Migraine Quiz

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Diet Remedies

While many IBS patients know that there are certain trigger foods that bring on their symptoms, there has never been a specific IBS diet. However, recent research suggests that there may be foods to avoid that can decrease your symptoms. Certain complex sugars can be the culprit in IBS.

What About Hot Chocolate and IBS?

Well, you can have the chocolate. However, dairy products may be an issue. In a lecture titled Food Choice as a Key Management Strategy for Functional Gastrointestinal Symptoms, Dr. Peter Gibson discussed his findings in the American Journal of Gastroenterology lecture. Dr. Gibson's results indicate that following what is called the FODMAP diet can reduce symptoms within two days for some IBS sufferers.

FODMAP is short for "fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols." It's less important to remember these long chemical names than it is to know what foods they are in.

Oligosaccharides  

  • wheat
  • rye
  • onions
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • scallions
  • shallots
  • artichokes

Galacto-oligosaccharides

  • beans
  • chick peas
  • lentils  

Disaccharides

  • milk products (except for hard cheese)   

Monosaccharides

  • excess fructose
  • fruits that contain more fructose than glucose
  • honey
  • apples
  • pears
  • mangoes
  • high frutose corn syrup
  • agave nectar

Polyols

  • sugar alcoholc
  • sorbitol
  • mannitol
  • maltilol
  • xylitol
  • stone fruits: cherries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums/prunes
  • watermelon
  • apples
  • pears
  • mushrooms
  • cauliflower
  • snow peas

For those of you who are trying to lose weight, or are diabetic, you should know that sorbitol and xylitol are used as sweeteners in low-calorie sweets.

So what to do about the diet? It is recommended that you avoid all these foods for six to eight weeks, and then add back one food at a time to see if it causes you problems. Learn to read labels, because some of these complex sugars are contained in processed foods.

Small studies have shown that following this diet can significantly reduce symptoms in up to 75% of those who follow the diet.

Resources to read more:  The FODMAP Diet

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