Suffer from IBS, other gut issues?  Avoid these trigger foods, experts suggest

Suffer from IBS, other gut issues? Avoid these trigger foods, experts suggest

While there are foods you can eat to support a healthy gut microbiomefor people whose gut is causing them issues, there are also certain foods it’s best to avoid.

For example, fiber-rich foods like vegetables and legumes are typically highly recommended for good health — but for people who struggle with gastrointestinal issues like an imbalanced gut or bloating, it can make things worse.

“Some fiber-rich foods can cause bloating in people who suffer from it. If the bloating is caused by SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), then it can worsen the issue and people should watch their intake,” explains Dr. Kenneth Brown, gastroenterologist and host of The Gut Check podcast.

About 10% to 15% of Americans suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, a chronic condition that can cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits, according to Johns Hopkins. Numbers for SIBO, which occurs when there is excessive bacteria in the small intestine, are harder to determine, but the Cleveland Clinic says some studies indicate that up to 80% of people with IBS have SIBO.

“While certain foods may be problematic for people with bloating or other gastrointestinal issues — such as IBS or SIBO — it is important to note that food sensitivities and triggers vary from person to person but there are some common trends,” Brown adds.

But if you deal with bloating or other GI symptoms, or suspect you may have IBS or SIBO, here are some other foods to consider avoiding:

Dairy products

Milk and other foods that contain lactose, such as cheese and ice cream, can cause gas and bloating in people who are lactose intolerant.

About 70% of adults worldwide do not produce large amounts of lactase, an intestinal enzyme that helps break down the sugar in milk. Without this enzyme, the small intestine cannot absorb lactose, which passes undigested into the colon, where it ferment and cause bacteria. gas,” Johns Hopkins Medicine explains on its website.

Artificial sweeteners

“Some people who consume artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, xylitol and mannitol, experience bloating and other gastrointestinal symptoms,” Brown says. “Avoiding foods and beverages that contain these sweeteners may help alleviate symptoms for some people.”

Johns Hopkins notes that many sugar-free gums are also made with artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and xylitol.

Caffeinated or carbonated drinks

Both caffeine and carbonated beverages can be difficult for some people, Johns Hopkins adds.

“Bubbles in beverages like soda and seltzer can produce a similar fizzy effect in the GI tract,” the organization explains, adding to check labels carefully as high sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate, as well as some over-the-counter drinks. the counter pain relievers.

Gluten-rich foods

“Avoiding gluten-containing foods, such as bread, pasta and baked goods made with wheat flour, may benefit some people,” Brown says, as it may lead to bloating and other symptoms.

Certain carbs

FODMAPs — which stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols — are types of carbohydrates that can be difficult for some people to digest, especially those with IBS, SIBO or other gastrointestinal conditions, Brown explains.

“FODMAPs are found in many different foods, including wheat, garlic, onions, beans, lentils, apples and pears. A low-FODMAP diet has been shown to be effective at reducing symptoms of bloating and other GI issues for many people,” he says. adds. However, studies have shown that this diet should be temporary because micronutrient deficiency can develop over time if followed too strictly, he adds.

That’s why Dr. Mark Pimentel, gastroenterologist and author of “The Microbiome Connection,” suggests a meal plan he helped develop called Low Fermentation Eating, which is designed for anyone diagnosed with SIBO, IBS or who struggles with a sensitive gut.

The diet aims to restrict foods that contain high levels of carbohydrates and other problematic food that can trigger symptoms, including non-absorbable sugars and high-fiber foods, in order to heal the GI system in a more sustainable, less restrictive manner.

High-fructose foods

High-fructose corn syrup is a main ingredient in processed foods and can aggravate IBS symptoms, Johns Hopkins explains — “but they are not the only source of blame (or bloat).”

“It turns out some very healthy foods like apples, pears and dried fruits are naturally high in fructose, which when ingested, can trigger some of the same side effects as undigested lactose,” the website adds.

These fruits are also listed on Pimentel’s meal plan under foods to avoid.


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