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Nutrition in acute and chronic diseases

The relationship between meal regularity with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in adults

Abstract

Background

The irregular meal pattern and meal-skipping might be related to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), however, findings of previous investigations are contradictory. We aimed to examine the relation of meal regularity with IBS in Iranian adult population.

Methods

Data on 4599 adults who worked in 50 different health centers were used in this cross-sectional study. Dietary habits were measured using a pretested questionnaire. IBS identification was performed through the use of a modified version of Rome III questionnaire.

Results

IBS was prevalent among 18.6% of men and 24.1% of women. After adjustment for potential confounders, those with regular meal pattern, in comparison to those with irregular meals, had 40% lower odds for IBS (OR:0.60, 95%CI: 0.41–0.87). Individuals with regular meals had also 82 lower risk for IBS-Mixed, in comparison to those who had irregular meals (OR:0.18, 0.95%CI: 0.08–0.43). Stratified analysis by gender revealed that women with regular meals, compared with those who did not, had 44% lower risk for IBS (OR: 0.56, 0.95%CI: 0.34–0.91). Normal-weight individuals who had regular meal pattern, compared to those who did not, had 63% lower risks for IBS (OR:0.37, 95%CI: 0.22–0.64). Furthermore, subjects who had regular meal pattern had 53% lower risk for severe symptoms of IBS (OR:0.47, 95%CI: 0.30–0.71).

Conclusion

We found that participants with regular meal pattern had reduced odds of IBS, IBS-Mixed and the syndrome severity. Meal regularity was also linked to reduced IBS prevalence in women, and in normal-weight individuals. More prospective studies are needed to affirm these associations.

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Data availability

Dataset can be available on request from supervisor of the project (AE). Requests to access these datasets should be directed to a.esmaillzadeh@gmail.com.

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Acknowledgements

The financial support for conception, design, data analysis and manuscript drafting comes from Food Security Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran. We wish to thank all staff of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences who kindly participated in our study.

Funding

The financial support for conception, design, data analysis and manuscript drafting comes from Food Security Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

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Contributions

NGB, ZH, PS, AHK, AE and PA contributed in conception, design, data collection, data interpretation, manuscript drafting, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Parvane Saneei.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethical approval and consent to participate

All participants provided informed written consent. The study was ethically approved by the Research Council of Food Security Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran (IUMS).

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Bavani, N.G., Hajhashemy, Z., Saneei, P. et al. The relationship between meal regularity with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in adults. Eur J Clin Nutr 76, 1315–1322 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-022-01108-3

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