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Emily Sonestedt

Emily Sonestedt

Associate senior lecturer

Emily Sonestedt

Assessment of a 4-Week Starch- and Sucrose-Reduced Diet and Its Effects on Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Inflammatory Parameters among Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome


  • Clara Nilholm
  • Ewa Larsson
  • Emily Sonestedt
  • Bodil Roth
  • Bodil Ohlsson

Summary, in English

Dietary advice constitutes a treatment strategy for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We aimed to examine the effect of a starch- and sucrose-reduced diet (SSRD) on gastrointestinal symptoms in IBS patients, in relation to dietary intake and systemic inflammatory parameters. IBS patients (n = 105) were randomized to a 4-week SSRD intervention (n = 80) receiving written and verbal dietary advice focused on starch and sucrose reduction and increased intake of protein, fat and dairy, or control group (n = 25; habitual diet). At baseline and 4 weeks, blood was sampled, and participants filled out IBS-SSS, VAS-IBS, and Rome IV questionnaires and dietary registrations. C-reactive protein and cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, and IL-18 were analyzed from plasma. At 4 weeks, the intervention group displayed lower total IBS-SSS, 'abdominal pain', 'bloating/flatulence' and 'intestinal symptoms´ influence on daily life' scores (p ≤ 0.001 for all) compared to controls, and a 74%, responder rate (RR = ΔTotal IBS-SSS ≥ -50; RRcontrols = 24%). Median values of sucrose (5.4 vs. 20 g), disaccharides (16 vs. 28 g), starch (22 vs. 82 g) and carbohydrates (88 vs. 182 g) were lower for the intervention group compared to controls (p ≤ 0.002 for all), and energy percentages (E%) of protein (21 vs. 17 E%, p = 0.006) and fat (47 vs. 38 E%, p = 0.002) were higher. Sugar-, starch- and carbohydrate-reductions correlated weakly-moderately with total IBS-SSS decrease for all participants. Inflammatory parameters were unaffected. IBS patients display high compliance to the SSRD, with improved gastrointestinal symptoms but unaltered inflammatory parameters. In conclusion, the SSRD constitutes a promising dietary treatment for IBS, but needs to be further researched and compared to established dietary treatments before it could be used in a clinical setting.


  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • EpiHealth: Epidemiology for Health

Publishing year










Document type

Journal article




  • Gastroenterology and Hepatology



Research group

  • Nutrition Epidemiology


  • ISSN: 2072-6643