Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that is characterized by a combination of abdominal pain or discomfort, bloating and alterations in bowel movements. This review presents recent developments concerning the roles of diet and GI endocrine cells in the pathophysiology of IBS and of individual dietary guidance in the management of IBS. Patients with IBS typically report that food aggravates their IBS symptoms. The interactions between specific types of foodstuffs rich in fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) and GI endocrine cells induce changes in cell densities. Providing individual dietary guidance about a low FODMAP intake, high soluble‑fiber intake, and changing the proportions of protein, fat and carbohydrates helps to reduce the symptoms experienced by patients with IBS and to improve their quality of life. These improvements are due to restoring the densities of the GI endocrine cells back to normal. The reported observations emphasize the role of GI endocrine cells in the pathophysiology of IBS and support the provision of dietary guidance as a first-line treatment for managing IBS.