(HealthDay News) — A diet with reduced content of fermentable short-chain carbohydrates (fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols [FODMAPs]) reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), with reductions similar to those seen for traditional dietary advice, according to a study published in the November issue of Gastroenterology.

Lena Böhn, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues compared the effects of a diet low in FODMAPs with traditional dietary advice in a randomized controlled trial. Patients with IBS were enrolled and randomized to groups that ate specific diets for four weeks: a diet low in FODMAPs (33 patients) or a diet often recommended for patients with IBS (regular meal patterns, with emphasis on how and when, rather than what, to eat; 34 patients).

The researchers found that IBS symptom severity was reduced in both groups during the intervention (P < 0.0001), with no significant between-group difference (P = 0.62). Fifty percent of patients in the FODMAP group and 46 percent in the traditional IBS group had reductions in IBS severity scores ≥50 at the end of the four-week period, compared with baseline (P = 0.72).

“A diet low in FODMAPs reduces IBS symptoms as well as traditional IBS dietary advice,” the authors write. “Combining elements from these two strategies might further reduce symptoms of IBS.”

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