Abdominal cramps, bloating, and uncomfortable and embarrassing gas are just some of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS. Others may also experience constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of both. When certain foods trigger such symptoms, then it can be painful, make it hard for your clothes to fit, and can put a stop sign on your daily tasks. Therefore, here is a short list of foods to avoid to limit these triggers, so you can live with IBS without having it take over your life.
Any products made with wheat, barley, or rye are considered gluten-containing foods. Breads, pastas, and baked goods made from such ingredients should be avoided. However, you should also be careful to avoid foods that contain small amounts of these ingredients hidden in the label. Thickeners and additives that contain gluten may include soy sauce or malt vinegar, wheat gluten, or wheat starch are just a few of the hidden forms of gluten in supermarket products. Some products to watch out for include gravy, sauce, and marinade mixes, condiments, frozen foods such as potatoes, soups, and vegetarian meat alternatives.
When you are eating out, it may be harder to know if gluten is in some seemingly innocent foods you are eating. Some restaurants foods may be coated in a “crispy” or “golden” batter which usually contains wheat. Also, some restaurants may fluff their eggs with wheat-based batter. Therefore, be your own health advocate and ask about the ingredients in certain foods before ordering to be safe.
Pass on the Milk
Dairy products are another IBS trigger food. Milk as well as yogurt and certain cheeses made from cow’s milk may cause IBS symptoms. Plant-based milks made from soy protein, coconut, almond, and hemp are safer options, and yogurts made from such milks should be OK. Cheeses that are aged and sharp should be fine. Just watch out for cheeses such as cream cheese or ricotta cheese that may trigger IBS symptoms. When eating out, be sure to again, ask for ingredients in certain foods since some restaurants add milk or cream to eggs for flavor and consistency and some soups and sauces may be milk-based.
Skip the Fizz
Carbonated beverages may be refreshing but could also trigger IBS symptoms. The bubbles in the fizz cause a gas buildup in your intestines that can cause cramping and gas. Therefore, avoid any seltzer beverages, soda water, or any drink that claims to be sparkling. Also, colas should be avoided as much as possible too since not only do they contain fizz, but regular colas also may contain high fructose corn syrup, which is another IBS trigger.
Sugar-free foods and drinks
You may think your sugar-free foods and drinks are healthy for you since they contain little to no sugar. And they very well might be. However, for those with IBS, any sugar-free food or drinks that contain sugar alcohols, or any sugar ending in -ol, may have you running for the bathroom. Avoid any foods with sugars such as maltitol, xylitol, erythritol, or sorbitol. These sugar alcohols can lurk in a number of items such as sugar-free cookies or candy, chewing gum, yogurts, or ice creams. Therefore, read your ingredient label carefully before purchasing any sugar-free products.
Other foods to avoid
There is more where this list came from, but some other important foods to avoid in order to limit the occurrence of IBS symptoms include fried foods, high fructose fruits such as apples and watermelon, and any kind of beans, except for green beans. For a more comprehensive list of foods to avoid, check out Casa de Sante for tips and tricks or join one of their IBS-friendly meal plan programs.