Association between dietary factors, symptoms, and psychological factors in adults with dyspepsia: A cross-sectional study

Zoe M. Cooke, Stephanie M. Resciniti, Bradley J. Wright, Matthew W. Hale, Chu K. Yao, Caroline J. Tuck, Jessica R. Biesiekierski

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Evidence-based dietary management approaches for symptoms of dyspepsia are lacking. This study aimed to compare dietary factors, symptoms, quality of life (QOL) and salivary cortisol in dyspepsia participants and healthy controls. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was completed by adults with dyspepsia (n = 121) meeting Rome IV criteria and healthy controls (n = 52). Outcome measures included self-reported questionnaires about dietary habits, triggers, restrictions, dietary management approaches, nutritional intake, psychological variables, QOL, gastrointestinal symptoms, and optional cortisol awakening response (CAR) via saliva samples. Data were analyzed using Chi-square or Mann–Whitney U. Cortisol awakening response data was analyzed using moderated regression controlling for age, gender and distress. Key Results: Fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) (55%) were the most reported trigger in adults with dyspepsia. The dyspepsia group (88%) followed special diets more than controls (47%; p < 0.001), with a low FODMAP diet being most common (69%). The dyspepsia group consumed less fiber (p = 0.014), calcium (p = 0.015), and total FODMAPs (p < 0.001) than controls. There was a greater prevalence of comorbid anxiety (41%) and depression (31%) in dyspepsia compared to controls (15% and 12%, respectively, p < 0.001 and p = 0.006). The dyspepsia group had poorer QOL and greater gastrointestinal symptom severity than controls (p < 0.001). There was a negative association between anxiety and CAR (p = 0.001) in dyspepsia but not in controls. Conclusions & Inferences: Adults with dyspepsia follow special diets more than controls and perceive FODMAPs as a key dietary trigger. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring nutritional adequacy and QOL, and emphasize mechanisms of depleted stress response in dyspepsia, warranting further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14684
Number of pages10
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • dietary habits
  • dietary triggers
  • dyspepsia
  • salivary cortisol

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