Food is often considered to be a precipitating factor of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides, And Polyols), which can be found in many common foods. A low FODMAP diet (LFD) is increasingly suggested for IBS treatment. However, long-term, large, randomized controlled studies are still lacking, and certainties and doubts regarding LFDs have grown, often in a disorderly and confused manner. Some potential LFD limitations and concerns have been raised, including nutritional adequacy, cost, and difficulty in teaching the diet and maintaining it. Most of these limitations can be solved with the involvement of a skilled nutritionist, who can clearly explain the different phases of the LFD and ensure nutritional adequacy and compliance. Further studies should focus on new methods of teaching and learning the LFD and on predictors of response. Moreover, particular interest should be focused on the possible use of LFD in gastrointestinal diseases other than functional disorders and, possibly, also in non-gastrointestinal diseases. The aim of the present review was to clarify the effective and appropriate indications and limitations of an LFD and to discuss its possible future uses.
Keywords: gut microbiota; irritable bowel syndrome; low FODMAP diet; nutrition.