November 24, 2014
1 min read

Low-FODMAP diet not superior to traditional diet for reducing GI symptoms of IBS

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Traditional dietary advice for irritable bowel syndrome had comparable efficacy to a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols — or FODMAP — in improving gastrointestinal symptoms, according to data presented at UEG Week.

“The aim of the study was to perform a randomized controlled trial to compare the effect on IBS symptoms of a low-FODMAP diet compared with traditional dietary advice in outpatients with IBS in a setting resembling standard clinical practice, and to perform this study in a single-blinded design,” Lena Böhn, PhD student in the department of internal medicine and clinical nutrition, Center for Person-Centered Care at Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, told Healio Gastroenterology.

Lena Böhn

Lena Böhn

Sixty-five patients with IBS (54 women; median age, 43 years [range, 19-68]) from three hospitals in Sweden were assigned to traditional dietary advice for IBS (n=33) or low-FODMAP dietary instructions (n=32), to which they were masked. Symptom intensity was measured using the IBS Severity Scoring System (IBS-SSS) at baseline and at the end of the 4-week treatment period.

At the end of the treatment period, 56% of the low-FODMAP group responded to treatment compared with 52% of the traditional diet group, and comparable response was consistent in analysis of patients with moderate and severe IBS. Both low-FODMAP (P=.001) and traditional diet (P<.001) reduced IBS-SSS scores with comparable efficacy overall, and in abdominal pain severity and frequency, dissatisfaction with bowel habits and quality of life. However, there was a trend for greater reduction in abdominal distension with traditional diet (P=.08).

“Providing dietary advice to patients with IBS is efficient in reducing gastrointestinal symptoms,” Böhn said. “However, both a low-FODMAP diet and traditional IBS diet improved IBS symptoms, without any clear differences between the two strategies. This means that a combination of the two diets is [preferable], on an individual basis.”


For more information:

Böhn L. Abstract OP007. Presented at: UEG Week; Oct. 18-22, 2014; Vienna.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.