IBS Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

ibs-dietIBS (or Irritable Bowel Syndrome) is a disorder of the bowel that affects up to 1 in 5 American adults. There are several symptoms of IBS – bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. IBS is not a disease, and there is no cure. However dietary changes can alleviate symptoms.


New research has shown some very positive results in people with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

The diet involves cutting back on wheat, onions, milk, icecream, apples, honey and stone fruits. Legumes were also found to cause pain.

“Often they are sugars and carbohydrates that are not absorbed when they pass through the bowel and when they get into the colon they can ferment and produce gas and pain,”

3 out of 4 IBS sufferers find relief following a low FODMAP diet.

Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Determining the best diet for the IBS sufferer is a process of finding what works. However there are some general guidelines that may be useful.

Avoid Certain Foods

  • Alcohol, Soda, chocolate, coffee (and other caffeinated drinks) are common problem foods.
  • Foods high in saturated fat – such as butter, mayonnaise, cream, french fries, ice cream, red meats may also cause problems.

Monitor Your Dairy Intake
Some sufferers maybe Lactose intolerant, and should avoid milk. Yogurt (such as acidophilus) may still be used as the Lactose breaks down slightly differently. Again, it’s a process of trial and error. If you eliminate dairy completely – be sure to consume other sources of protein.

Drink Plenty of Water

Eat little and often
Aim for 4-5 meals daily with small portions. Don’t skip meals.

Experiment with High-Fiber Foods
Foods high in Fiber can help keep you more regular. Grains, Cereals, Beans, Fruit, and Vegetables all provide dietary fiber. Eat whole grain breads rather than white breads. Gradually introduce fiber – don’t change everything at once!

Look for Tasty bean recipes here.

Note: Recent research has indicated that many IBS sufferers may have food allergies and hypersensitivities. It way be worth trying an elimination diet to determine if this is the case. The research contradicts that which says IBS is a result of bowel inflammation.

See Also

The Maker’s Diet – A biblically-based diet by Jordan Rubin that has been effective in helping IBS symptoms.

Low Starch Diet – An alternate approach.

IBS Help Online – IBS Diets, Online Doctor Advice & Much More.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: January 14, 2014. Disclaimer


  1. Ruth

    I have been reading various books around what could help with IBS (I also have arthritis) and have put all the thinking together to create the right eating plan for me. This includes:

    1. The IBS Low Starch Diet (Carol Sinclair) which recommends a low starch diet – eliminating wheat / cereal products gave me a huge improvement.

    2. Type 3 allergy testing and removing those intolerances from my diet. Wheat did not show up in the blood test so it is not perfect since how your body digests foods (or fails to) can’t easily be tested for.

    3. The Inflammation-Free Diet (Monica Reinagel) which ranks the inflammatory effect of thousands of foods – IBS is an inflammation of the gut. From this I am able to balance inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods.

    4. The Body Talks (Judy Cole) which explains how food is digested and used throughout the body. Fantastic, clear book that also strongly recommends eliminating food intolerances and following a low starch diet as the only way to heal your body. This book really combines all the above thinking. From this I am able to understand various foods (protein, fat, carb and starch) so that I can combine them correctly and healthily.

  2. Den

    I have IBS for years now and its unbearable. I have swelling of the stomach looking as if im 9mth pregnant and full feeling and constipation. Im on Nexium 80mg everyday before i eat. Might get to eat one meal a day due to bloatness and yet im gaining more and more weight. Dont eat meat.Can anyone help or recommend something i could do? At this rate wont fit into my wedding dress for xmas.

  3. Manda

    I married a man with IBS. We have been together for more than a decade and meal preparation has been a “trial & error” learning experience for us both… sadly, he suffers more so than myself.
    My husband had diarrhea and constipation alternately, accompanied by a tremendous amount of cramping and bloating. He lost a job due to tardiness on the mornings of his “flare-ups”. We have seen every specialist in our metro area (very large city).
    There wasn’t a prescription available since he had both diarrhea and constipation… at least there wasn’t one available when we were looking for that option. He tested negative for Crohn’s Disease, UC, IBD, etc. His diagnosis has been IBS every time.
    We found that by eliminating sodas, chocolate, dairy, pork, eggs, mayo… even the vegan varieties, and preservatives that his “flare-ups” have almost disappeared. Granted it has taken us a decade of trial and error, but keeping a food journal helps tremendously.
    I have found fantastic substitutes for ice cream, cheese, sour cream, and cream cheese in the Tofutti line of products. We tried the “rice” cheese slices and other soy based “ice creams” and “cheeses”, but they weren’t as tasty. The Tofutti Vanilla Almond Bark “ice cream” is divine! I prefer it to regular ice cream. The Tofutti cheese slices actually melt and make a satisfying grilled “cheese” sandwich.
    We found that dairy products made from goat milk don’t cause any issues for him. I developed a recipe for lasagna using a goat cheese with herbs and mozzarella Tofutti slices that is wonderful. I detest goat cheese and ate two helpings!
    There is hope for folks suffering from these debilitating conditions, but it is a trial and error process. Once you find out the foods that trigger an “episode” you have to have the self-control to eliminate those foods and seek alternatives. There are a plethora of alternatives out there for your favorite foods, but you have to experiment.
    You also have to find a partner, friends or family members that are willing to aide you in your commitment to a lifestyle change. IBS and other such diseases affect the whole family, not just the sufferer. Our son has had to learn that “daddy can’t go to theme parks” and “daddy can’t go to concerts” because there may not be available bathroom facilities when he HAS to use one.
    It has been many months since my husband’s last flare-up. We have used diet to manage his symptoms. He used to have flare-ups at least 3 days a week. It has been a long, hard road and I wish you all the best of luck in overcoming these horrid conditions. It is my hope that someone out there is able to utilize information from our story to help control their own symptoms. :>)

  4. Natasha

    Thanks Ted I’ll check it out.

  5. lori

    I’v been diagnost IBS and have been in and out of the hospitals. My regular Dr. recommended medications to help but I feel they are not effective. He also gave a list of foods that I should not eat and I’ve been following his advice,however my IBS is still causing me a great deal of problems. What can I do, please help.

  6. Natasha

    I’m trying everything but nothing will help. Anyone else have this prob? I have severe C and have tried yoga, walking, elimination diet, mint fennel chamomile tea, miralax, amitza, magnesium pills, zelnorm, eating candied ginger, lots water.

  7. tiffani

    I have the same problem with u guys too.. But not diarrhea mostly constipation…
    I just start feeling bloated few weeks ago.. I don’t know if it is what I ate.
    I just went to doctor few days ago and he prescribed me motilium for bloats and frolax for constipation.
    I have been taking motilium and forlax for a 3days now, but I do not think it is helping.
    🙁 smbdy please help..


    i am bloated,every day, no matter if i eat or not, i still have discomfort, even if i eat foods that have no yeast! please, give me more advise…….


    I had my gallbladder out about 10 years ago! and from then I have always had bowel and digestive problems I feel that that’s what started it all, but back then IBS wasn’t known as it is now so my dr basically told me it will get better just give your body time to adjust to not having a gallbladder! so me trusting him as he is a dr just lived with it all until last year , then saw a specialist ! I truly believe that we do need our gallbladders to help filter good and bad in what we eat ! I have read a lot of people lately have been diagnosed with IBS have had their gallbladders removed ! cant DR’S or anyone prove that maybe this is what causes IBS put 2& 2 together and figure it out ! with all the modern technology these days you would think they would be able to do something !

  10. HAYLEE

    hi ! I have suffered from IBS for over a year now ! I have had to retire early because of it ! I had a colonoscopy and a endoscopy and it all came back negative! I have both diarrhea and constipation, bloating, gas and pain in my right side and lower back ! I have tried every thing and nothing works ! I have even moved from the city to the country to get away from stress ! I have no stress now but still have symptoms its still on and off! I also have gained weight from it all . I used to be thinner and active and now I cant leave the house have become a hermit ! IBS really does run your life no matter what you try to do . I understand what all of you are going through. one day I hope there is a cure let alone a treatment that actually works !