DEAR DOCTOR K: I recently heard about a new diet to manage IBS. Can you tell me about it?
DEAR READER: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common gastrointestinal disorder. Symptoms include cramping, diarrhea, gas and bloating.
A common treatment approach is to avoid foods that trigger symptoms. A new diet for IBS targets and eliminates certain types of carbohydrates the small intestine has trouble absorbing. We’ll call it the “IBS diet,” even though its official name is the “low FODMAP diet.”
Research suggests that the carbohydrates excluded from the IBS diet increase the amount of fluid in the bowel and create more gas.
To follow the IBS diet, eat less of these foods:
Fruits: apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, nectarines, pears, peaches, cherries, mangoes and watermelon
Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, onions and snow peas
Grains: wheat and rye
Legumes: chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and soy products
High-fructose corn syrup, sweeteners such as honey, agave nectar; sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol and isomalt found in sugar-free gum and mints
Eat more of these foods:
Lactose-free milk; rice, almond and coconut milk; lactose-free yogurt; hard cheeses
Fruit: bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, lemon, lime, oranges and strawberries
Vegetables: bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, bok choy, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, ginger, lettuce, olives, parsnips, potatoes, spring onions and turnips
Protein: beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs and tofu
Nuts/seeds: almonds, macadamia, peanuts, pine nuts and walnuts
Grains: oat, oat bran, rice bran, gluten-free pasta, white rice, corn flour and quinoa
Don’t misunderstand me. Not all of the foods I advise you to eat less of will negatively affect your IBS. And eating only the foods I advise you to eat more of won’t guarantee you freedom from IBS. But they are a good place to start in reducing the symptoms of IBS.