What is IBS and What Are the Foods to Avoid?

Edited and Published by Wellness Monster Mark

IBS is short for Irritable Bowel Syndrome that can take on many different forms from person to person. While doctors don’t really have a firm explanation for what IBS is or what causes it, they is plenty of evidence to support existence. According to WebMD, up to 20% of Americans suffer from some form of IBS and just as each person’s diet is different, so are the symptoms. (https://www.webmd.com/ibs/what-is-ibs) Most doctors agree on the idea that IBS is a collection of symptoms that have plagued a patient for at least six months and incidents of the IBS have occurred at least three times in the most recent three months. IBS will always cause pain in the stomach area with many foods acting like “triggers.” Again, some foods will cause issues for one person but not for another making diagnosis difficult. Still, if you suffer from IBS, here is a list of food items you should avoid or at least consume in moderate amounts and what type of substitutions can be made:

High Fiber Foods

Nobody is going to tell you that fiber is bad. However, too much of a good thing can wreak havoc for those suffering from IBS. So, the rule here is to partake in moderation.

Fried Foods


Eliminating delicious foods such as fried chicken, French fries and doughnuts should be a surprise to nobody. In addition to the health risk already associated with fried foods, those with IBS will do well to abstain almost completely. Fried foods are known for increasing inflammation that can build up in your stomach over time.

What to have instead: Opt for grilled chicken and a baked potato instead.

Potato Chips

It’s easy to forget that chips are basically just another fried food and because of that, they pose the same risks as mentioned above.

What to have instead: Consider snacking on pretzels, rice cakes, crackers made from rice flour or low fat crackers and only in small amounts.


Cookies can pack a triple whammy to your gut with the ingredients of sugar, white flour and fat. Too many of these treats can increase blood sugar levels, blood pressure and inflammation.

What to have instead: Find a good low-fat oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe and limit your intake.

Dairy Products


There are some conflicting information regarding IBS and dairy products. Some sources state that many people who have IBS will also suffer from lactose intolerance issues too, but other sources disagree and say that dairy foods and beverages can be a choice for those struggling with IBS. Keep in mind that dairy can cause inflammation and bloating. Many ice creams contain too much sugar and fat.

What to have instead: Try lactose-free products such as Lactaid or almond milk. Keep the cheese-snacking to a minimum. Consider dairy-free ice cream products or frozen yogurt but check the labels for sugar content.


All alcohol can increase inflammation in your stomach and should be avoided.


Carbonated beverages of all kinds should be avoided. Regular soda contains tons of sugar and many, even sugar-free options, contain high amounts of acid which is not good.

What to have instead: Infusing water with fresh fruits or cucumber make a refreshing change to plain old tap water.

Coffee and Tea

While many of us cannot fathom starting our day without a good ol’ cup of Joe, those with IBS are just asking for trouble. Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that throw off your intestinal movements, high amounts of acid and for some, high amounts of added sugar and cream. Many teas also contain high amounts of inflammation-building acids.

What to have instead: Herbal and caffeine-free teas are your best options. Some are naturally sweet too without any added sugar.

fruitarianFruits and Vegetables

Vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli can trigger painful gas and corn is not absorbed or digested by the body. Fruits to be avoids include oranges and grapefruits for their high acid content. Also, berries contain fiber, so enjoy in small amounts.

What to have instead: Potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and salad greens are good choices. However, many vegetable and fruits contain a lot of fiber so consider eating them sans skin.


Legumes are one the healthiest foods around, but they can cause a lot of havoc too creating excessive gas and bloating for many IBS sufferers.

What to have instead: A small amount of rice might be a good substitute.

Other tips:

  • Drinking a glass of water before and another one after your meal will help aid digestion.
  • Avoid spicy foods
  • Prepare foods with little oil
  • Reduce red meat intake and add more fish and chicken to your diet.


IBS Diet: The Foods You Can Eat

18 Foods to Avoid with IBS



Photo Credits:

The woman has stomachache. [ID 96797152 © Kowniewping – Dreamstime.com]

The fried food. Dish, appetizing. [ID 18676794 © Valery Sibrikov – Dreamstime.com]

Assorted dairy products milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream. Traditional, rustic. [ID 81912294 © Olga Kriger – Dreamstime.com]

Fruits and Vegetables. Source, fresh. [ID 17655856 © R. Gino Santa Maria / Shutterfree, Llc – Dreamstime.com]