Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diet

An irritable bowel syndrome diet may be one of the best ways to decrease or even eliminate medications for irritable bowel syndrome. IBS diets can be very specific.

Many times when a person is diagnosed with IBS, the doctor, although well meaning, does not take the time to discuss diet. The correct Irritable Bowel Syndrome diet makes a big difference for almost everyone with IBS. For many, the IBS diet makes the difference between living a normal, happy, outgoing life versus spending every single day stuck in the bathroom enduring blinding pain, diarrhea or constipation.

I would assume you already know from personal experience that some foods nearly always cause IBS symptoms, while others never seem to bother you. You've also probably noticed that sometimes a specific food will trigger an Irritable Bowel Syndrome attack, then at a different time you can eat the exact same thing without difficulty. It could actually drive you crazy trying to figure out what foods to eat!

Irritable bowel syndrome diet guidelines do exist for how to eat safely with this condition, and they are based on well-established effects certain food types have on the GI tract. The key words are food types – most people with IBS drive themselves nuts trying to find that one specific food that is triggering their symptoms.

irritable bowel syndrome diet

Here is the main problem: ANY food that is high in fat, insoluble fiber, caffeine, coffee (even decaf), carbonation, or alcohol. Why? All of these foods are GI irritants which result in an almost immediate gastriccolonic reflex and spasms of the colon.

Known IBS Trigger Foods

The most difficult foods for the body to digest are fats and certain animal products. As a result, they are the most powerful IBS triggers - for BOTH constipation and diarrhea - and you must strictly limit or, preferably, eliminate most of these foods from your diet altogether. Will this require an enormous change in the way you eat? Probably. But it is a change for the better. Fat will trigger gastricolonic reflex more powerfully than any other category of food.
  • Red meat and any processed fatty meats including pork
  • Poultry dark meat and skin (skinless white meat and seafood OK)
  • Dairy products (cheese, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, cream, half-and half, ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt, frozen yogurt)
  • Egg yolks (whites are fine)
The following high fat foods are also problematic:
  • French fries and all fried foods
  • Shortening, margarine, all oils and mayonnaise
  • Olives, nuts and nut butters
  • Croissants, pastries, biscuits, scones, and doughnuts
  • Insoluble fiber (raw vegetables for example)
As an aside here, while it's crucial to maintain a low fat diet in order to manage IBS, it is also very important that you do not go fat free. Keep your fat intake to 20% - 25% of your total calories, and make your fats count. They should be monounsaturated and contain essential fatty acids, so choose fat sources such as olive oil, canola oil, avocados, finely ground nuts, fatty fish, flax oil, etc.

Final thoughts: you can manage IBS naturally with the proper guidance and diet for irritable bowel symptoms. I have reviewed (and purchased myself) a comprehensive program written by a dietician for management of food sensitivities. An effective irritable bowel syndrome diet is one that includes a regimented diet to calm the system down, and a good support system in terms of family and friends.

Although IBS is associated with migraine, see if you have other different types of headaches.

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irritable bowel syndrome

Here is a great cookbook for IBS!
Eating for IBS: 175 Delicious, Nutritious, Low-Fat, Low-Residue Recipes to Stabilize the Touchiest Tummy

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