When you discover that you are living with IBS, it can often feel like you’ve received a food-related death sentence. After all, won’t all food hurt your stomach and cause you no end of discomfort and pain? While it’s true that IBS will cause you to change your diet and your eating habits; it isn’t all about eating only rabbit food until you die. Eating to keep your IBS to a minimum simply becomes about avoiding particularly difficult foods that can cause painful flare-ups. That’s half the battle right there. That’s why this list of foods to avoid with IBS is actually going to be helpful.

Top foods to avoid with IBS

While this is not a full list of foods to avoid, it does contain some of the worst foods (or food ingredients) that can cause painful flare-ups of IBS. If at all possible, it’s helpful to avoid:

  1. Cereals with refined grains: If you are a lover of cereal, you can still eat it. Just try to avoid the cereals that rely on refined grains for their production. This will often worsen the constipation that IBS causes. If you need your cereal first thing in the morning, switch to one that relies on whole grains.
  1. Processed foods: You probably knew this one was coming, but it’s still hard. Most processed foods should be eliminated from your diet. This includes all of the “good stuff” such as chips, cookies and cakes. These foods will all cause you excessive constipation, especially if you eat all of these things in the run of a day.
  1. Carbonated drinks: From a pint of beer to your favourite fizzy drink, to sparkling water, you’ll find that carbonation is one of the worst culprits for IBS. Even for those without IBS, carbonation is hard on the digestive system. If there is one food to avoid with IBS, a carbonated drink is it. 
  1. Dairy products: All things dairy, particularly cheese, will create a lot of problems with IBS symptoms. This is one of the reasons that IBS is often self-diagnosed as lactose intolerance. Limit your dairy intake in all forms, cheese being the worst one.
  1. Excessive protein: No more huge steaks for you, as sad as that is. In eating excessive protein, you’ll find yourself dealing with excessive constipation and flare-ups of your IBS symptoms. All things in moderation; you can still have a steak, just make it not quite so big.

 What if I don’t want to avoid them?

Maybe there’s something on this list that you absolutely cannot live without. It’s understandable, and the thing to remember is that this isn’t a true no-no list. You can still have ingredients on this list if you really want to. You just may have to deal with a flare-up to match. If at all possible, try to limit your enjoyment of these foods to a minimum and also make sure that you keep your portion sizes small. This way you can enjoy all of the taste and flavour, with very few of the symptoms.

There is perhaps nothing that is off the table entirely, but there are certain foods to avoid with IBS to help you steer clear of disruptive and uncomfortable flare-ups. It’s up to you to decide how you want to make this list work for you!