IBS Diet Guide: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid to Feel Good – Medicine.com
If your doctor has diagnosed your sensitive stomach as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may find that what you eat and when you eat it makes a huge difference in how you feel (and how many trips you take to the bathroom).
Know this, however: There is no exact IBS diet. That’s because what works for you may not work for someone else with IBS. But there definitely are things you can do to minimize your symptoms.
When choosing what’s on your menu, start with this ground rule: Plan a well-balanced diet spread throughout the day. Aim for three meals and two to three snacks that are high in fiber and low in fat, the IBS Network suggests.
A balanced diet includes foods from the major food groups: meat and fish, fruit and vegetables, cereals, pasta and potatoes and dairy. That doesn’t mean eating all you want from each of these food groups. Watch your portion sizes.
Go for high-fiber options. Some people with IBS feel better when they increase the fiber content of their meals, the GI Society notes. However, don’t do it all at once. Go slow as you try to add fiber. Also, be sure you’re drinking lots of water to go with that fiber.
Get your protein. Good sources include meat, poultry and fish. Most people with IBS tolerate protein with no problem.
Foods to Avoid With IBS
Many people with IBS find they can’t tolerate heavily spiced foods, the GI Society says. Again, you need to experiment and see which spices sit well with you and which don’t.
Fried foods may be off limits. Many people with IBS find that fried foods trigger their symptoms, according to the GI Society. So, skip the fried chicken and onion rings. Safer options include foods that are grilled, broiled, baked or steamed with very little or no oils. Cooking spray may be a great substitute.
Dairy is also a concern for some with IBS, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Milk and other dairy products such as cheese and ice cream contain lactose, a sugar. You need an intestinal enzyme to break down this sugar.
About 70 percent of adults around the globe don’t produce enough of this enzyme to absorb this milk sugar in their small intestine. The undigested lactose passes to the colon where bacteria ferment it, which can cause bloating and gas. If you’re lactose intolerant and have IBS, you might want to skip dairy.
The one exception to ditching dairy products is yogurt. Many people with IBS find they can tolerate it.
Play Detective for Your Personal IBS Diet
It helps to do a little investigating. Keep a food journal where you record what you ate, when you ate it and any reaction you had, good or bad, the IBS Network suggests. (Allow any food that gives you a bad reaction at least three tries before deciding to avoid it.)
If you have trouble figuring out what to eat, ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian. RDs can be a big help, and your consult may be covered by your health insurance plan, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
If you’re ready to put a potential trigger back into your diet, consume only a very small portion. And never introduce more than one trigger food at a time so that you can identify which one is causing problems.
Here are some more guidelines to follow when making your daily food choices.
Cook it. If you cook your vegetables, you shouldn’t have any worries, the GI Society says. The one exception may be gas-causing veggies cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. You may find they cause too much painful gas, cooked or raw. Then again, you may not, and you may find that cooking them makes them tolerable.
Skip the skins. Some people have trouble with fruits that have skins (thick and thin) such as melons, oranges, grapefruits and apples. Again, see what your stomach can tolerate.
Order decaf. Caffeine can cause diarrhea, a symptom of IBS, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. So, skip it. Remember that caffeine is not only in coffee and tea but also chocolate, some sodas and some over-the-counter headache medicines.
Ban the bran. Bran may be the exception to the high-fiber rule. Some people find that bran aggravates their symptoms, the GI Society says. If you’re keeping a food journal, you will find out if you’re one of them.
Bust the bubbles. See the bubbles in the glass of seltzer? They can do to your GI tract what they do to your drink. They can cause you to feel gassy, so go for plain water. Same with soda. (Most soda has caffeine, too.)
Watch the seeds. Most people with IBS can tolerate bread, pasta, rice, crackers and bagels whether it’s rye, whole wheat, white or multigrain. It’s the seeds that may bother you, the GI Society says. Before ordering a sesame or everything bagel at the deli, experiment and find out if seeds will be a problem for you.
Skip the sauce. Heavily oiled and spicy sauces are another trigger food for many with IBS. If you want to have a food that’s saucy, get the sauce on the side so you can control your portion and eat less of it.
FODMAP Diet for IBS
Some people with IBS may benefit from what’s known as a low-FODMAP diet, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols.
” These are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in many foods that ferment rapidly once inside the gut. As a result, your body may not handle them well.
Examples: Oligosaccharides include wheat, rye, onion, garlic; monosaccharides include honey, apples, pears, mango; and polyols include stone fruits, sugar-free mints/gum, mushrooms and cauliflower, the GI Society says.
A low-FODMAP diet for IBS can be difficult to follow, the foundation notes. Here’s where your registered dietitian can help. An RD can explain which FODMAP foods you should reduce or eliminate for your diet and see if they relieve your symptoms.
Sit down with your RD after six to eight weeks and determine which foods you should continue to eliminate and which ones you may be able to gradually reintroduce. FODMAP does not mean completely eliminating all these foods from your diet, nor is it a lifetime diet, the foundation says.
You may find that a low-FODMAP diet helps when symptoms flare and that you can have some of these restricted foods when your stomach is calm.
any diet, the low-FODMAP plan is not a cure for IBS but a way to help manage symptoms over time.
Key Points: Best Way to Eat With IBS
There is no specific IBS diet that works for everyone. You should plan your meals so that you eat a well-balanced and healthy menu and skip the fried, spicy and saucy foods that are ly to cause you bathroom trips.
When you have IBS, you have to determine through experimentation what are the best and worst foods for you. If you keep track of what you eat and how it makes you feel, you will see patterns emerge and can decide what to eliminate and what to keep in your meal plans.
A low-FODMAP diet may be worth trying. Work with an RD if you’re going this route and re-evaluate your successes and failures after several weeks. When you reintroduce foods, go slow and add small amounts.
Remember, your diet won’t cure your IBS, but it can make your symptoms more tolerable.
16 foods to avoid with IBS: What trigger foods not to eat
- Trigger foods
- Foods to avoid
- Eating out
Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is a medical condition where a person experiences frequent abdominal symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, or both.
While doctors do not know what the exact cause of the condition is, they do know that it is a disorder that affects how the brain and gut interact.
When a person has IBS, they may notice that certain foods seem to trigger or worsen their condition.
Although these foods can be different for each person, doctors have identified some common “trigger” foods that tend to cause digestive symptoms over other ones.
If a person is hoping to control their IBS better, they may wish to eliminate some or all of these foods, then re-introduce them, one at a time, to identify which ones may be worsening their symptoms.
Share on PinterestDairy products, including milk, cheese, and cream, may trigger IBS symptoms, and should be avoided.
Many doctors recommend what is called a low FODMAP diet to avoid triggering IBS symptoms. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable, oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols.
These names represent different carbohydrates known to worsen IBS symptoms by causing gas, stomach pain, and make constipation worse too. If a person has IBS, they may wish to talk to their doctor or work with a dietitian to determine if a low-FODMAP diet could benefit them and improve their symptoms.
Listed below are 16 foods to avoid on a low-FODMAP diet:
- artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, maltitol, or xylitol
- baked beans
- carbonated drinks
- lactose in dairy products, such as milk, ice cream, sour cream, and cottage cheese
- pizza and other fried foods
These are examples of the most common foods known to cause stomach upset when a person has IBS. A person may wish to keep a food and symptom diary.
In a diary, they can write down all the foods they eat and if they have any symptoms after eating them. By looking back over several days of food journaling, a person may be able to identify trigger foods that made their symptoms worse.
Share on PinterestBlueberry and yogurt are potential food swaps that can provide essential nutrients.
Having IBS does not mean a person cannot eat vegetables or fruit. However, they can cook low-FODMAP foods and try to order these when they are out.
Examples of some swaps to make when a person has IBS can include:
- Choose low-FODMAP fruits, including bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, oranges, kiwis, and strawberries.
- Eat veggies, especially carrots, eggplant, green beans, spinach, squash, and sweet potatoes.
- Increase calcium intake by eating yogurt instead of other lactose-containing foods. The natural bacteria found in yogurt can help to break down the causes of IBS discomfort for some people.
- Use olive oil instead of butter when cooking. A person can typically replace about three-quarters of the butter in a recipe with olive oil. For example, if a recipe calls for one-half stick of butter (4 tablespoons), a person can use 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Replace cow’s milk with lactose-free options, such as rice, soy, almond, or oat milk.
- Limit or avoid artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, maltitol, and high fructose corn syrup as these may disrupt the intestinal microbiome and worsen IBS symptoms. Replace with maple syrup (without HFCS), or stevia, which is considered low-FODMAP.
While a person may not be able to eliminate all of a trigger food in a recipe, using the smallest amount possible may help to reduce symptoms.
Share on PinterestWhen eating in restaurants asking about food preperation processes and asking for specific menus is recommended.
Going to a restaurant can be a stressful experience for a person with IBS. They want to enjoy themselves and have a nice dinner or lunch but may be afraid of hidden triggers added to dishes.
In addition to reading the menu carefully to avoid ingredients known to worsen IBS symptoms, a person may have to ask several questions or request substitutions to have a more enjoyable experience.
Some tips for ordering in restaurants include:
- Asking for a lactose-free or gluten-free menu: Gluten-containing products can be a trigger for some people with IBS. By looking at a gluten-free menu only, a person is more ly to find foods they can safely eat.
- Asking about the “base” of soups: This determines if cream, which contains lactose, has been added. Ordering broth-based soups can help to cut back on discomfort.
- Asking what was used to prepare vegetables: Check the ingredients in a vegetable medley and avoid eating vegetables known to worsen IBS.
- Asking if there are ingredients added: This happens with hamburgers, which may include problem ingredients, such as breadcrumbs or onions, both of which can worsen IBS symptoms.
- Ordering grilled foods instead of fried foods: The reduced amount of fat from grilled to fried can help reduce stomach discomfort.
Some people may choose to bring salad dressing from home in a small travel container, to avoid potential sauce or salad dressing additives. For example, a gluten-free balsamic dressing can be delicious over grilled chicken or steak, as well as low-FODMAP veggies.
A person may also have to research a restaurant’s menu before going there. If there are little to no foods they could comfortably eat, they may need to suggest an alternate establishment that is more suitable.
According to an article in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of people in the industrialized world with a gastrointestinal disorder suffer from IBS. While diet is not the only triggering factor, it can play a role in a person’s symptoms.
By identifying food triggers and avoiding foods known to worsen IBS, a person can enjoy a night out without fear that they will have to run to the bathroom or experience stomach discomfort all night.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- GastroIntestinal / Gastroenterology
- Nutrition / Diet