IBS – Foods to avoid

IBS patients should be mindful of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome foods to avoid. Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS does not have any cure and the treatment employed is primarily aimed at managing the unpleasant and embarrassing symptoms of the condition. Knowing which kinds of foods aggravate the condition and making the necessary dietary changes is chief in minimizing the effects of IBS.

Those affected by the condition should always remember that there is no quick and fixed rule in treating IBS since the disorder can be triggered by several factors other than food. However, learning about Irritable Bowel Syndrome foods to avoid significantly helps in living with the condition.

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What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

It is important for anyone suffering from IBS to first understand why and what happens to the body when afflicted by the syndrome because IBS is different in every patient and a lot of factors can trigger its occurrence. IBS refers to spastic or raging colon that causes recurrent and alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhea, including abdominal pain. It is one of the most common digestive disorders affecting around 55 million individuals in the U.S. It must be noted that IBS is different from inflammatory bowel disease. It may be for life but it is not life-threatening.

To fully benefit from learning about Irritable Bowel Syndrome foods to avoid, it would be best to first understand what happens during digestion. During normal digestion, the muscles in the large intestine work harmoniously as they try to move the undigested food out from the body. However, this harmonious action of muscles gets interrupted in IBS causing slower or faster digestion. This interruption causes the associated symptoms to surface such as constipation, diarrhea, gas and abdominal cramps.

There are several theories regarding the cause of IBS and some of these are:

  • Disruption of brain-gut signals
  • Bacterial infection
  • Psychological factors
  • Irregular muscle contractions
  • Sensitive nerves

What does learning about Irritable Bowel Syndrome foods to avoid involve?

Learning about Irritable Bowel Syndrome foods to avoid does not necessarily mean completely avoiding foods that trigger IBS. Some of these foods may be totally eliminated from one’s diet but others can be taken in moderation. In fact, learning about foods that set off IBS is the start of eating healthily to aid in minimizing or eliminating some of the unpleasant symptoms of the disorder.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – foods to avoid

The number one food to do without is fat. Fat disrupts the normal gastrocolic reflex during digestion thus resulting in violent and irregular muscle spasms in the colon. High fat foods worsen diarrhea and constipation in people with IBS. These foods include:

  • Fried foods like french fries, fried chicken and any deep-fried foods
  • Salad dressings, mayonnaise, margarine, shortening and tartar sauce
  • Nuts, butter, pastries, doughnuts, scones and biscuits
  • Coconut milk, cool whip and shredded coconut
  • Nachos, potato and corn chips
  • Commercial dried bananas, solid chocolate and pie crust

Other triggering foods that must be avoided by IBS patients are:

  • Dairy products

Dairy products are powerful triggers of IBS, even the lactose-free varieties. These include butter, cream cheese, cream, sour cream, whipped cream, ice cream, milk, skimmed dairy products and yogurt.

  • Red meat

Under the category of red meats include hot dogs, corned and ground beef, pork chops, hamburgers, roast beef, steaks, salami, pepperoni, pastrami, sausage and ham.

  • Poultry and egg yolks

Dark poultry skin and meat and egg yolk may prompt IBS too. The organic varieties of these foods are recommended.

  • Gastrointestinal tract irritants

These foods and drinks, which are known to irritate the GI tract, include coffee, caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Artificial sweeteners, fats and monosodium glutamate or MSG can also irritate the GI tract and cause the appearance of IBS symptoms.

How do IBS patients benefit from avoiding IBS-triggering foods?

Patients will greatly benefit from learning the Irritable Bowel Syndrome foods to avoid. They will certainly find relief from the uncomfortable symptoms of IBS which may keep them from living life to the fullest. Avoiding these foods not only helps in managing the IBS symptoms, but allows for a much healthier life. Keeping away from foods that cause IBS means reducing or eliminating some unhealthy foods from one’s diet as well as practicing proper eating habits. It should be noted that a lot of factors can trigger IBS like stress and anxiety. However, dietary changes make a huge difference in alleviating the symptoms. It is for this reason that the first line of IBS treatment is the change in diet.

How can patients avoid IBS-triggering foods effectively?

The severity and type of IBS symptoms differ from patient to patient. To fully benefit from learning about Irritable Bowel Syndrome foods to avoid, the following can help.

  • Make a food diary

A food diary can help the patient track down the foods that cause the IBS symptoms to occur. This greatly helps in identifying unknown IBS foods to come up with a healthier and more effective IBS treatment.

  • Read the label

Reading food labels will help the sufferer avoid the triggering foods.

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