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The Top IBS Trigger Foods: What to Avoid for Better Gut Health

Mar 22, 2024
The Top IBS Trigger Foods: What to Avoid for Better Gut Health

Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be challenging, especially when it comes to managing symptoms triggered by certain IBS trigger foods. If you're one of the millions dealing with IBS, you know firsthand the discomfort and frustration it can bring. But fear not, understanding which foods to avoid can significantly improve your gut health and overall well-being.

What Are the Worst Foods for IBS?

  • High-FODMAP Foods: FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. They can ferment in the gut, leading to gas, bloating, and other digestive issues. Common high-FODMAP foods include onions, garlic, wheat, certain fruits like apples and cherries, and some dairy products.
  • Cruciferous Vegetables: While vegetables are generally considered healthy, some, like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, contain compounds that can cause gas and bloating in individuals with sensitive digestive systems.
  • Carbonated Beverages: Fizzy drinks may seem refreshing, but the bubbles can trap gas in your digestive system, leading to discomfort and bloating.
  • Spicy Foods: Spices like chili peppers and hot sauces can irritate the digestive tract and trigger symptoms in those with IBS.
  • High-Fat Foods: Foods high in fat, such as fried foods, fatty meats, and creamy sauces, can slow down digestion and exacerbate symptoms like diarrhea and cramping.

IBS Trigger Foods to Avoid

Identifying and avoiding trigger foods is key to managing IBS symptoms. While the list of potential triggers can vary from person to person, keeping track of your diet and symptoms can help pinpoint specific foods that worsen your condition.

Tips for Better Gut Health

  • Follow a Low-FODMAP Diet: Consider trying a low-FODMAP diet under the guidance of a registered dietitian certified in IBS management using low FODMAP diet. This approach involves eliminating high-FODMAP foods for a period of time and gradually reintroducing them to identify individual triggers.
  • Experiment with Elimination: If you suspect certain foods are triggering your symptoms, try eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks and see if your symptoms improve. Note: It is important to experiment with elimination carefully because eliminating too many different food groups could lead to nutrient deficiencies that will lead to worsening IBS symptoms and also affect overall health. It should also be better done with a registered dietitian certified in IBS management
  • Eat Small, Frequent Meals: Instead of large meals, opt for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day to ease the burden on your digestive system.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help maintain regular bowel movements and prevent dehydration, a common concern for those with IBS.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can exacerbate IBS symptoms, so finding ways to manage stress, such as mindfulness, meditation, or exercise, can be beneficial for your gut health.

While living with IBS can present its challenges, understanding your triggers and making dietary modifications can go a long way in managing symptoms and improving your quality of life. By avoiding the top IBS trigger foods and adopting healthy eating habits, you can take control of your gut health and enjoy a happier, more comfortable life.


This article was authored by Kristina Zalnieraite, Licensed Dietitian and Head of Dietetics and Medical Affairs @ Do you need support with a symptom, condition or gut health goal? You can book a free online consultation with Kristina here.

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