What is the low FODMAP Diet?🥑🍅🍄🍞

By Kylie Matthews

There are so many different kinds of diets out there – keto, paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, 5:2 – promising all kinds of impressive health benefits.

Recently you might have heard of the low-FODMAP diet (sometimes referred to as LoFo). So what is it, who is it for and what are its benefits? It’s often recommended for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But does it work?

What’s a ‘FODMAP’?

FODMAP is an acronym for a group of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars):

  • Fermentable Oligosaccharides (e.g. fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides)
  • Disaccharides (e.g. lactose)
  • Monosaccharides (e.g. excess fructose) and
  • Polyols (e.g. sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, xylitol and isomalt)

These sugars are fermented by the bacteria that live inside our intestines and are present in many of the foods we eat. Common high-FODMAP foods include garlic, onions, apples, milk, mushrooms, bread and chickpeas, among many others.

For 85% of the population, the fermentation of these sugars isn’t an issue, but for one in seven people, some high-FODMAP foods can trigger the uncomfortable and potentially debilitating symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For these people, the low-FODMAP diet can be life-changing.

Who should try a low-FODMAP diet?

The low-FODMAP diet isn’t for everybody; you won’t lose weight on it, burn tummy fat or improve your general health.

In fact, without an IBS diagnosis from a doctor or dietitian, embarking on this highly restrictive diet has the real potential to cause unnecessary damage to the health of your gut microbiome.

But, if you do have IBS, the short-term Monash University Low-FODMAP diet™ is a diagnostic tool that can help you identify your trigger foods, and reduce and manage your IBS symptoms in the long term.

Can it cure people of IBS?

No, but it can help you manage symptoms.

There’s no known cure for IBS. It’s a chronic condition that needs to be managed long term, which is where the low-FODMAP diet comes in.

Recent studies have revealed the low-FODMAP diet reduces IBS symptoms for around 86% of people. In addition, symptoms can continue to improve with the reduction of triggering high-FODMAP foods for a long time, provided these foods are avoided or significantly limited.

For people with IBS, the low-FODMAP diet can be life-changing

“The idea is to settle the symptoms right down,” says Nicole Dynan, accredited practising dietitian and spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).

“So, it might just be that you’ve been overloading yourself with that particular sugar group, and if we find your personal tolerance level then there’s no reason you can’t go on tolerating an amount of that particular group.”

What is a low-FODMAP diet?

Monash University’s Department of Gastroenterology launched a major study in 2005 to see if IBS could be managed through diet, and found four classes of short-chain carbohydrates (sugars) that were poorly absorbed in the small intestine.

These sugars attract water into the bowel, and when they reach the large intestine they’re fermented by the resident gut bacteria and, in combination with a sensitive gut, can result in IBS symptoms such as bloating, distension, pain, constipation and diarrhoea.

It isn’t just another fad diet

Over the years the Monash University research team has shown in numerous studies that a diet low in high-FODMAP foods can help ease the symptoms of IBS.

Subsequently, the team developed the Monash University Low-FODMAP diet™, now considered frontline therapy for IBS around the world.

How does it work?

The first thing you should know about the low-FODMAP diet, says Associate Professor Jane Muir, Head of Translational Nutrition Science in the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University, is that it isn’t just another fad diet.

“It is important to emphasise here that the low-FODMAP diet is a diet therapy for a medically diagnosed condition – IBS,” she says.

Muir describes the FODMAP diet as three-phased.

Step one: “Patients swap high-FODMAP foods for low-FODMAP alternatives, thus lowering their overall FODMAP intake, which they follow for around two to six weeks,” she explains.

“If they notice an improvement in their IBS symptoms in step one, they progress to step two.”

Step two: This should take between eight and 12 weeks and involves introducing high-FODMAP foods back into the diet, one at a time, and increasing the amount each day to determine which foods trigger IBS symptoms, and how much can be tolerated.

Step three: A ‘personalised’ low-FODMAP plan for the future is devised, which is minimally restrictive and intended to maintain an adequate level of symptom control.

“Well-tolerated foods and FODMAPs are included in the personalised FODMAP diet, while poorly tolerated FODMAPs are restricted, but only to a level that is necessary to maintain adequate symptom control,”  says Muir.

For short-term use only

The low-FODMAP diet is a diagnostic tool and isn’t recommended for long-term use.

“The effect of FODMAP restriction on the gut microbiota occurs because some FODMAPs (e.g. fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides) are a fuel source for good bacteria in our gut; that is, they’re ‘prebiotics’,” says Dr Jane Varney, research dietitian with the Department of Gastroenterology at Monash University.

“If poorly implemented, the diet can also restrict intake of some nutrients, such as calcium and fibre. This is one reason why we strongly recommend people only implement the diet short term – and under the guidance of a FODMAP-trained dietitian.”

How to start a low-FODMAP diet

The first thing you should do, if you haven’t already been diagnosed with IBS, is to go to your local GP and have tests done to rule out other medical conditions that present a range of similar symptoms, such as coeliac disease, gluten sensitivity, anxiety, depression and stomach or colon cancer.

Then, get a referral from your GP to a DAA-qualified dietitian who has expertise in food intolerances and the low-FODMAP diet.

Go to the DAA website and search for an Accredited Practising Dietitian in your area,” Dynan says.

Under the supervision of your dietitian, you’ll embark on stage one of the low-FODMAP diet and remove all high-FODMAP foods from your diet for a specified length of time.

Some of the more common high-FODMAP foods, along with their low-FODMAP alternatives, are as follows:

Dynan says she provides any IBS patients embarking on the low-FODMAP diet with resources from the Gastroenterological Society of Australia (GESA).

“We look through lists of common foods they might be eating that are in the high-FODMAP lists and we highlight them,” she says.

“Then I show them a sample diet and what they’re able to actually eat in that first phase, swapping high-FODMAP foods for low-FODMAP foods.”

To ensure her patients maintain good nutritional balance throughout the process, she also recommends they download the Monash University low-FODMAP diet app (iOS, $12.99/Android, $9.50).

“It’s a traffic-light system for high- and low-FODMAP foods and it guides them so they’re able to implement the diet really effectively. The app also has recipes on there and things like that … it’s a great resource,” says Dynan

People may experience almost immediate relief from IBS symptoms during the initial phase of the diet, however, it’s important for gut health not to remain in this phase for an extended period of time.

Once high-FODMAP foods are recognised as the culprits, moving into the reintroduction phase works to determine which high-FODMAP foods trigger IBS symptoms, and how much of these foods the body can tolerate.

Medicare subsidies

Medicare provides Chronic Disease Management Plans for people with long-term chronic health conditions, which subsidises appointments with allied healthcare professionals – in this instance, a dietitian.

“It’s up to your GP to determine if your condition qualifies,” says Dynan. “If it does, for each of the subsidised consultations via Medicare you get a $52.95 rebate off the cost.”

CASE STUDY: “Within a couple of days, I felt normal for the first time in years”

CASE STUDY: “I noticed improvements to my symptoms within days”

Can I DIY the FODMAP diet?

It’s not advised. IBS symptoms mimic those of many other gastrointestinal disorders, such as coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer, so it’s important that these are ruled out and an IBS diagnosis is made by a medical doctor before embarking on the FODMAP diet, explains Muir.

“Individuals who are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms should consult their doctor, and once the diagnosis of IBS is made, the doctor can refer them to a qualified dietitian to explore the use of diet therapy to control the symptoms,” she says.

We strongly recommend people only implement the diet short term – and under the guidance of a FODMAP-trained dietitian

The low-FODMAP diet is a highly restrictive diet that, without the supervision of a dietitian,  may result in inadequate fibre, calcium and other essential nutrients. A dietitian ensures the diet is implemented properly to achieve the best diagnostic results, and that nutrient requirements are met.

The role of the dietitian

Dynan says a dietitian plays an essential role in the low-FODMAP diet.

“I had one chap come in, in his 40s. He’d been to every doctor, every specialist, had every scan, every test, every scope possible because he’d had chronic diarrhoea for two years and he couldn’t get resolution on it,” she says.

“[After doing the low-FODMAP diet] it came down to onion for him and he came back two weeks later and said to me, ‘I can’t believe I went to professors, all the gurus, and it’s the little dietitian who solved my problem’.”

The food industry is taking note

As more people learn about the impressive success for IBS sufferers on the low-FODMAP diet, canny food manufacturers are producing food products to cater to the growing number of FODMAP adherents. But are they worth the added cost?

“When I first started seeing FODMAP products on the supermarket shelves twelve or so months ago, I was actually quite shocked,” says Dynan.

“It’s a medical diet, not something that the public should really be embarking on on their own.

“Also, these products aren’t necessarily healthier. As with anything processed … you should look carefully at the nutrition label for things like salt, saturated fat and sugar content.”

Increased convenience

That said, these readily accessible products do offer increased convenience for consumers on a low-FODMAP diet.

“We’re all very time poor so it does give people who are on the diet easy choice, and there’s obviously a demand for them,” says Dynan.

[FODMAP products] aren’t necessarily healthier … you should look carefully at the nutrition label for things like salt, saturated fat and sugar content

Monash University’s food certification program stamps a wide range of foods in Australian supermarkets suitable for those following step one and step two of the low-FODMAP diet.

“All products included in the Monash University Low-FODMAP CertifiedTM program have been laboratory tested by the independent team at Monash University, using validated scientific methods to ensure they meet the low-FODMAP criteria,” Varney says.

FODMAP Friendly is another low-FODMAP certification stamp, which claims to be the “only registered certification trademark worldwide certifying FODMAP levels in food products that have been laboratory tested to be low in FODMAPs” and designed to enable people with IBS to “shop and eat with confidence”.

Increased cost

But these low-FODMAP certified products do come at a significantly increased cost compared with foods that are naturally low FODMAP. Varney says there are a number of reasons why this may be the case.

“Specialty products often include ingredients that are more expensive, production volumes may be lower (meaning there are more overheads to cover per unit of production) or there may have been significant investment in the development process to ensure that flavours and textures are optimal,” she says.

“There are also costs associated with certifying low-FODMAP products, and food labelling laws in Australia prohibit manufacturers from making claims about FODMAP content without inclusion in a certification program.”


EMFs: The invisible toxins of our time.📡💻📞📠📺🖨🔌🤯

Mobile devices sending out radio waves which spread out in a crowd of people.
Technology has forever changed the world we live in.

From smart phones to solar panels, our lives are infinitely more connected and convenient – thanks to the vast array of gadgets and appliances available at our fingertips. Whilst it’s true that these devices enrich our lives in many ways, mounting evidence warns that our prized possessions could also be double-edged swords providing convenience at the cost of our health.

But why the concern? Beyond the negative impacts on mood and social connection arising from excessive digital technology use, our devices and appliances also emit a low level of radiation, called electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Similar to when a pebble is dropped into still water, EMF’s produce small, radiating waves of energy into their surrounding environment, which have been shown to disturb cellular health.

Similar to when a pebble is dropped into still water, EMF’s produce small, radiating waves of energy into their surrounding environment, which have been shown to disturb cellular health.

So, as our use of technology continues to grow, so too does the concentration of these electromagnetic waves, and the call from health care bodies to establish preventative measures against excessive EMF exposure.[1]

What the EMF?

Preventing excessive exposure to EMFs is important, as in high enough concentrations, exposure can increase the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS are unstable molecules that cause cellular and DNA damage,[2] which in turn can lead to tissue damage, cellular dysfunction and inflammation.[3] Increased EMF exposure has been linked with the development of tumours, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and reproductive issues;[4] highlighting how these invisible disturbances can have wide reaching health effects.

This is evidenced by studies that also show 3% of individuals have a severe reaction to EMFs, which manifests symptomatically as sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue, anxiety and poor concentration that worsen with unmanaged EMF exposure.[6] The same symptoms, with reduced severity, can also be experienced by people exhibiting a mild or moderate reaction to EMFs, however, specific rates of occurrence are yet to be quantified.

It appears that sensitivity to EMFs is influenced by factors such as age, history of exposure, genes that govern detoxification capacity and the stress response, and an individual’s overall health.[7]

Excessive EMF exposure

What then determines if someone will experience EMF-related symptoms? It appears that sensitivity to EMFs is influenced by factors such as age, history of exposure, genes that govern detoxification capacity and the stress response, and an individual’s overall health.[7] In addition, exposure to increasing concentrations of EMFs elevates the risk of symptoms. Examples of situations that result in higher EMF exposure include:

  • Talking on a mobile phone for more than 30 minutes per day over the last 5+ years without the use of non-wireless headphones;
  • Sleeping near major electrical devices or appliances, including those which share a wall with the bedhead e.g. refrigerator, power box, air-conditioner or Wi-Fi modem;
  • Working in an EMF-heavy environment/occupation i.e. office worker, pilot/flight attendant or electrician;
  • Exposure to multiple medical imaging devices such as X-rays; and
  • Electrocution resulting from occupational exposure or being stuck by lightning.

Based on the above list, what would you estimate your level of EMF exposure to be?

The EMF age

In this modern society, most people are exposed to some level of EMFs, but many don’t link EMFs as a potential cause of their symptoms. Help from a professional who can assess the level of EMFs in your environment, known as a Building Biologist, can provide clarity on your level of exposure. However, beyond this, there are many practical ways you can reduce your EMF exposure, including:

  • Choosing hardwired Ethernet cables instead of wireless networks;
  • Disconnecting household devices/appliances when not in use;
  • Switching devices to ‘flight mode’ overnight;
  • Ensuring your bed is not sharing a wall with a power box, modem or other appliances;
  • Using a hands free function or wired headphones when speaking on your mobile;
  • Storing devices away from you when sleeping, travelling or working to avoid prolonged exposure; and
  • Increasing your antioxidant intake to combat any ROS that are produced with exposure i.e. consuming colourful vegetables, herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric and rosemary, and increasing zinc, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin E rich foods.

Hi-tech health

With the above in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to consider if the EMFs in your environment could be impacting your health. Perhaps trialling a period of EMF minimisation could help determine if you feel better with reduced EMF exposure? However, despite the widespread use of technology, there are still many ways you can proactively balance your technology use with minimising EMF exposure. By modifying and detoxifying your environment, you can balancing the benefits of a hi-tech life with your highest level of health!



It’s time to spread the word about IBS. IBS has a huge impact on our communities and often carries unnecessary stigma!                                                       ❤️

Shake It Transformation Competition!🤸‍♀️

We are over the halfway point for the Shake It Transformation Competition! Have you been thinking about entering?🤔

Post on the Shake It Facebook page a before and after photo of your weight loss journey and tell us your Shake It success story (approx. 150 words).🎉

We would love to see how the Shake It Practitioner Weight Management Program has transformed your life!!🤸‍♂️

Head to www.shake-it.com.au for all the T&C’s.

Can wait to try this GF Vegan Hot Cross Bun Receipe.🐰YUM!🤤

Gluten-Free Hot Cross Buns

By Teresa Cutter.


Makes 12 buns
240 g ( 8 1/2 oz / 2 cups) buckwheat flour

200 g (7 oz / 2 cups) almond meal

3 tablespoons golden flaxseed meal

3 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

125 ml (4 oz / 1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil

250 ml (8 ¾ fl oz / 1 cup) almond milk or rice milk

60 ml (2 fl oz / ¼ cup) organic maple syrup or honey

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

250 g (8 ¾ oz) blueberries (fresh or frozen) or raisins if you want to go traditional

Melted dark chocolate for piping crosses (use 80% dark chocolate or make your own from my Healthy Baking Cookbook)



  1. PREHEAT your oven to 160°C fan forced (320°F).
  2. COMBINE buckwheat flour, almond meal, cinnamon, flaxseed and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. COMBINE olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla into a separate bowl.
  4. ADD the wet ingredients to the flour mix.
  5. MIX through gently until a sticky dough forms. What will happen is that the dough will thicken and absorb all the moisture from the almond milk as it rests. I normally like to rest my dough for 5 – 10 minutes before adding blueberries.
  6. ADD blueberries and give the dough one more brief mix – it should be lovely and sticky with the blueberries distributed throughout. Now remember you can use both fresh or frozen blueberries to make these buns.
  7. SCOOP out into rounds using an ice cream scoop onto a lined baking tray.
  8. BRUSH the top with a little extra almond milk.
  9. BAKE for 35 – 45 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.
  10. COOL and pipe over the crosses using melted dark chocolate.
  11. ENJOY on it’s own or topped with Blueberry + Chia Jam and Healthy Chef Gingersnap Chai Tea.


NEWSFLASH: Thanks to the power of the collective voice and the work conducted by the Your Health Your Choice campaign, the Liberal National Government has committed to commissioning an updated review of certain natural therapies, including a five-year update to its 2014-15 review of natural therapies.🤗

The review will be led by the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Professor Brendan Murphy, and be supported by an advisory panel of experts including naturopath and Associate Professor of Public Health, Jon Wardle from the University of Technology Sydney. The CMO’s review will assess additional available evidence for natural therapies, undertake public consultation and provide advice to Government on the eligibility of certain natural therapies for a subsidy through the private health insurance rebate🍃

We will continue to keep you informed as the review progresses.

Click on the link to view the media release https://bit.ly/2IiQkOW