5 More Foods to Avoid With IBS
Onions and Garlic
Onions can be a major trigger for IBSers. This may be because they are a type of “oligosaccharide,” the carbohydrate that puts the ‘O’ in FODMAP.
As onions are a short chain carb they may ferment at a quicker rate in the gut – and fermenting is not what you want! Leeks and shallots may also have a similar effect; in fact, you may find that any vegetable that is a member of the ‘allium’ family gives you symptoms, so that also includes chives and garlic.
Fried and Processed Food
Foods that are high in fat can irritate the digestive system by increasing intestinal contractions. Because of this, people with IBS should avoid fatty foods, such as fried or processed foods.
However, healthy fats, such as those found in fish and avocados, support digestive processes and general health.
It is easier to avoid eating overly fatty foods when consuming freshly-made meals instead of processed ones. This can also help you avoid other additives that might trigger your IBS symptoms.
A bit of an obvious one, this, as we all know that a spicy, hot curry can cause problems.
What you may not know is that there is evidence to suggest that IBS patients have an unusually high number of nerve fibers that react to substances like chili that contain capsaicin, the substance that causes pain, so it’s no wonder we can’t cope with hot foods.
Avoid chili, peppers, anything with cayenne powder or paprika, horseradish, mustard, cloves, and nutmeg.
Beans and Legumes
The carbohydrates in beans and legumes are not easily digestible. This leads to gas, which can often be painful for individuals with IBS. They can also cause bloating and cramps.
Most people know that beans can cause gas, but any legume or cabbage may have a similar effect, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Wheatgerm, raisins, and celery may also cause increased gas. Within the legume family, lentils and chickpeas may be safer to eat.
Steer clear of any food that contains artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and xylitol. If you read the label of a pack of sugar-free gum that contains sorbitol, you’ll often see a warning that over-consumption can cause diarrhea – and that’s in healthy people!
This is because the sorbitol (a type of sugar alcohol) is poorly digested, not well absorbed into the body and so stays in the gut attracting water. This means it works just like an ‘osmotic’ laxative such as milk of magnesia, giving you diarrhea.
Other sweetener names to look out for are aspartame and sucralose; be wary of any gum, candies, biscuits and even toothpaste that is labeled ‘sugar-free’ or ‘no added sugar’ – they may have added something far worse than sugar.
Fizzy drinks such as Coca-Cola are pumped full of carbon dioxide, one of the gases which make up flatulence, so needless to say it’s not a great idea to consume them if you’ve got gut problems.
Many sodas are also sweetened with high fructose corn syrup rather than regular sugar, and this can lead to cramps and spasms, with the sugar-free versions just as bad because of artificial sweeteners. Add in caffeine as well in many cases, and you get a recipe for disaster that is best avoided altogether.
One final point to make is that it’s no good conscientiously avoiding all of your IBS triggers if you then shovel a whole day’s worth of food into your poor stomach in one sitting.
The more food you eat in one go, the more likely you are to set off the gastrocolic reflex that naturally tells your body that it’s time to visit the bathroom. Small but regular meals are far kinder to an IBS bowel.
Consulting a Professional
Each person’s body will respond differently to dietary choices. You may be able to tolerate some of these foods but not others.
It may be helpful to consult with a doctor or nutritionist when choosing which foods you will cut out and which you will continue eating.
While it is important to eliminate irritants to your digestive system, you still want to make sure that you’re getting enough nutrients.
One way to prepare for a visit to your doctor or nutritionist is to track what you eat and your IBS symptoms using a food log over a period of a few weeks. Take your food log to your visit to give your doctor or nutritionist more information about your digestive issues.