Increasing FODMAP knowledge around the world

27 January 2016

Monash Director of FODMAP Education, Dr Jaci BarrettWhile many people are starting 2016 considering a change in diet as a new year’s resolution, up to one in seven Australians suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is faced with changing their diet for medical reasons instead.

Director of FODMAP Education, Dr Jaci Barrett, and her team at Monash University are international leaders in the field of FODMAPs (a particular group of carbohydrates not well tolerated by the body) and IBS research. They have translated their research into practical tools to help those with IBS, including an app which is the number 1 medical app on iTunes.

Jaci, who is a dietitian and the 2006 Menzies Scholar in the Allied Health Sciences, has spent the last few months taking the research findings and the tools to the world – literally.

She is just back from speaking at the Rotterdam ‘FODMAPs around the world’ conference, in Barcelona at United European Gastroenterology Week, and at Monash University’s GastroDiet15 conference in Prato, Italy.

“My research involved investigating the low FODMAP diet for IBS, a diet our research group developed and has since been translated into practice with much success,” Jaci said.

“IBS is the most common gastrointestinal disorder, affecting 1 in 7 Australians, and the diet benefits at least three quarters of sufferers. Due to the success of the diet, we continue our research as well as putting significant work into spreading the word internationally.”

Jaci’s team at Monash has produced a smartphone app, low FODMAP diet information booklets and also train dietitians on how to implement the diet and support their patients. “The Monash University Low FODMAP Diet smartphone app is not only the number 1 medical app on iTunes but it has also been downloaded in more than 80 countries”, Jaci said.

There are plans for a future online training course for dietitians to further extend the knowledge of dietitians internationally. Jaci (pictured above courtesy of the 'FODMAPs around the world' conference) started this work with her PhD project, funded by the Menzies Foundation, entitled ‘The role of FODMAPs in gastrointestinal disorders’. Her latest research, which was presented overseas, was about the best way to implement the diet to ensure good nutrition and compliance by the patient.

If you’ve ever wondered what FODMAPs and IBS is all about, Monash has produced a great video on YouTube that explains it all: