If you suffer from IBS then your food choices are very important. Here are some examples of things not to eat if you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a blanket term that’s used for several gastrointestinal ailments.
Symptoms of IBS often include bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence, diarrhea, and/or constipation.
Although IBS is the most commonly diagnosed gastrointestinal disorder in the world, the medical profession still only has a limited understanding of it. The medications and other treatments doctors prescribe focus on treating the symptoms. There is no cure for IBS.
Despite the way people have become conditioned to rely on drugs and medications, pills and potions are not the only way to manage IBS. Nor are they the best way.
As anyone who is smitten with IBS will tell you, certain foods can irritate the condition and make it worse. Without any doubt, the best way to control IBS is to avoid the foods that make it flare-up.
Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done. Although there are certain prime offenders, some of the foods that may be very bad for one person (with IBS) can be totally acceptable to the next.
One of the best ways to learn which foods aggravate your IBS is to keep a food journal and keep a log of what you eat and when. It may also be useful to log the way your meals were cooked, along with any dressing such as vinegar, sauce, or olive oil.
When you have a flare-up, it’s important to log your symptoms too. Thoroughly logging your food intake and IBS symptoms will allow you to see what patterns emerge and “know thine enemy.” When you spot a problem, you can remove the offending food from your life.
Table of Contents
Foods to Avoid With IBS
Before reading further, it’s important to remember IBS food triggers can be different from one person to the next.
Having said that, taking steps to avoid some of the most common triggers is always a good way to begin managing the condition.
1. Insoluble Fiber
Dietary fiber is an important nutrient that can contribute much to gut health. Unfortunately, there are two different kinds of fiber present in foods.
- Soluble fiber
- Insoluble fiber
Some food contains mainly one type of fiber, others provide both. Soluble fiber often has the potential to improve IBS but insoluble fiber can make it worse.
Foods to avoid include:
- What bran, brown rice, couscous, and other wholegrain foods
- Beans, lentils, and other pulses
Fiber tolerance can vary from one IBS sufferer to the next but the chances of tolerating foods that are high in insoluble fiber are relatively slim.
If insoluble fiber triggers your IBS, try eating more foods that contain soluble fiber instead.
2. Fried Foods
When you have IBS, it’s pretty much a given that all fried foods are going to be bad. That’s going to be a bitter pill to swallow if you are partial to French fries, burgers, or fried eggs; but it’s just how it is.
If you are among the few who are the exception and your IBS appears to tolerate all that grease, the chances are you will already know. However, if you are trying to pinpoint the foods that are making you ill, now’s a good time to throw out the frying pan and prepare your food a different way instead.
Foods that contain gluten can also set off your IBS. Fortunately, if gluten is a problem for you, most supermarkets stock a variety of gluten-free foods.
Gluten is a group of proteins present in barley, wheat, and rye. People suffering from celiac disease can have an extreme immune reaction to foods that contain gluten.
IBS sufferers generally only experience unpleasant gut issues that are similar to those of people who have gluten intolerance.
Needless to say, it can be difficult to ascertain if someone has IBS or has a gluten intolerance. Either way, there is a need to avoid.
Foods to avoid include:
Bread, cakes, pies, pasta, and other products made from wheat flour.
- Malt and products that contain it, including malted drinks and malt vinegar
- Brewer’s Yeast
- Semolina pudding
These are just a few examples. There are plenty of other foods that contain gluten and may cause your IBS to become worse, some of which may surprise you. For further information go here: https://celiac.org/gluten-free-living/what-is-gluten/sources-of-gluten/
4. Most Dairy Products
Although low-fat yogurts are a good food option for many people with IBS, many other dairy products are not. Eggs are included in this restriction as well.
Cheeses and full-fat milk are high in fat and may cause an irritable bowel to succumb to diarrhea.
Of course, anyone who feels unwell after eating dairy products may need to ascertain if they have IBS, are lactose intolerant, or both. This is an issue that may require a doctor’s advice.
5. Processed Foods
Processed foods tend to be havens for large amounts of salt, sugar, and fat. They can also be high in calories. They are bad for the health in a number of ways. Causing IBS flare-ups is just one of the things they can do.
Foods to steer clear of include:
- Canned goods
- Pre-packed frozen meals (TV Dinners)
- Processed meats
- Potato chips
- Corn flakes and many other breakfast cereals
6. Caffeinated Drinks
Drinks that provide caffeine can also trigger unpleasant reactions in the gut. Caffeine can overstimulate the intestines, causing diarrhea.
Energy drinks are generally very high in caffeine. Coke and many other soft drinks contain caffeine too.
It’s not just cold drinks though. Warm beverages such as coffee and tea have caffeine in them too. Fortunately, if you partial to either of these options, it’s possible to buy decaffeinated versions to drink instead.
7. Broccoli and Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are popular cruciferous vegetables. Although they are highly nutritious, they are also hard to digest and may cause flatulence, constipation, and other gut problems in people who suffer from IBS.
8. Artificial Sweeteners
If you are on a diet and trying to lose weight, there is every chance you may have ditched sugar in favor of artificial sweeteners.
Although sugar-substitutes are low in calories, they can also be hard on the gut. If something is having a negative effect on your irritable bowel, and you are finding it difficult to pinpoint the cause, try taking a break from artificial sweeteners and foods that contain them. You may be surprised at the result.
Foods You May Be Able to Eat With IBS
Once you have discovered which foods are bad for your IBS, it leaves you with another problem—what can you eat instead?
Fortunately, there are plenty of options but it may take a little trial and error to find which are the best ones for you.
Many people who have IBS find lean, white meats are a good food option.
Carrots, turnips, potatoes, and other root crops are good possible options too.
Many doctors recommend the low FODMAP diet for IBS. It’s a diet that involves avoiding foods that contain a lot of certain types of carbohydrates.
FODMAPs are a group of fermentable carbohydrates that often aggravate gut problems in people who have IBS. They are present in a variety of different foods. Some foods contain only one FODMAP. Others have two or more.
Low-FODMAP diets are not suitable for everyone. Unless you have IBS, they may do more harm than good. (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/low-fodmap-diet)
What Not to Eat With IBS Summary
IBS is a condition that can manifest itself via a number of unpleasant gut-related side effects including bloating, diarrhea., and intestinal gas.
Symptoms of this type can occur for many other reasons as well. So, it can be difficult to ascertain if IBS is the problem or something else.
Even when doctors diagnose IBS, it’s a difficult condition to treat. Although there are medicines that can help manage the symptoms, there is nothing that can cure it once and for all.
The best way to manage IBS is to identify the trigger foods that cause it. Once you are familiar with the problem foods it becomes easier to remove them from your diet.
Keeping a food journal can pay dividends, especially in the early days of your IBS problem. Having a written track record of the foods you have eaten, along with the state of your gut, makes it easier to identify the foods you can eat, along with ones you need to avoid.
If you are certain your gut issues are due to IBS, not an alternative cause, such as lactose intolerance, following a low-FODMAP diet is another good way to manage your gut.
Unfortunately, when it comes to IBS, there are no instant solutions. It may take quite a long time to discover which foods your gut finds acceptable and which ones it does not.