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Cutting Some Carbs Eases IBS

A diet that excludes particularly indigestible carbohydrates can provide markedly reduced irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, according to a thesis prepared at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

In the study, 197 persons with IBS symptoms were asked what they believe is the cause of their symptoms. In all, 84 percent referred to food intolerance – most often they described a hypersensitivity to fatty foods, histamine-releasing foods, such as shellfish and eggs;, foods with preservatives, including sour milk and lingon berries; and cheese and wine, which are full of biogenic amines.

But above all, IBS symptoms were reported in conjunction with consumption of food containing indigestible carbohydrates. This food group, which is popularly called FODMAPs, includes apples, beans and wheat.
In the study, IBS patients tried a “low -FODMAP diet” during four weeks – with good results.

“About half of the IBS patients improved significantly with the “low FODMAP diet,” says Lena Böhn, doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy. The results were compared with another group that followed traditional dietary advice in IBS, which involves eating small and frequent meals, to peel and divide foods into pieces, chew thoroughly and to reduce fatty and spicy foods, coffee and alcohol.

Also in this group, the IBS symptoms were reduced in about half of the patients.

“Both of the diets have an equally good effect when it comes to alleviating IBS symptoms. Future studies should therefore look at the benefit of combining them both to optimize nutritional intake and symptom reduction” says Böhn.

Source: Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg

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