Friday, 21 October 2016

NEW US RESEARCH: The Low FODMAP diet superior for the relief of abdominal pain and bloating

The Low FODMAP Diet & mNICE Diet Compared

By Dr Jane Varney

An interesting study was published by our colleagues at the University of Michigan this week (1). The US study compared the effect of two dietary interventions on IBS symptoms in people with diarrhoea predominant IBS (IBS-D). The interventions in question were the low FODMAP diet and a more traditional dietary approach, known as mNICE (modified guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).

Ninety-two eligible subjects were recruited into the study, all of whom had IBS-D and most of whom were female (71%). Participants were randomised to either a low FODMAP diet or the mNICE diet for 4 weeks. Because this was also not a feeding study, a dietitian taught participants how to follow their respective diets, but participants were required to put this advice into practice and prepare their own meals. Resources developed at Monash and Michigan Universities were used to teach participants how to follow the low FODMAP diet. Guidance given to the mNICE group included to eat small frequent meals, to avoid trigger foods and to avoid excess alcohol and caffeine. This guidance was considered ‘modified’, because high FODMAP foods were not specifically excluded as would typically be the case on this diet.


The study revealed a number of interesting findings:

·         The diets were equally effective at providing ‘adequate relief’ of overall IBS symptoms, with improvements experienced in 41% of participants in the mNICE group and 52% of participants in the low FODMAP group.

·         More participants in the low FODMAP group experienced an improvement in abdominal pain, 51% versus 23%, p=0.008.

·         The greatest benefit of the low FODMAP diet was for relief of abdominal pain and bloating, with improvements in stool consistency, stool frequency and urgency also observed in this group.

Take home messages:

·         The low FODMAP and mNICE diets improve symptom control in roughly half of all people with IBS-D.

·         The low FODMAP diet may be a superior choice for the relief of some symptoms, namely abdominal pain and bloating
  1. Eswaran SL, Chey WD, Han-Markey T, Ball S, Jackson K. A Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Low FODMAP Diet vs. Modified NICE Guidelines in US Adults with IBS-D. Am J Gastroenterol. 2016.


  1. I'm not a statistician, but seems like 11% is a significant difference in real life. Seems like it would be significant to the 11% who don't benefit.

  2. Great information! Will have to check out this research article! Thanks for the post!