Irritable bowel syndrome: the 6 foods you should avoid at all costs

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system. It presents with severe pain in the belly, bloating, excess gas, diarrhea and constipation, depending on the intensity the episodes can last for hours, days or weeks. According to medical experts, it is a condition that we live with and that is actively related to lifestyle, quality of diet, and stress management; there are also medications that benefit the symptoms. It has recently been shown that seat a diet low in FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols), promotes better symptom control and prevents flare-ups. Based on this, we undertook the task of investigating the 10 foods that are essential to omit in the daily diet of people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.

In the last few months various nutrition trends talk about the benefits of following a low-FODMAP dietThese refer to fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. Which refers in scientific terms to the types of short-chain carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fiber, which are found in a variety of foods that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and tend to ferment in the colon. For obvious reasons they cause irritation in the small intestine, bloating, flatulence and stomach pain.

Although, many people with IBS bet on following a diet low in FODMAP, and they are based on eliminating this type of food. It is also important to mention that not everyone chooses to manage irritable bowel syndrome in this way, since many of these foods are nutritious and provide health benefits. Nevertheless, triggers are worth being clear about and create a scheme that invites us to have better control.

1. Simple sugars

By now we all know about devastating effects of a diet rich in processed foods, made with simple sugars. This type of food is called fermentable oligosaccharides and they are found in a wide variety of everyday consumer products such as sweetened beverages, soft drinks, industrial pastries, sweets, soups, dressings and commercial sauces. They are also found in healthy everyday foods such as those derived from wheat, garlic, onion and beans. What happens when ingesting oligosaccharides is that instead of the body breaking them down with enzymes, they travel to the large intestine and are fermented by intestinal bacteria. It should be mentioned that it is a normal process and in people who do not suffer from IBS it does not cause major alteration. However, in people with this condition: Gas produced by the large intestine as a byproduct of fermentation can cause excessive flatulence and pain.

Onions. / Photo: Pixabay

2. Foods rich in lactose

Lactose, found in dairy products, is the most common example of a disaccharide. Lactose is made up of glucose and galactose moleculesIt is well known that many people with IBS experience symptoms of lactose intolerance. Therefore, when eating dairy, they usually present symptoms such as bloating, cramps, and diarrhea. In cases where lactose is a trigger, it is worth being very careful with the consumption of milk, cheeses, yogurt and derivatives, or enjoy them in very controlled portions. Also fortunately today there are many vegan alternatives to dairy, which are versatile and delicious.

Cheeseboard. / Photo: Pixabay

3. Foods very rich in fiber

Dietary fiber adds bulk to the diet and generally helps keep the gut healthy. The main foods high in fiber are: whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Also, it is worth mentioning that there are two types of fiber found in these types of foods: insoluble and soluble; it is very important to choose those that are rich in soluble fiber. In fact, The American College of Gastroenterology recommends taking soluble fiber supplements, like psyllium, as an inexpensive and effective treatment for IBS. It is important to note that fiber tolerance is different in each person, however it has been proven that foods rich in soluble fiber can worsen symptoms in some people, while in some cases there are no problems. This type of information confirms the theory about the importance of create personalized nutrition strategies and invite patients to discover the type of fiber that suits them.

black beans
Beans-Fiber. / Photo: Shutterstock

4. Foods rich in gluten

Gluten is a group of proteins found in cerealsincluding rye, wheat, and barley, which can cause problems in people with irritable bowel syndrome. Experts have determined that some people’s bodies have a severe immune reaction to gluten, known as celiac disease. There are also milder forms, such as the famous gluten intolerance. The truth is that these conditions often share symptoms with IBS, as is the predominant case of diarrhea. Among the main consequences it is known that celiac disease affects intestinal cells and results in poor absorption of nutrients. In fact, research suggests that a gluten-free diet can improve IBS symptoms in about half of the people studied. That is why one of the main dietary recommendations is to avoid gluten, in order to see if symptoms improve. Therefore it will be important to avoid: pasta, cakes, cookies, pizza, rice and everything processed that contains gluten or to bet on the gluten-free versions.

Donuts / Photo: Pixabay

5. Fried foods

French fries and other fried foods are common in the typical western diet, abound in the proposals of prepared and fast meals. However, eating too much can cause various health problems. Specifically, its high fat content can be especially hard on the system of people with IBS. Frying food is a process that can actually change the chemical composition of food, making it more difficult to digest, leading to uncomfortable digestive symptoms. Bet on the consumption of natural foods, made at home and try to bet on techniques such as roasting, grilling, steaming and baking.

Potato chips
French fries./Photo: Pexels

6. Caffeinated drinks

For years we have relied on morning coffee to help with digestive regularity and of course, fill us with energy. However, not all caffeinated beverages are created equal, and there are some that may have a stimulating effect on the intestines that can cause diarrhea. Coffee, sodas, and energy drinks that contain caffeine can be active triggers that people with IBS are unaware of. The best recommendation in case you need an energy boost or a stimulus, is to drink teas, natural infusions or a light snack.

Coffee. / Photo: Unsplash

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