Specialised IBS weight loss program plan is much less vital than anticipated

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A new study has shown that a special IBS diet plan that avoids certain types of foods and often excludes gluten is not as necessary as previously thought.

IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) affects about 3-5% of the world’s population and brings symptoms such as stomach pain and constipation with it. However, a special IBS diet plan is often prescribed to reduce these symptoms.

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Uppsala University in Sweden have not found a link between high gluten intake and increased IBS symptoms. The researchers found that a certain type of carbohydrate called “fodmaps” can make intestinal problems worse; however, the overall results suggest that they also have less of an impact than previously thought.

Is An IBS Diet Plan Still Beneficial?

The new study enrolled 110 people with irritable bowel syndrome, and the researchers looked at how people were affected by serving rice pudding that was cooked in different ways to mimic irritable bowel triggers. The first type of milk rice was high in gluten, while the other contained large amounts of the carbohydrate of the Fodmap variety, which are fermentable carbohydrates.

Many foods are high in fodmaps, including dairy products, breads, and certain fruits and vegetables. In addition, the researchers made a neutral rice pudding as a placebo that would be suitable for an IBS diet plan.

Participants ate the rice puddings, which were high in fodmaps, gluten, and the IBS diet plan friendly version with no annoying ingredients, in random order for one week per category. The study was double-blind, meaning that neither the participants nor the researchers knew who was eating which pudding and when.

“Diet studies are difficult to conduct in double-blind trials because the participants are often clear about what they are eating. This is a major obstacle as knowing that something has been added to or removed from the diet can affect the outcome. The fact that we managed to develop completely blind diets with a large number of participants makes our study unique, ”said Elise Nordin, PhD student in food science at Chalmers and lead author of the scientific article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The subjects’ gastrointestinal system was provoked by high doses (1.5 times the daily intake in a normal population) of fodmaps and gluten. The fodmaps made symptoms worse, but not as much as the researchers expected based on the results of previous studies. Gluten, on the other hand, had no measurable negative effect on the subjects’ perceived symptoms.

“Our results are important and show that the psychological factor is likely to be very important. IBS has been shown to be linked to mental health. Just knowing that you are being tested in a study can reduce the burden of symptoms, ”said Per Hellström, professor of gastroenterology at Uppsala University, who had medical responsibility for the study.

Differentiation between the effects of gluten and fodmaps

In previous studies, researchers mainly excluded fodmaps from the subjects’ diets, and this has shown significant reductions in IBS symptoms. However, these studies had only a few participants and were not carried out double-blind, which makes it difficult to evaluate the results objectively.

Many patients on an IBS diet plan excluded gluten from their diet despite a lack of scientific evidence. Results from previous research are inconsistent. Gluten-rich foods like bread are often high in fodmaps. One theory has shown that the fodmaps in these foods, not gluten, cause IBS symptoms. This shows the importance of studies separating the effects of fodmaps and gluten.

Investigate how diet can be customized

The new study is part of a larger project in which researchers are looking for biomarkers in the intestinal flora or in the blood to predict health outcomes. The researchers wanted to investigate whether individuals could be divided into metabotypes – different groups based on how the metabolism and gut flora of the individuals respond to different diets, and whether these groups show up differently in people following an IBS diet plan or not.

“Finding objective biomarkers that can determine whether a person belongs to a particular metabotype for IBS symptoms could make life easier for many people with IBS. There are many indications that more individual nutritional advice is possible through objective markers, ”comments Professor Rikard Landberg, head of the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at the TU Chalmers.

The new IBS study also clearly shows large individual differences when it comes to how different people are affected by a particular diet.

“Even if we only see a moderate effect of fodmaps and no effect of gluten provocation at group level, it can still happen that individual people react strongly to these foods. It is therefore important to take individual differences into account, ”said Elise Nordin.

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