Why You Might Not Respond to an IBS Diet

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, can be a crippling condition for those that suffer through it. It can take the joy out of eating and contribute to social isolation and lead to plenty of physical discomfort.

Dietary changes are one of the most common treatments for the condition. People are often told to try and eat more fermentable foods and less processed and high-sugar items. Some are told to follow what’s called a low-FODMAP diet.


FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols, all carbohydrates. A low-FODMAP diet limits their consumption, which ultimately results in limiting food with fructose, lactose, and some others.

After a few weeks, certain groups of FODMAPs are re-introduced to see what can be comfortably included in a diet and what should be cut out.

But it doesn’t work for everybody.

New research published in Gut may offer an explanation why.

Like people without IBS, people with IBS have diverse makeups of gut bacteria. In their relatively small study, researchers found that study participants had what they called either a “pathogenic-like” bacterial profile or a “health-like profile.”

People with the former profile had more species that are involved in disease, like C. difficile, C. sordelli, and C. perfringens. This profile also had low numbers of beneficial species like Bacteroidetes. They also had a number of bacterial genes for amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism.

Those with the “health-like” profile had more forms of beneficial bacteria.


Every participant followed a low-FODMAP diet for four weeks, and their gut bacterial population was monitored (through stool samples).

They found that participants with a “pathogenic-like” profile experienced greater reductions in IBS symptoms. They also experienced a change in their bacterial population to be more “health-like.”

According to this work, response to a low FODMAP diet may help curb symptoms in people with specific gut bacterial populations. It’s worth a try if you’re experiencing IBS symptoms like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or incomplete stools.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.


Popular Stories