6 Diets for IBS: High-Fiber Diet, Elimination Diet, and More

Diets for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is an uncomfortable disorder characterized by dramatic changes in bowel movements. Some people experience diarrhea, while others have constipation. Cramps and abdominal pain can make everyday activities unbearable.

Medical intervention is important in the treatment of IBS, but did you know that certain diets may improve your symptoms? Explore the most common diets available to reduce uncomfortable symptoms, and work toward leading a healthy life.

1. High-fiber diet

Fiber adds bulk to your stools, which helps aid in movement. The average adult should eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day. While this seems simple enough, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that most people only eat 5 to 14 grams per day.

Fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are nutritious and help prevent constipation. However, if you experience bloating from increased fiber intake, try focusing solely on soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables instead of grains.

2. Low-fiber diet

While fiber can help some people with IBS, increasing fiber intake can worsen symptoms if you frequently have gas and diarrhea. Before you completely eliminate fiber from your diet, concentrate on sources of soluble fiber found in produce items, such as apples, berries, carrots, and oatmeal.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water instead of adding extra bulk associated with insoluble fiber. Common sources of insoluble fiber include whole grains, nuts, tomatoes, raisins, broccoli, and cabbage.

You may also consider taking anti-diarrheal medicines 30 minutes before eating fiber to reduce the effects. This method is especially helpful when eating in restaurants and on the go. However, you shouldn’t make a habit of it.

3. Gluten-free diet

Gluten is a protein found in grain products such as bread and pasta. The protein can damage the intestines in people who are gluten-intolerant. Some people with a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten also experience IBS. In such cases, a gluten-free diet may reduce symptoms.

Eliminate barley, rye, and wheat from your diet to see if gastrointestinal problems improve. If you’re a bread and pasta fanatic, there’s still hope. You can find gluten-free versions of your favorite products in health foods stores and many grocery stores.