Avoiding foods that included fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols significantly reduced irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, researchers have determined.
‘The symptomatic benefits of the low-FODMAP [fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols] diet are unlikely to be nonspecific because varying the intake of FODMAPs had no symptomatic effect on healthy controls,” the researchers wrote. “These results support the notion that the low-FODMAP diet has efficacy in the vast majority of patients with IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] and support its use as a first-line therapy.”
The randomized, controlled, single blind, cross-over trial set in Australia evaluated 30 patients with IBS and eight healthy controls matched for demographics and diet. Participants’ eating habits were followed for 1 week before participants were randomly assigned to 21 days of a low-FODMAP diet —fewer than 0.5 g of FODMAP per meal — or to a typical Australian diet followed by a 21-day washout period before starting the low-FODMAP diet.
Participants’ stools were collected from days 17 to 21 and analyzed for frequency, weight, water content, and King’s Stool Chart rating.
At the end of the study, patients with IBS demonstrated lower gastrointestinal symptom scores using a visual analog scale while on the low-FODMAP diet (22.8 mm; 95% CI, 16.7-28.8 mm) than on the regular Australian diet (44.9 mm; 95% CI, 36.3-53.1 mm).
Patients on the low-FODMAP diet also reported greater satisfaction with stool consistency (P<.001).
“Symptoms were more than halved in IBS subjects and all measured symptoms were reduced to a level that arguably is considered good symptom control,” the researchers reported. “The difference in symptoms between the two controlled diets was seen immediately, and the greatest symptom control was achieved and maintained after 7 days of the low-FODMAP diet.”
Disclosure: See the study for a full list of relevant financial disclosures.