In adults, dietary management, particularly with the FODMAP diet, is a key evidence-based part of multimodal therapy for patients with disorders of the gut-brain interaction, particularly irritable bowel syndrome. This review aims to describe the evidence for the use of this diet and how to deliver it in paediatric practice. A literature review covering studies on the FODMAP diet in adult and paediatric settings was conducted. While the evidence for the efficacy and safety of a FODMAP diet delivered in three phases, restriction, rechallenge and personalisation, is considerable, there is a lack of good-quality clinical trials exploring the efficacy of the diet in children and adolescents. Likewise, there are limited data on safety concerns associated with a restrictive diet in paediatrics, including impacts on nutrition and growth, disordered eating behaviours, psychosocial and family issues and families and the gut microbiome. The evidence suggests that the implementation of a dietary program is enhanced by a skilled dietitian when navigating a young person (and family) through healthy eating strategies and/or FODMAP restrictions to ameliorate their symptoms. Since the FODMAP diet is being prescribed globally to children, a practical guide for clinicians used to optimise efficacy and safety is provided, including the less restrictive 'FODMAP-gentle' diet.
Keywords: diet therapy; disordered eating; disorders of gut–brain interaction; irritable bowel syndrome; nutrition.