Feasibility of Low Fermentable Oligosaccharide, Disaccharide, Monosaccharide, and Polyol Diet and Its Effects on Quality of Life in an Italian Cohort

Nutrients. 2020 Mar 8;12(3):716. doi: 10.3390/nu12030716.


The low Fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAP) diet has demonstrated excellent results in terms of symptom control and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) sufferers, but patients have complained about unsatisfying taste, difficulty in following the diet, and time consumption. To investigate the feasibility of the low FODMAP diet in an Italian (Sardinian) cohort, sixty consecutive eligible outpatients (11 men and 49 women) with IBS were enrolled and followed a low FODMAP diet (gluten allowed, restriction phase of four weeks, reintroduction phase of four weeks). Food habits were assessed using 24-hour dietary recall, Bristol Stool Scale for stool consistency, Visual Analogue Scale for abdominal bloating, VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) for abdominal pain, IBS Severity Scoring System for perceived disease severity, and a 12-item Short Form Survey for HRQoL (psychological component summary + mental component summary) were applied at baseline (T0) and at the end of each phase (T1-four weeks and T2-eight weeks). Statistical analysis was performed by dividing the cohort into diarrhoea-dominant IBS (IBS-D) and other IBS subtypes (selected IBS-others). Comparisons between T1 and T2 vs. T0 and T2 vs. T1 were performed. The low FODMAP diet lowered VASp (VAS pain), VASb (VAS bloating), and IBS SSS (IBS Severity Scoring System), and increased PCS (Physical Component Summary) and MCS (Mental Component Summary) in both subgroups. Bristol Stool Scale (BSS) only improved in the IBS-D subgroup. The dropout mean values for MCS were higher than treated subjects and the percentage of unemployment was lower in the dropouts. According to the dropout features, the low FODMAP diet seems to show greater feasibility for patients with more time to dedicate to the diet (unemployed, homemakers, housewives, or students), more motivation, and more severe clinical features, independent of their place of residence.

Keywords: FODMAPs; diet; feasibility; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted / methods*
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted / psychology
  • Disaccharides / analysis
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Monosaccharides / analysis
  • Oligosaccharides / analysis
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*
  • Polymers / analysis
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Disaccharides
  • Monosaccharides
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Polymers
  • polyol