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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers (cont.)

2. Diet Triggers for IBS Diarrhea

Some foods can worsen IBS-related diarrhea. These include:

  • Too much fiber, especially insoluble fiber found in the skin of fruits and vegetables

  • Food and drinks with chocolate, alcohol, caffeine, fructose, or the sugar substitute sorbitol

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Large meals

  • Fried and fatty foods

  • Food and drinks with dairy

  • Foods with wheat -- Some people may be allergic or have a negative reaction to gluten

Prevention Strategies:

  • Eat a moderate amount of soluble fiber. It adds bulk to the colon and can help prevent spasms. Good sources are whole wheat breads, oats, barley, brown rice, pasta, the flesh of fruit (as opposed to the skin), and dried fruits.

  • Don't consume foods with extreme temperatures, such as ice-cold water and steaming hot soup, in the same meal.

  • Stay away from broccoli, onions, and cabbage. They can cause gas, which can make diarrhea sufferers feel worse.

  • Eat smaller portions.

  • Drink six to eight glasses of plain water a day, but drink the water an hour before or after meals, not with meals.

  • Consult with your doctor or a dietitian if you suspect you may have a wheat allergy.

Some people with IBS have symptoms similar to lactose intolerance with excess gas. A trial of a lactose-free diet and avoidance of foods that produce excess gas such as beans, brussels spouts, pretzels, bagels, wheat germ, raisins, and celery may help reduce symptoms.

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