In this article, we will know about the best and worst foods to eat, if you have irritable bowel syndrome.
The foods we’re going to talk about in this lesson have either been shown to improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS or worsen symptoms of IBS.
What is IBS?
IBS is a functional bowel disorder characterized by intermittent and chronic abdominal pain associated with changes in bowel habits.
So there’s pain that is associated with changes in bowel habits, whether that be constipation and or diarrhea.
We see abdominal pain with defecation with the bowel movement itself and we also see a change in stool frequency, so either increased frequency or decreased frequency and or changes in the consistency of the stool so either constipation or diarrhea.
And then there are some other associated symptoms as well like, tenesmus, bloating.
Certain dietary sections can improve or exacerbate symptoms of IBS. So let’s discuss those.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Foods to Avoid
1. High Fiber.
What’s been found is that increased fiber consumption has been demonstrated to reduce and improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Now the caveat here is that high fiber improves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome that is associated with constipation, that is, constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome.
So the goal here is at least 30 grams of fiber per day, and this has been shown to actually help improve symptoms of irritable, bowel syndrome, especially the constipation type.
Some foods, where we can get a lot of fiber include nuts particularly, almonds, beans, lentils, peas, whole grain foods, vegetables like broccoli, fruits, bran, and psyllium.
Irritable bowel syndrome may also be improved with a lactose-free diet, so it may be best to avoid dairy products or choose lactose-free options, and this is particularly beneficial with those with lactose intolerance.
So there are some cases where an individual may have some mild lactose intolerance so may be best to try to reduce or avoid dairy products or again choose lactose-free options.
Read more, Foods to avoid in GERD – Foods not to Eat with Acid Reflux (GERD – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
2. Choosing a low FODMAP diet,
Here, FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo Dye and Monosaccharides and Polyols, so try to reduce these fermentable oligo dye and monosaccharides and polyols, and we can find these in different types of fruits and vegetables.
Like garlic, onions, wheat, rye, lactose, high fructose, corn syrup mangoes, and blackberries.
So, it’s good to try to avoid these types of foods.
3. Caffeine – Irritable Bowel Syndrome Foods to Avoid
It’s best to avoid caffeine if you have irritable bowel syndrome because caffeine stimulates gut motility, so it increases the motility of your gastrointestinal system, so it increases gastrointestinal activity.
This can particularly exacerbate or worsen diarrhea.
So if you have irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea type, this can worsen that or worsen symptoms.
There has been a study performed showing that six weeks of a gluten-free diet leads to a significant improvement in IBS symptoms.
So where can we get Gluten?
Gluten comes from BROW foods. Here BROW standing for Barley, Rye, some Oats, and Wheat.
We can also get it in foods that contain these types of products, as beer, cereals, baked goods, pasta, dressings, and gravies.
5. low-fat diets – Irritable Bowel Syndrome Foods to Avoid
It’s also been found that low-fat diets improve symptoms of irritable, bowel syndrome as well, so a high-fat diet is associated with worsening of IBS symptoms, and reducing fat intake may actually help reduce IBS symptoms.
So the goal here is less than 27 grams of fat per day.
Read more, Foods To Avoid | Foods You Should Avoid After 40
6. Dietary sorbitol and mannitol food
It has been found that avoiding sorbitol and mannitol can improve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms,
Sorbitol and mannitol are both polyols. So we talked about FODMAPS again and the p in fodmaps is polyols, So sorbitol, mannitol polyols, have been associated with an increased exacerbation of IBS symptoms,
So, it’s best to reduce the consumption of sorbitol and mannitol (Irritable Bowel Syndrome Foods to Avoid)
Where can we actually get these polyols?
The first one here is sugar-free gum. In sugar-free gum, they often use sorbitol as a sweetener for the gum.
So if you’re chewing a lot of sugar-free gum, this can lead to diarrhea, so increased IBS symptoms.
We also see sorbitol mannitol being present in asparagus, peaches, and apples, and apples, in particular, have a lot of sorbitol as well.
7. Consumption of spicy foods
Avoiding spicy foods improves IBS, so spicy food consumption is associated with an increased prevalence and symptoms of IBS.
It is found that particularly eating spicy foods greater than 10 times per week increases symptoms of IBS.
So, even though it seems that you need to consume a lot of spicy foods, it may be best to just avoid spicy foods, in general, to see if that improves your symptoms of IBS.
8. Avoid carbonated drinks.
Carbonated beverages may lead to increased gas bloating which worsens symptoms of IBS.
We talked about some of those associated symptoms like bloating. This can lead to worsening bloating and worsening gas that is associated with IBS,
Examples of carbonate beverages include soda, club soda, and other carbonated beverages like some alcohols, some other cocktails, and then it’s, also important to avoid alcohol consumption as well (Irritable Bowel Syndrome Foods to Avoid)
Drinking alcoholic beverages, especially binge drinking, drinking a lot in one episode or one sitting, is associated with the next day worsening of IBS symptoms, particularly diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.