Symptoms of IBS and inflammatory bowel disease may be at least in part related to impaired absorption of carbohydrates.

Fermentable oligo–, di– and monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAPs) in patients with IBS or IBD may enter the distal small bowel and colon where they are fermented, leading to symptoms and increased intestinal permeability (and possibly inflammation).

Examples of FODMAPs include:

  • Fructans or inulins (wheat, onions, garlic, and artichokes)
  • Galactans (beans, lentils, legumes, cabbage, and Brussels’ sprouts)
  • Lactose (dairy)
  • Fructose (fruits, honey, high fructose corn syrup)
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol
  • Mannitol
  • Polyols (sweeteners containing sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol, stone fruits such as avocado, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums)

Avoidance of carbohydrates has been a long–popularized non–pharmacologic approach to reducing symptoms in IBS (and possibly modifying disease in IBD).