November 19, 2009
How To Execute Dietary Management In Eating Disorder Patients
Eating disorders (ED) patients display a high prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms and functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. These symptoms may interfere with their nutritional management. Ingestion of fructose-sorbitol (F-S) is an established means of gastrointestinal symptom provocation in irritable bowel syndrome patients. Surprisingly, although ED patients are known to consume "diet" products containing fructose and sorbitol, their gastrointestinal symptom responses to F-S provocation have not been studied.
A research article published on November 14, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology describes the responses of 26 ED patients to F-S provocation. The research team, including Professors Kellow, Abraham and Hansen from the University of Sydney, Australia, monitored gastrointestinal symptoms and breath hydrogen concentration (a marker of small bowel absorption) for 3 h following ingestion of 50 g glucose on one day, and 25 g fructose/5 g sorbitol on the next day. Responses to F-S were compared to those of 20 asymptomatic healthy females.
The key findings of this study are that F-S provoked gastrointestinal symptoms in more than half of the female ED patients, a significantly greater proportion than that found in healthy individuals; the response was specific for F-S ingestion; and there was a greater symptom response in patients at lower BMI values. Consistent with this last finding, symptom provocation was more common in anorexia nervosa patients. Hence negative energy balance appears to play a role in F-S sensitivity in these patients. As fructose and sorbitol are likely to be commonly ingested by ED patients, representing a potential source of gastrointestinal distress that would impact negatively on their nutritional management, F-S provocative testing could prove valuable in identifying those patients with symptom sensitivity to these substances.
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