose banana in part, because many people had reported discomfort after eating ripe bananas. Our app has since been updated with these new data.

New FODMAP ratings of common ripe bananas versus unripe bananas

Ripe banana


Unripe banana


Why has the FODMAP rating of bananas changed so significantly?
We know that agricultural and environmental factors influence FODMAP levels in food and believe that the changes in our FODMAP results may reflect this.
From published research we know that plants naturally tend to accumulate fructans in response to environmental stressors such as cold temperatures and drought.(1) Fructans provide plant cells with greater structural integrity, making them more hardy and resistant to damage from environmental changes and disease.(1)

Studies investigating bananas specifically have found that their fructan content increases when they are stored and ripened in cold storage, which is now relatively common practice by supermarket chains to prevent spoilage and guarantee even ripening.(2, 3) Farmers may also be selectively breeding varieties of crops with a higher fructan content, as they tend to be more resilient to pests and diseases.(1)
As our findings have confirmed, simple changes in how we grow or even store food over time can have a significant effect on their FODMAP content by the time they reach consumers. This emphasises just how important it is to test and retest foods to ensure that the FODMAP composition data provided in our app is consistent with the foods currently in the food supply.
To reflect these new findings, we have updated the banana listings in the app and revised the banana recipes. Remember to check the app for this updated information, including serving size information. When you look at the serving size information, you will see that you can still have a small serve of ripe banana (1/3 banana). It is important to remember that if you currently tolerate ripe bananas well, then there is no need to remove them from your diet. Remember, your diet only needs to be as strict as your symptoms require!

  1. Valluru R, Van den Ende W. Plant fructans in stress environments: emerging concepts and future prospects. J Exp Bot 2008; 59 (11): 2905-2916. Shalini R, Antony U.
  2. Agopian R G D, Purgatto E, Cordenunsi B R, Lajolo F M, Paulo U D S. Synthesis of fructooligosaccharides in banana `prata` and its relation to invertase activity and sucrose accumulation. Amer Chemical Soc. 2009.
  3. Fructan distribution in banana cultivars and effect of ripening and processing on Nendran banana. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2015;52(12):8244-8251.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Macadamia Nut Dukkah

By Trish Veitch (Research Chef)

Dukkah is a delicious, versatile, Middle Eastern sprinkle and there are many variations available! However, commercial dukkahs are often expensive and it can be tricky to source low FODMAP varieties. Here is an easy recipe that you can make and freeze so it is quick and easy to use whenever you like. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Mechanism series - Introduction

By Shirley Webber (Research Dietitian)

This month we will explore research into the mechanisms involved in inducing and exacerbating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We will delve deeper and unpack the reasons why a particular meal may be well tolerated in one person and bring on symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal pain, discomfort, and flatulence in another.

If you haven’t seen this animation yet, now would be a good time to take a look as it explains the mechanisms underlying IBS and the role of FODMAPs in triggering symptoms.


Friday, 28 April 2017

Vegan banana & dark choc protein 'doughnuts'

Looking for a healthier, low FODMAP sweet treat? Our very creative Facebook friend Adriana has shared her delicious recipe for vegan 'doughnuts' with a healthy twist! 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Research Update: The evidence base for efficacy of the Low FODMAP diet in IBS: is it ready for prime time as a first line therapy?

By Erin Dwyer (Research Dietitian)

Professor Peter Gibson from the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University, recently published a review article in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, questioning whether a low FODMAP diet should be used as a first line treatment for IBS?

The paper reviewed 9 studies, including:
  • Placebo controlled, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that used the gold standard technique of providing all food (either low or high in FODMAPs) to participants
  • Placebo controlled RCTs that tested the more ‘real world’ effect of dietitian-led low FODMAP diet education
  • Studies that compared the effect of a low FODMAP diet with other therapies, including the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Guidelines diet and gut-directed hypnotherapy
The paper reports that all studies found that between 50 and 72% of participants improved in response to a low FODMAP diet. It also notes that the potential benefits of using a low FODMAP diet (for symptom control and quality of life) should be balanced against the risks, these being:
  • The possible adverse effects of a low FODMAP diet on the gut microbiota
  • The implications of using a restrictive diet in people at risk of disordered eating
Take home messages:
  • The low FODMAP diet is effective in approximately 70% of patients and is ready to be used as a first line therapy for IBS
  • The low FODMAP diet works best when it is dietitian-led
  • When dietitian-led, the effectiveness of the diet is still maintained even when re-challenging
  • More research is needed to monitor the long term efficacy and implications of the diet

Gibson P. R. (2017). “The evidence base for efficacy for the low FODMAP diet in irritable bowel syndrome: is it ready for prime time as a first-line therapy?” J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 32 Suppl.1: 32-35

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Low FODMAP Hot Cross Buns

By Trish Veitch (Professional research chef)

In many countries, hot cross buns are a delicious must for Easter time. Despite this recipe being a bit time consuming you can enjoy these tasty low FODMAP buns that still have a truly traditional flavor. Enjoy, and have a happy Easter!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Let’s talk number twos – what’s ‘normal’ and when should I worry?

By Lyndal McNamara (Dietitian)

When it comes to number twos, there is surprisingly large variation in what might be considered ‘normal’. In fact one individual’s ‘normal’ is often very different to another’s, even if they are healthy, live in the same household, eat the same food and are part of the same family.
IBS is a condition where for reasons not fully understood, your toilet habits all of a sudden go haywire, and this is associated with significant abdominal pain. In fact, the ROME IV diagnostic criteria for IBS recognises the significance of altered bowel habits as a primary feature of the condition.(1) It is very important that IBS is NOT self-diagnosed, as many other, more serious conditions can also cause abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. Speak to your local GP if you are concerned about your symptoms.

An IBS diagnosis can be further broken down into sub-types, depending on whether constipation, diarrhoea, neither or both is the main bowel symptom.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

IBS Awareness Month - Win One of 10 App Promo Codes!

Send us a picture of your favourite low FODMAP meal or snack and tell us why you love it for your chance to...

Monday, 3 April 2017

A low FODMAP diet in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

By Dr. Jane Varney

Ever wondered if a low FODMAP diet could be used to manage gastrointestinal conditions other than IBS?  Here is a brief summary of a review paper published by Professor Peter Gibson from the Monash FODMAP Team on the use of a low FODMAP diet in IBD, namely Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.