A recent study has shown that by excluding some foods from diet can relief symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea. The diet named “low FODMAP” restricts foods that bacteria love so much- foods high in fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols. These saccharides are poorly absorbed by the gut, but they get quickly fermented by bacteria in the gut. In the fermentation process excess gasses and liquids are produced and it can be the underlying cause for symptoms of IBS. For healthy people FODMAPs do not cause any symptoms. Why exactly these products influence only IBS patients is not exactly understood.
In the United States, 15 % adults are believed to have irritable bowel syndrome, and they suffer from symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation. Condition is most common in women under 45 years of age. The treatment includes diet, medication, probiotics and psychologic consultations, but this condition is not curable.
Currently, guidelines for IBS include avoiding food that can exacerbate symptoms and keeping a regular meal schedule, but these recommendations are not based on clinical evidence.
The FODMAPs diet includes products with high fiber rates and simple sugars. This diet means excluding a lot of fruits and wheat products. Oats, quinoa, some vegetables and fruits are still allowed.
In the study, two groups of IBS were compared. One group used a low FODMAP diet, while the other group used diet based on the guidelines of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. In duration of four weeks, patients rated if their IBS symptoms were relieved at least for the last two weeks of the study.
From the 92 people who participated, 84 completed the diet period. 52 % of people on FODMAP diet experienced adequate symptom relief in the last two weeks of study. In comparison, from the other group 41% felt symptom relief. Volunteers on FODMAP diet on average had greater relief of bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
FODMAP diet is a good option for patients that want to avoid pharmaceutical treatment and are motivated to reach results. Recently more people are starting to use FODMAP diet. This diet might be hard to maintain, because of all the restrictions. Some might say, it is not very social, because food like pizza and beer are restricted. It is also hard to keep track on all the foods that are or are not ok.