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Foods to Avoid with IBS

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foods-to-avoid-with-ibsThe Right Diet Can Make All the Difference in IBS, The Wrong Diet Can be Disaster

IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is an illness which can be debilitating if not addressed.  The absolute cause of IBS is still yet unknown but it is primarily considered a sensitive bowel which reacts to different triggers.  Just what the triggers are is dependent on the patient. Diet is considered one of the very largest contributors to bouts of IBS and so there are foods to avoid with IBS as well as foods to use with IBS.  What those foods are varies patient to patient.  One of the most frustrating realities of IBS is there is no "one size fits all" solution.  The patient needs to use trial and error to discover what the answer is for them.

The Key to Living with IBS

Of all the triggers that have been identified for IBS, diet and stress are the two which stand out.  Modifying diet and reducing stressors are usually the two keys that doctors (and dietitians) will recommend paying the most attention to for relief.  From a dietary perspective there are some accepted thoughts on foods to avoid for IBS.  These foods have been shown to have an immediate, negative reaction on most patients.

Foods You Should Never Eat or Drink with IBS

  1. Caffeine and IBS: Foods to avoid with IBS include anything with caffeine.  Caffeine not only dehydrates you, which is not good for anybody, but it also is an irritant.  Soda is also problematic, not only do most of them contain caffeine but again most have sweeteners that you should avoid if you have IBS.  In fact most sweet foods and sweeteners should be avoided.  This includes natural sweeteners and almost all artificial sweeteners.  Milk products are also foods to avoid for IBS.  There appears to be a loose connection between IBS and lactose intolerance.  One might not cause the other but they do tend to go hand in hand quite often.  Some insoluble fibers might actually have a negative impact on IBS and should be avoided.
  2. Fats and IBS: A good rule of thumb for foods to avoid for IBS would be anything too fatty.  Fatty foods are a killer for those with IBS.  To follow this school of thought through a bit more think about all the meats consumed.  Any meats with high fat content need to be avoided.  This would include dark poultry meats, most beef cuts, and just about all fried foods.  Oils, salad dressings, mayonnaise and any other oil based condiment should be avoided.  Non-baked chips, nuts and chocolate are also triggers.  Although this list may be daunting, diet must be maintained if an IBS episode is to be avoided.

Identify Other Factors

In addition, foods to avoid with IBS are dependent on the patients own digestion and ability to fully digest food without impacting or triggering any type of IBS episode.  In most IBS patients a doctor and a dietitian will be involved with the diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms.  Foods to avoid for IBSwill differ as a result of what is identified through a series of questions, a food diary and keeping close track of what has been eaten prior to the IBS episode.

Food to Embrace with IBS

Just as important as foods to avoid with IBS are the foods to use with IBS.  Some foods are soothing to the digestion and can actually calm occurring episodes.  One of the main weapons in the food arsenal for IBS is soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber is good because it absorbs liquid so it will absorb all the left over liquids in the colon.  Because it can do this, soluble fiber will help alleviate both constipation and diarrhea.  Since both are so troublesome with IBS, having this type of food in an IBS diet is a huge boost.
  1. Fiber Not Necessarily a Friend of IBS: Soluble fibers include some foods that most people consider starches but fall into the fiber category.  These foods include rice, pasta, oatmeal, potatoes, bananas, carrots and yams, to name just a few.  In fact many IBS suffers will not "wake up" their digestive tract with anything other than a soluble fiber food.   And instead of eating those foods to avoid with IBS, they form a diet around soothing soluble fiber rich foods that will be gentle on their system.
  2. Life Giving Water for IBS: While so many beverages are actually foods to avoid for IBS, one beverage that is a mainstay in an IBS diet is water.  Plenty of water.  Fresh water is essential in any diet and that includes for IBS.  Lastly, exercise and reducing stress are also key players in the fight to keep IBS at bay.
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