Foods to Avoid If You have IBS - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on July 12, 2016

Foods to Avoid If You have IBS

Fried, fatty foods and carbonated drinks can serve as a trigger for IBS diarrhea.

Fried, fatty foods and carbonated drinks
can serve as a trigger for IBS diarrhea.

Everyone has digestive issues once in a while. However, having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is very different –this condition is characterized by belly pain, diarrhea or constipation that come back again and again. IBS’s symptoms can leave you worried about going out to eat, leaving the house or being anywhere a bathroom isn’t close by.

However, working to find out what triggers your IBS to flare up means you will be better able to keep the symptoms at bay by avoiding them. For many IBS-sufferers, one of the best ways to keep constipation, diarrhea, belly pain, and bloating to a minimum is by adjusting their diet and knowing which foods are triggers.

Here are some of the foods you should avoid if you have IBS.

Ease IBS Constipation

If one of your most common IBS-related symptoms is constipation, there are certain foods that can make it worse. These foods include:

  • Breads and cereals made with refined grains
  • High-protein diets
  • Processed foods, including cookies and chips
  • Coffee, carbonated drinks and alcohol
  • Dairy products, especially cheese

Instead of breads and cereals made with refined grains, choose whole grain varieties, which are fiber rich. In fact, to combat constipation, you should try to increase your fiber intake by two to three grams per day. For women, increase this intake until you reach 25 grams of fiber per day and, for men, increase to 38 grams per day. To increase your fiber intake, you can also incorporate beans, fruits, and vegetables into your diet.

Eating a moderate amount of foods that are high in the sugar substitute sorbitol, including dried plums and prune juice, can also help ease constipation. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of plain water every day can also help with constipation.

Prevent Diarrhea

Consuming too much fiber, especially the insoluble kind from the skin of fruits and vegetables can serve as an IBS diarrhea trigger. Food and drinks with caffeine, fructose, sorbitol, alcohol or chocolate can also trigger diarrhea. Similarly, avoid eating broccoli, onions, and cabbage – they tend to cause gas, which can make you feel worse.

If you struggle with IBS-related diarrhea, you should also try to avoid:

  • Eating large meals
  • Fried and fatty foods
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Dairy products

To further get IBS-related diarrhea under control, aim to eat a moderate amount of soluble fiber to add bulk to stools. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include oats, brown rice, barley, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, dried fruits and the flesh of fruit. You should also stop eating foods that are opposite temperatures, such as drinking ice water with a bowl of soup in the same meal. Additionally, eating smaller portions will be easier on your digestive system.

In addition to tweaking your diet, you can also work to keep IBS symptoms at a minimum by not smoking, regularly exercising, and managing stress and anxiety.

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