FODMAP and IBS – Why I had to learn about them fast


FODMAP is an acronym that had been floating around my consciousness for a while.

I knew it was diet related. What did it stand for? I had no idea.

Just recently my fiance has had some symptoms that forced us to consider IBS. What’s the first thing that people with IBS turn towards? The FODMAP diet.

To help choose foods and find recipes for the FODMAP diet, I’ve made a little FODMAP application right here that tells you whether foods have high, moderate or low FODMAP levels, and looks for suitable recipes. I’ll talk about the application a little at the end of the article.

This post isn’t for people who have IBS – it’s to help the rest of us understand a little more about it.

IBS, FODMAP – what’s with the acronyms?

IBS is easier – Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

FODMAP is the product of research from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and stands for Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols

Now we see why they used an acronym, right?

Anyway, these things are a kind of sugar that can increase symptoms of IBS.

IBS Causes

No one knows for certain the causes of IBS. It’s thought that abnormal contractions of intestine muscle are the physical cause of IBS symptoms.

It’s difficult to say why the contractions become abnormal in the first place (normal contractions move food through our digestive system).

There are well-defined triggers for IBS symptoms though. Two of the most common are:

  • Certain foods
  • Stress

IBS Symptoms

IBS symptoms may include all or any of: constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps.

It’s easy to laugh at, but it’s no fun for people who have it.

People with IBS may find their social lives limited by the condition for fear of embarrassment, or stomach cramps might stop them getting out and socialising normally.

It’s quite common for people with IBS to also have symptoms of depression or anxiety.

IBS Treatment

Sadly, there’s no known cure for IBS. It’s a chronic condition that tends to last for years, or for life.

Treatment usually consists of antibiotics, laxatives and or diarrhoea medication.

Fortunately, many people can also manage their symptoms with lifestyle change, which includes diet.

Research has found that using FODMAP levels as a diet guideline has helped people manage their IBS symptoms.

High Quality FODMAP Resources You Have to Check Out

I’m here to provide a quick overview, but if you want to find some seriously in-depth information, there are some great resources online.

First, is Monash University’s Gastroenteritis FODMAP research site. These are the people who found the FODMAP-IBS link. If you’d like some slightly more user-friendly information, Monash also have a great FODMAP blog.

Another excellent resource is the Gluten Freedom Project. They’ve collected together a fantastic array of FODMAP information and low FODMAP recipes and snacks.

As you can tell from their name, they also have extensive information on living a gluten-free life, a reality for most people with IBS.

Finally, if you want to undertake serious study of the FODMAP diet, take a look at Everything Low FODMAP. Not only will you find even more low FODMAP recipes here, but Everything Low FODMAP also provide courses for FODMAP dieters and for health professionals.

Now, on to the app.


The list of FODMAP foods is extensive and not easy to remember. There’s no apparent rhyme or reason behind the grouping of foods into the high, moderate and low FODMAP categories (unless you’re a food scientist!).

Strawberries are in. Boysenberries are out. Camembert is OK. Ricotta isn’t.

This is why I made the application to help you know the FODMAP levels of foods, and to find low-FODMAP recipes that use those foods.

This is how it works:

First you search for a food type to check its FODMAP levels:

search for fodmap diet food

Click Go! to see the results:

fodmap food diet search results

There aren’t recipes for every food the app knows about, and the app doesn’t know about all foods! If you stick to the suggestions in the autocomplete list you should be fine. Let me know in the comments if you find a food missing that really needs to be in there.


That’s what I’ve learned about IBS and the FODMAP diet in the last few days. I really hope my fiance doesn’t have it, but I’m glad we can avoid problematic foods from now on.

If you find any problems with the app, please let me know in the comments – I want to make it the best I can!

Do you have IBS? Or know anyone who does? I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with managing their symptoms with diet.

Thanks for reading :)

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