Authors: Marcella Pesce, Martina Cargiolli, Sara Cassarano, Barbara Polese, Barbara De Conno, Laura Aurino, Nicola Mancino, and Giovanni Sarnelli
- Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, “Federico II” University of Naples, Naples 80131, Italy.
- Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, “Federico II” University of Naples, Naples 80131, Italy. email@example.com.
Publication: World Journal of Gastroenterology
Date: February 2020
Hypervigilance and symptoms anticipation, visceral hypersensitivity and gastroduodenal sensorimotor abnormalities account for the varied clinical presentation of functional dyspepsia (FD) patients. Many patients recognize meals as the main triggering factor; thus, dietary manipulations often represent the first-line management strategy in this cohort of patients. Nonetheless, scarce quality evidence has been produced regarding the relationship between specific foods and/or macronutrients and the onset of FD symptoms, resulting in non-standardized nutritional approaches. Most dietary advises are indeed empirical and often lead to exclusion diets, reinforcing in patients the perception of “being intolerant” to food and self-perpetuating some of the very mechanisms underlying dyspepsia physiopathology (i.e., hypervigilance and symptom anticipation). Clinicians are often uncertain regarding the contribution of specific foods to dyspepsia physiopathology and dedicated professionals (i.e., dietitians) are only available in tertiary referral settings. This in turn, can result in nutritionally unbalanced diets and could even encourage restrictive eating behaviors in severe dyspepsia. In this review, we aim at evaluating the relationship between dietary habits, macronutrients and specific foods in determining FD symptoms. We will provide an overview of the evidence-based nutritional approach that should be pursued in these patients, providing clinicians with a valuable tool in standardizing nutritional advises and discouraging patients from engaging into indiscriminate food exclusions.