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How To Avoid Irritable Bowel Syndrome Trigger Foods

Every Person With IBS Is Different, And Has Different Triggers


Updated July 09, 2014

There is no diet for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), because every person is different. However, there are some common triggers you can avoid.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 10 minutes per meal

Here's How:

  1. Keep a food and symptom diary to help keep track of the foods you eat.
  2. Read labels. Before anything goes into your body, read the label. This includes over the counter medicines.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Avoid red meat. This is another tough one, but many people with IBS find their symptoms are triggered by red meat.
  8. Avoid fried foods. This one is almost a no-brainer. Anything deep fried is not going to be good for you or your guts.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. If gas is a problem for you, avoid gassy foods such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, onions, brussels sprouts, and garlic.

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