You can design your own unique IBS diet by keeping a food and symptoms diary. There are some common diets that include recommendations about what to avoid when it comes to food for IBS relief. But, these can only go so far. Some people are sensitive to wheat products while others are sensitive to dairy. And still others are sensitive to fructose and sugar substitutes. In order to keep restrictions to a minimum and still control symptoms, it typically works best to design an IBS diet, based on individual preferences and sensitivities.
Most doctors recommend that you include a variety of foods in an IBS diet. And, that what you eat is healthy and well-balanced. An IBS diet for those with constipation may differ from an IBS diet for those with constipation. In cases where both constipation and diarrhea are experienced at different times, a food and symptoms diary is particularly helpful. In the diary, you would note what symptoms you are experiencing and what foods you ate recently. Balance is the key to eating correctly for IBS relief when both constipation and diarrhea are experienced.
Fiber is an important part of any IBS diet. It is recommended that healthy adults consume 20-35 grams of fiber per day. A food and symptoms diary will also help you determine how much fiber you are consuming and supplement when necessary. An IBS diet for those with diary may not include as much fiber, but fiber should not be excluded completely. If you want IBS relief and you commonly have diarrhea, you may want to start with twenty grams of fiber per day, the low end of the scale, rather than a larger amount.
Doctors typically recommend that an IBS diet exclude caffeine, alcohol and sodas. These products can increase diarrhea, but they can also slow down the digestive system causing bloating and constipation. In addition, fructose may need to be excluded for IBS relief when diarrhea is present. Fructose is a simple sugar found in most fruit and fruit juices. It is an ingredient in many processed foods. Chocolate may also need to be excluded from an IBS diet when diarrhea is a problem. It tends to have a laxative effect and is highly acidic.
If you are designing an IBS diet, you may need to check the ingredients on foods that you commonly eat. Not only is fructose believed to be a trigger, but so are some artificial sweeteners. Sorbitol is believed to cause problems for many people.
Even if you commonly have diarrhea, you should not exclude all fruit from your diet in an effort to get IBS relief. Fruit is an important part of any well balanced diet, supplying many essential vitamins and nutrients, as well as dietary fiber found in edible skins. Fresh fruit is a better choice than canned or dried fruit, but different people find that different fruits trigger symptoms. This is why a food and symptoms diary is so important. Undoubtedly you will find that there are certain foods that cause more problems than others.
Yogurt is often included in an IBS diet. It contains something called probiotics which are believed to improve the balance between good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract. A food diary will help you determine if it is a good food choice for you. If yogurt leads to IBS relief, then it is a good choice.
An IBS diet for controlling diarrhea, may exclude fried and fatty foods, as well as products containing the ingredient olean. If constipation is your problem, you may need to avoid highly processed foods like chips, cookies and white rice. Any of these could be causing you problems; the best way to learn what foods to avoid is by using a food and symptoms diary. This cannot be overemphasized, in this writer's opinion. And don't forget to drink plenty of water. Water is an important part of any healthy diet, but is particularly important for an IBS diet; both when constipation is present, to soften the stool and when diarrhea is present, to prevent dehydration from fluid loss. Most experts recommend eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day or 64 ounces total. Many people believe that IBS relief can be achieved just by sticking to their IBS diet, but lifestyle changes and other therapies may be necessary as well.