The Role of Food in the Treatment of Bowel Disorders: Focus on Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Functional Constipation

Prashant Singh, Caroline Tuck, Peter R. Gibson, William D. Chey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional constipation (FC) are among the most common disorders of gut-brain interaction, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Most patients with disorders of gut-brain interaction perceive food as a trigger for their gastrointestinal symptoms, and specific dietary manipulations/advice have now been recognized as a cornerstone therapeutic option for IBS and FC. We discuss in detail the 2 most common dietary interventions used for the management of IBS-general dietary advice based on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines and a diet low in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs). We summarize the literature around the possible mechanisms of FODMAP-mediated IBS pathophysiology, the current 3-step, top-down approach of administering a low FODMAP diet (LFD) (restriction phase, followed by reintroduction and personalization), the efficacy data of its restriction and personalization phases, and possible biomarkers for response to an LFD. We also summarize the limitations and challenges of an LFD along with the alternative approach to administering an LFD (e.g., bottom-up). Finally, we discuss the available efficacy data for fiber, other dietary interventions (e.g., Mediterranean diet, gluten-free diet, and holistic dietary interventions), and functional foods (e.g., kiwifruit, rhubarb, aloe, and prunes) in the management of IBS and FC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-957
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022

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