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

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of reviewFood 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 findingsAlthough 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.SummaryFODMAPS 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-264
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • celiac disease
  • diets
  • disaccharides
  • fermentable oligosaccharides
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • microbiome
  • monosaccharides and polyols
  • Carbohydrates
  • Monosaccharides/adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Oligosaccharides/adverse effects
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted/adverse effects
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases/etiology
  • Fermentation
  • Diet
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Disaccharides/adverse effects
  • Polymers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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