Diet for patients with a short bowel: high fat or high carbohydrate?

Gastroenterology. 1983 Apr;84(4):823-8.


Eight patients with a short bowel resulting from intestinal resection and clinically stable for at least 6 mo were studied on two diets. Each diet was given for 5 days at a time and crossed over with the other. Both diets contained 20% of total calories as protein. The high-fat diet had 60% of calories as fat and 20% as carbohydrate. This ratio was reversed in the high-carbohydrate diet. Both diets were lactose free with low fiber. Fluid intake was kept constant. The results showed that there was no difference in the blood chemistry, stool, or ostomy volume, the zinc, calcium, and magnesium balances, urine volume, and electrolyte excretion between patients on the two diets. Bomb calorimetry showed that the total calories absorbed and excreted were comparable between the two diets. It was concluded that low-fat diets had no special benefit in the overall nutrition of the patient who has been in remission in regard to bowel disease for 6 mo or longer. Hence, dietary restriction is not recommended in these patients. However, this study did not resolve the question of the requirements and losses of fat-soluble vitamins in such patients when on a high-fat diet.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Electrolytes / urine
  • Feces
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Intestines / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrogen / urine
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Urine


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Electrolytes
  • Creatinine
  • Nitrogen