By November 2, 2009 0 Comments Read More →

Foods to Avoid with IBS

If you are thinking about which foods to avoid with IBS then there is no hard and fast rule. Every person with  irritable bowel syndrome is different and one food that is fine for one sufferer can be terrible for another. The only way to be sure about your own IBS is to test each food separately. First you eliminate the food completely from your diet and then reintroduce it again noting down any symptoms you experience. I believe the proper way to do this is by visiting a dietitian and following an elimination diet. I have done this myself and although it took just over a year to complete it has been well worth it. I now know exactly which foods to avoid altogether, which ones I can have in limited amounts and the foods that I can eat as much as I like!

However, there are certain foods that are known to aggrevate IBS symptoms in the majority of patients and so lets look at these.

Typical Foods to Avoid with IBS

Cows Milk Products

Many people have lactose intolerance whether or not they have IBS. If you think this may be the case for you then it is worth trying bio yogurts because the live bacterial cultures in them actually break down the lactose. If you love cheese then you may be interested to know that the harder the cheese the less lactose there is so you may be OK eating small amounts of it.

Dairy products also contain two proteins – casein and whey and they are know to be hard to digest so could potentially be a problem. If you think cows milk is causing you discomfort then start using soya or rice milk for a few weeks and see if your symptoms improve. Some IBS sufferers find that skimmed milk is fine whereas full fat milk is no good. Personally I can have cows milk and cheese in limited amounts only, too much and I experience bloating and diarrhea. However I can have as much bio yogurt as I like which is great as the live cultures aid digestion.

Insoluble Fibre

Sometimes doctors recommend eating lots of fibre if you have IBS. Well there are two types – soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre is good for lowering your cholesterol levels and also helps to control blood sugar because it increases the time it takes for your stomach to empty and so sugar gets released and therefore absorbed more slowly.
Insoluble fibre adds bulk to your food and helps it to move around your intestines by making it softer. It is an intestinal stimulant and therefore can cause problems if you have a irritable bowel. However, it is an extremely healthy food (helps prevent bowel cancer) so you must include it in your diet just don’t overdo it! If your IBS is playing up then go easy on insoluble fibre.

Other Potential Foods to Avoid with IBS

Caffeine is a stimulant and so can speed up intestinal contractions which is bad news if you suffer with diarrhea prone IBS. I find that decaffeinated coffee is fine but real ground coffee is really bad.

Alcohol is an irritant and some people find it makes their symptoms worse. However it is worth bearing in mind that most wines contain sulphites which tend to produce gas and bloating so you might find that certain alcoholic drinks are fine.

Foods containing a high proportion of fat can aggravate irritable bowel syndrome because fat stimulates gut contractions.

Sulphur containing foods tend to produce wind in most people so if you suffer a lot with bloating and gas then cut back on peppers, eggs and cabbage!

Fructose sugar gets aborbed quite slowly anyway but some people absorb it even slower and this can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea. There was a study in 2005 that suggested as many as 30-60% of IBS patients had fructose intolerance and avoiding foods with fructose stopped symptoms.

It can get quite complicated trying to find foods to avoid with IBS and you can never be 100% sure until you test out foods yourself. To get started begin to write down everthing you eat and any symptoms you experience and see if you notice any patterns.


Posted in: IBS Diet, IBS Treatment

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