Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Research update: Fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide and polyol content of foods commonly consumed by ethnic minority groups in the United Kingdom

By CK Yao (APD and PhD candidate)
We have recently published an article on the FODMAP content of top 20 foods commonly consumed by minor ethic groups in the UK. This research was part of a collaborative work with the King’s College research group based in London.

The project was undertaken on the basis of an increasing need to make the low FODMAP diet more applicable to different ethnicities/cultures around the world. In the UK, the Asian and African/Carribean British ethnic groups form two of the largest ethnic minority groups. Whilst the prevalence of IBS in these groups is unknown, it was a good opportunity to diversify the contents of the low FODMAP diet.
The top 20 foods were identified by the research team in King’s college London and with the help of dietitians from around Europe who had previously received training in the use of the low FODMAP diet. These included:

Fresh: Breadfruit, plantain, tamarind
Processed: Ackee (tinned in brine); Guava (tinned in syrup)
Fresh: Cassava, cho cho, karela, taro, yam
Processed: Callaloo
Legumes: Chana dal, urid dal (dry and boiled)
Herbs & spices: Fenugreek leaves
Nuts and seeds: Egusi seeds and white poppy seeds

Samples were collected following the Monash protocol, freeze-dried (if fruit or vegetables) and then shipped across to the laboratory of the Monash FODMAP team here in Australia. Measurement of FODMAP content was performed by the Monash FODMAP team. The foods tested are now listed in the Monash University Low FODMAP diet app.  Only foods that are laboratory tested are listed in our app (See under UK foods in the app).

 A brief summary of the findings are:
·         Fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides were present in most foods
·         For typical serving sizes; taro, karela, cho cho, cassava were HIGH in FODMAPs
·         Chana dahl and urid dahl (which are legumes) were LOW in FODMAPs
·         All fresh fruits tested were LOW in FODMAPs per serve eaten
 To read a full version of this paper, please see the reference below:


  1. Have these ethnic foods been added to the app?

  2. Hello, thank you for the great information on this website. I am confused about taro: it is now marked as high-FODMAP whereas in your former publications it was considered low-FODMAP. Could you clarify please? Thank you

    1. Hi Catharina, thank you for your question. Small servings of Taro contain low amounts of FODMAPs (1/2 cup diced or 82g), whereas larger servings contain high amounts of FODMAPs (1 cup diced or 164g). 1 cup is considered a 'typical' serving size, so this is why Taro appears with a 'red' traffic light on the main screen of the app. If you click into Taro individually and scroll down you will see the smaller serving size or 1/2 cup, which is 'green'. Serving size affects the FODMAP content of many foods so make sure to always click into individual foods when using the app guide for alternative serving size information. Best wishes, Monash FODMAP

  3. Hi, is there a difference between eating the cassava root vs. using it in baking as a flour?

  4. I have a question about cassava flour and coconut flour? I see that cassava is high fodmap, so I'm guessing it's flour will test similarly. Please correct me if I'm wrong. What about coconut flour? Although it's listed as "no excess fructose", am I correct to think it's safe to consume in flour form as well?
    We live grain-free and I use these a lot to make baked goods so that I can have things to last in the house for my busy children.