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Foods to Avoid if You Have IBS

An estimated 5 to 10% of the population has irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. While this gastrointestinal condition is common, it can be extremely uncomfortable, especially if you eat certain foods. 

To manage IBS symptoms, consider adjusting your diet to omit certain foods, including:

Dairy Products

Dairy products that contain lactose, like milk, cheese, and ice cream, can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea in many individuals. An estimated 68% of people are lactose intolerant, meaning that they can’t properly digest the lactose in most dairy products (except for yogurt, usually). 

With the potential for gastrointestinal irritation from lactose, many IBS sufferers can benefit from omitting dairy products from their diet. 


Caffeine can trigger or worsen diarrhea, making it an important substance to avoid if you have IBS. Coffee, tea, energy drinks, soda, and even chocolate can contain high amounts of caffeine, so read nutritional labels carefully. 

Fried Foods

Fried foods like french fries, doughnuts, onion rings, and fried chicken are difficult for the digestive system to process. This is because they’re cooked in unhealthy oils with high levels of saturated fat. In addition to digestive discomfort, fried foods are associated with many health problems, including heart failure, coronary artery disease, and stroke. 


High-fructose corn syrup and naturally occurring fructose in dried fruit, apples, and pears are known to cause IBS symptoms in some individuals. So, it’s best to limit foods that are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, including soda, candy, and processed snacks. Also, opt for low-fructose fruits like bananas, berries, and citrus fruits. 

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners like sorbitol and xylitol can contribute to diarrhea and gas. They’re often found in sugar-free candies and gums, but it’s best to avoid them if you suffer from IBS. 

The expert physicians at The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine can provide nutritional advice and other recommendations to ease your IBS symptoms. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!


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