Italian research shows a temporary diet low in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) can help those with persistent celiac symptoms despite adherence to a gluten-free diet. Study participants showed improvements in both digestive complaints and mental health after only three weeks.
The study at a teaching hospital at University of Milan recruited 50 volunteers with celiac. Those selected still had irritable bowel syndrome or other intestinal problems after eating gluten free for at least one year.
Half the group was randomly assigned to follow a regular gluten-free diet while the other half also went on a low-FODMAP diet for 21 days. Overall symptoms improved only for the low-FODMAP group. They reported much lower abdominal pain and better fecal consistency. Both groups showed an improvement in psychological wellbeing, but it was much higher on a low-FODMAP diet. The improvement for those eating only gluten free probably resulted from increased support for dietary adherence during the study.
This is the first study of its kind researching a low-FODMAP diet in celiac patients. In some cases, temporary elimination of FODMAPs can restore a disturbed gut to a healthier state able to tolerate most foods.
This study did not follow up to determine whether benefits impacted long-term health. More study will be needed to prove any sustained effect on celiac patients’ quality of life.
Roncoroni L, Bascuñán KA, Doneda L, et al. “A low FODMAP gluten-free diet improves functional gastrointestinal disorders and overall mental health of celiac disease patients: a randomized controlled trial.” Nutrients. 2018;10;1023. doi:10.3390/nu10081023.