Best and Worst Foods for IBS

Share

If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), knowing what to eat can feel like the holy grail. For some patients, the right diet, along with attention to exercise, can control symptoms without medication.

For my patients, I often recommend a special diet of easily digestible food, called a low-FODMAP diet, which is detailed in this chart.

FODMAP stands for “fermentable oligo-, di-, and monosaccharides and polyols” – a mouthful to say, but in more common terms, FODMAPs are carbohydrates that may not be digested or absorbed well.  Undigested carbohydrates are then metabolized by intestinal bacterial to produce excess gas, which leads to abdominal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation.

What foods to limit (and good substitutes)

Here’s a breakdown of what foods to *limit* when you’re following a low-FODMAP diet, as well as some suggested substitutes:

The best treatment for IBS

Sometimes IBS is treated with medications, but a change in diet is the first thing we try. A healthy lifestyle — with a low-fat diet, exercise and avoidance of alcohol and cigarette smoking — often makes a great difference. For people who still need help, special diets, such as a low-FODMAP diet, can provide relief.

The good news is that a low-FODMAP diet is not a terribly restrictive diet. When you study the FODMAP chart, you will find there are plenty of good foods you can eat.

Your doctor may find that medication is also necessary to keep your symptoms at bay.  These therapies include anticholinergic medicines, which calm the spasms, and antidepressants to reduce stress.

Share