Dietary Recommendations for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the GI tract. Typical symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, irregular stool pattern and frequency, and abdominal pain. No specific diet has been shown to correct IBS, although some changes in diet may help reduce the severity and frequency of IBS flares.

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Things to consider

  • Lower the amount of red meat in your diet
  • Eat less fat, in particular saturated fat and trans fat
  • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet
  • Increase your fiber intake, especially if your IBS is causing constipation. Even if you have diarrhea from your IBS, fiber can sometimes be helpful.
  • Eat slowly- consider eating smaller, more frequent meals
  • Take a multivitamin daily
  • Consider taking a probiotic pill daily
  • Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol and tobacco
  • Keep a Food Diary- Write down what you’ve eaten when you are experiencing symptoms of IBS. Try eliminating foods that you consistently associate with your symptoms. In particular, try avoiding lactose in case you are lactose intolerant. Also try to eliminate gluten in case you are gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease.
  • Consider a 6-Food Elimination Diet- for 1-2 weeks try eliminating nuts, dairy, soy, gluten, fish, and eggs. Every couple days, try eliminating one of these foods to see if you may be intolerant to one of them.
  • If you have IBS and you suffer from gas/bloating, a Low FODMAP diet can be helpful.
  • Engage in regular exercise which may help reduce symptoms of IBS

These dietary recommendations are specifically meant for the condition which it treats.
Learn more about this condition.