Gastrointestinal effects of diets low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2022 Jul 1;25(4):260-264.doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000841.


Eamonn M M Quigley 1


Author information

1Lynda K and David M Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders, Houston Methodist Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College, Houston, Texas, USA.


Purpose of review: Food ingestion is an exacerbator of gastrointestinal symptoms, regardless of origin. Sufferers mistakenly assume that they have suffered an allergic reaction to a given food. Although classical IgE-mediated allergic reactions are rarely culpable, evidence for a role for intolerance to certain carbohydrates in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and related conditions increases. This review assesses the status of a commonly implicated group of poorly absorbed carbohydrates (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols - FODMAPs) in gastrointestinal pathophysiology.

Recent findings: Although evidence of efficacy for low FODMAP diets in IBS accumulates, the magnitude of this effect has declined in recent studies. Comparisons to other dietary approaches have revealed conflicting results; some suggest superiority, others find parity. Concerns had been raised regarding long-term nutritional, psychological and microbiological impacts of FODMAP restriction; providing that the diet is administered in the recommended manner, these do not appear to be clinically important. The mechanisms whereby FODMAPs cause gastrointestinal symptoms continue to be explored.

Summary: FODMAPS induce gastrointestinal symptoms in susceptible individuals and their restriction provides clinical benefits. The magnitude of these benefits, the superiority of FODMAP restriction over other dietary approaches and the mechanisms of its effects continue to be defined.



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