5 Diet Triggers for IBS that are not FODMAPs
There is so much more to managing IBS symptoms than reducing FODMAPs alone. Several other dietary factors can affect bloating, abdominal pain, excess gas, constipation, or diarrhea. Let’s explore them.
Caffeine is a well-known stimulant. But it is also a gut irritant and has a major effect on gut motility. As a result, it helps you get the urge to poop.
This could be advantageous for someone with constipation-predominant IBS (IBS-C). On the other hand, it might exacerbate your symptoms if you suffer from diarrhea. Try switching from caffeinated coffee to decaf, or better yet, green or herbal tea.
Alcohol is also a gut irritant. About a third of people with IBS, especially those with diarrhea-predominant IBS (IBS-D), report it as a trigger. The most common symptoms are loose stools and urgency, but abdominal pain and nausea have also been reported.
On social occasions, try a mocktail or mix a bit some grape juice with water and serve it in a wine glass.
3. Carbonated beverages
Carbonate beverages such as sodas and sparkling water make you swallow extra air and can trigger bloating and gas. Drinking from a straw and chewing gum are other ways you may swallow extra air.
The air gets trapped in your gut and may cause more gas and bloating. Try to flavor your water with strawberries (or other low FODMAP fruit), and herbs like mint (it’s great paired with cucumber). Or make your own lemonade.
4. High-fat foods or meals
These are foods like deep-fried goods, fast foods, pizza, and ice cream. Or high-fat meals such as burgers with cheese and fries. There is nothing wrong with using some oil or fat in cooking.
People with IBS often report GI symptoms such as indigestion, abdominal pain, bloating and distention, increased gas, and loose stools after eating these types of foods.
Try to avoid them while you are figuring out your triggers and make your own pizza at home. If you crave a burger, swap the French fries with a baked potato. And try some sorbet instead of ice cream.
5. Spicy Foods
Chili peppers and chili/cayenne powders contain capsaicin. This is a natural ingredient that produces a spicy effect and can trigger heartburn and/or abdominal pain in some people with IBS. Try to avoid these foods and use other spices to flavor your dishes.
There is not enough research to warrant avoiding all these foods for people with IBS in general. But it is important for you to find out whether any of these dietary components may be triggering your symptoms.
This can be a tricky process as you need to make sure you isolate the component you want to identify. A dietitian specializing in IBS (like me) can help you.