Diet and Nutrition

Foods to Avoid When Suffering From IBS

Foods to Avoid When Suffering From IBS

IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common functional disorder of the gut. A functional disorder means that there is a problem with the function of a body part but not its structure. IBS affects the large intestines. It causes cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. IBS is a chronic condition that you will have to manage long term.

Generally, a healthy diet entails eating a wide variety of nutritious and low-fat foods. However, you may experience an influx of symptoms if you’re suffering from IBS. Since symptoms vary from one patient to another, there are no specific off-limit foods. However, the following are some of the common culprits you should avoid.

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Common Trigger Foods

Insoluble Fiber

Fiber can add a healthy bulk to your diet. It can be obtained from whole grains, green vegetables, and fresh fruits. However this fiber can aggravate diarrhea; and if you don’t want to increase your trips to the toilet, then you can avoid fiber altogether.

Instead, it’s advisable to focus on soluble fiber. Remember, insoluble fiber can relieve constipation but, at the same time, it can make you feel bloated.


While the unfathomable fiber content available in whole grains could be a great offender in IBS symptoms, other grains can also cause severe gastrointestinal problems. Products like barley, rye, and wheat contain gluten - a protein type that could rigorously hurt intestines and worsen your IBS symptoms. Again, many IBS victims are gluten-intolerant. This implies that they could end up developing celiac disease which results from excessive hypersensitivity to gluten.

Fortunately, numerous gluten-free products are readily available in today’s market. If it’s impossible for you to do without cakes, pizza, cookies or pasta, you can comfortably supplement them with other gluten-free ingredients.

High Fat Milk

Milk contains high-fat content. This fat usually causes diarrhea. In addition, a good number of IBS sufferers are intolerant to lactose. This means that their bodies will resist digesting lactose in milk. Therefore, if you still want to drink milk, you might consider switching to soya milk, cheese, or low-fat/non-fat milk.

Ensure that you consult your doctor on how to incorporate calcium supplements in case you decide to completely do away with milk.

Fried Foods

Most people love fried food. They love foods that are appetizing and can be cooked quickly. One of the best examples of such food are french fries. But if you’re suffering from IBS, fried food should not be in your diet. However, if you cannot do away with them, moderation is important. If you don’t, the fat content can negatively impact your digestive system.

So if you’re a big fan of these types of food, it's best to have them grilled or baked instead.


Generally, beans are known for protein and fiber. However, they can give you a hard time if your stomach is sensitive .Therefore, if you’re suffering from IBS, beans are a no-no.


Most people love coffee. It makes them feel good, especially in the morning. However, coffee is a stimulant that can negatively impact your intestines. This can lead to intensive diarrhea. Therefore, if you have IBS, keep off from coffee. You should also avoid other beverages containing caffeine.


As said earlier, consumption of soluble fiber is a must. However, there are exceptions to every case. There are certain fibrous foods that cause gas - broccoli, onion, and garlic are a few of them. Some of these foods can cause severe attacks and uncomfortable gas. The idea beneath eating fibrous food is that it reduces constipation, softening and bulking stool to make it easier to pass. However, you can still have broccoli by cooking it or steaming it.


Cabbage not only triggers gas but also causes inflammation and  gas pains. The best thing is to eliminate it from your diet.


Both green and red peppers can be tough to digest for those with IBS. You may experience the same symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, discomfort in the lower abdomen, alternating hard and loose bowel movements, whenever you consume green and red pepper.


Corn is high in fiber, but it is also high in sugar. By eliminating this in your diet, it reduces bloating of the stomach.

Foods that can induce IBS-related constipation:

Processed food such as chips and cookies. They contain high levels of preservatives. In addition, fried food is more difficult to digest. 

Coffee, alcohol, and any other carbonated drinks are a strict no-no. The gas in these drinks triggers constipation.

High protein diets can also cause harm.

Bread and cereals made from refined grain should be avoided.

Dairy products, especially cheese.

Preferred diet to prevent constipation.

Increase your fiber intake day by day, around 2-3 grams per day, until you’re eating 25 grams (for women) or 38 grams (for men) per day.

Drink plenty of water daily. This keeps your system clean.

Eat moderate amount of foods that are high in the sugar substitute sorbitol.

Foods that trigger IBS-related diarrhea:

Too much of fiber, especially insoluble fiber.

Carbonated drinks

Large meals-to-go

Fried and fatty foods

Foods with wheat for people who are allergic or have an adverse reaction to gluten.

Diary products, especially in people who can’t digest the milk sugar lactose - a condition called lactose intolerance.

Better diet options to prevent diarrhea:

Eat smaller portions in regular intervals. It makes the digestion process easier.

Don’t eat foods at opposite temperatures, such as cold water and steaming hot soup in the same meal.

Drink water an hour before or after meals, ideally not while you eat.

Talk to your doctor or dietician if you think you have wheat allergy.

Eating tips for people living with IBS

IBS symptoms are not identical. They differ from one person to another. Thus it is essential to use the elimination approach in singling out the foods that affect you the most. If you've established that they're triggers for your IBS symptoms, try eliminating them from your diet for at least 3 months. In addition, you can alleviate IBS symptoms by taking regular daily breakfasts instead of taking large meals on the go.