Diet in the irritable bowel syndrome

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2002 Jul;35(1 Suppl):S45-52. doi: 10.1097/00004836-200207001-00009.


Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often request dietary recommendations. They must eat, and they want to know what to eat. Present national guidelines recommend dietary treatment with fiber for IBS patients with constipation. Diet recommendations are made based on symptoms. There may be different dietary recommendations for constipation, diarrhea, and pain or bloating. This article reviews the relationship of foods to IBS and issues of food intolerances and hypersensitivities, and recommendations for diet therapy. The role of dietary fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is reviewed. Although there are few studies to substantiate exact diets, broad dietary plans are recommended for the different symptoms of IBS. In addition, the recent literature on probiotics and prebiotics pertinent to IBS is reviewed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diet therapy
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / complications
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / diet therapy*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / physiopathology*
  • Constipation / diet therapy
  • Diarrhea / diet therapy
  • Food Hypersensitivity / complications*
  • Food Hypersensitivity / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Probiotics / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome