The researchers looked at the published studies on a specific diet called the low FODMAP diet. This diet is based on the theory that certain carbohydrates are poorly absorbed by the small intestine and that IBS symptoms worsen when people with the disorder eat these types of carbohydrates.
The types of carbohydrates eliminated in this diet are found in wheat, onions, legumes, milk, honey, apples, high-fructose corn syrup, and the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and mannitol.
Some guidelines suggest that a low FODMAP diet might be appropriate for IBS patients who have had no success with other treatments. But this should only be done under the supervision of a dietitian who specializes in this type of therapy, according to the review published online Aug. 6 in Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.
“However, 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,” wrote Dr. James Cave, editor-in-chief of Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin.