Time Required: 10 minutes per meal
- Keep a food and symptom diary to help keep track of the foods you eat.
- Read labels. Before anything goes into your body, read the label. This includes over the counter medicines.
- Avoid alcohol. It may not be easy to skip the drinks when everyone else is having a glass of wine with dinner, but you'll feel better if you do.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes such as sorbitol and artificial fat such as olestra. Sorbitol is found in a surprising number of foods and over-the-counter-medications.
- Avoid coffee. I know -- you can't live without your coffee, but I bet once the caffeine withdrawals are over, your IBS symptoms will improve.
- Avoid dairy if you're lactose intolerant. If you think you are lactose intolerant, you probably are: most adults have some degree of lactose intolerance.
- Avoid red meat. This is another tough one, but many people with IBS find their symptoms are triggered by red meat.
- Avoid fried foods. This one is almost a no-brainer. Anything deep fried is not going to be good for you or your guts.
- Avoid large meals. Eating smaller meals more frequently, or "grazing" throughout the day may help symptoms. Many people find that IBS symptoms are worse after a heavy meal.
- Eat low fat. This is good advice for anyone, and especially for IBS. Fat is not absorbed well in the digestive tract, and can lead to diarrhea.
- If gas is a problem for you, avoid gassy foods such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, onions, brussels sprouts, and garlic.