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  • FODMAPS diet "largely ineffective" for IBS

    Author: AAP

A study has found that an Australian IBS diet is largely ineffective, and could cause some to suffer nutritional deficiencies.

There is very little evidence a Australian diet for those with irritable bowel syndrome works, a new study has found.

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IBS is a common, long-term condition that causes stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation, and is thought to affect up to one in five people at some point in their life.

Around twice as many women are affected as men.

Sufferers are usually advised to adjust their fibre intake, to have regular meals and to limit fresh fruit to three portions a day amongst other measures.

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Many people also follow the low FODMAP diet, which was developed in Australia, and is based on the observation that many short-chain carbohydrates are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and have been identified by patients as exacerbating IBS symptoms.

Examples of short-chain carbohydrates include apples, pears, artichoke, asparagus, chickpeas and lentils.

For information on becoming a dietitian, click here. 

An article in the Britain's Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) - which describes itself as the independent review of medical treatment - said the aim of the diet is not to exclude the particular foods altogether, but to adjust consumption to a level that controls symptoms.

But it said recent reviews of studies carried out into its effects have not found that it improved some symptoms, but not others.

The piece also suggested that people on it could be suffering from nutritional deficiencies due to cutting certain foods out.

"Evidence for the efficacy of the low FODMAP diet to improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is based on a few relatively small, short-term unblinded or single-blinded controlled trials of varying duration," it concluded.

"We believe that patients should be advised that there is very limited evidence for its use, the ideal duration of treatment has not been assessed in a clinical trial and its place in the management of IBS has not been fully established."

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