Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Comparative Study
. 2012 Jun 7;12:61.
doi: 10.1186/1471-230X-12-61.

Diet in Subjects With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Cross-Sectional Study in the General Population

Free PMC article
Comparative Study

Diet in Subjects With Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Cross-Sectional Study in the General Population

Solveig C Ligaarden et al. BMC Gastroenterol. .
Free PMC article


Background: Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) often relate symptoms to the intake of certain foods. This study assesses differences in diet in subjects with and without IBS.

Methods: The cross-sectional, population-based study was conducted in Norway in 2001. Out of 11078 invited subjects, 4621 completed a survey about abdominal complaints and intake of common food items. IBS and IBS subgroups were classified according to Rome II criteria.

Results: IBS was diagnosed in 388 subjects (8.4%) and, of these, 26.5% had constipation-predominant IBS (C-IBS), 44.8% alternating IBS (A-IBS), and 28.6% diarrhoea-predominant IBS (D-IBS). Low intake of dairy products (portions/day) (Odds Ratio 0.85 [CI 0.78 to 0.93], p = 0.001) and high intake of water (100 ml/day) (1.08 [1.02 to 1.15], p = 0.002), tea (1.05 [1.01 to 1.10], p = 0.019) and carbonated beverages (1.07 [1.01 to 1.14], p = 0.023) were associated with IBS. A lower intake of dairy products and a higher intake of alcohol and carbonated beverages were associated with D-IBS and a higher intake of water and tea was associated with A-IBS. In subjects with IBS the severity of symptoms was associated with a higher intake of vegetables and potatoes in subjects with C-IBS, with a higher intake of vegetables in subjects with A-IBS, and with a higher intake of fruits and berries, carbonated beverages and alcohol in subjects with D-IBS.

Conclusions: In this study, the diet differed in subjects with and without IBS and between IBS subgroups and was associated with the severity of symptoms.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Flow chart.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 11 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Spiller RC. Irritable bowel syndrome: gender, infection, lifestyle or what else? Dig Dis. 2011;29:215–221. - PubMed
    1. Chang L. Review article: epidemiology and quality of life in functional gastrointestinal disorders. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004;20:31–39. - PubMed
    1. Monsbakken KW, Vandvik PO, Farup PG. Perceived food intolerance in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome - etiology, prevalence and consequences. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006;60:667–672. - PubMed
    1. Simren M, Mansson A, Langkilde AM, Svedlund J, Abrahamsson H, Bengtsson U, Bjornsson ES. Food-related gastrointestinal symptoms in the irritable bowel syndrome. Digestion. 2001;63:108–115. - PubMed
    1. Saito YA, Locke GR, Weaver AL, Zinsmeister AR, Talley NJ. Diet and functional gastrointestinal disorders: a population-based case-control study. Am J Gastroenterol. 2005;100:2743–2748. - PubMed

Publication types