IBS and Diet...change the WAY you eat, not WHAT you eat!

IBS and diet can be a touchy subject. As part of your treatment for IBS, your doctor will suggest some dietary restrictions. But, diet restrictions are no fun and can be very difficult to follow. It seems that severe diet restrictions can really be more harmful because, in my case, I would sometimes feel so deprived, I would then binge on those foods that were off limits, not caring about the outcome. Later, when I was in misery with an IBS attack, I told myself I would do better, only to continue on the same cycle of eating good for awhile, then indulging, being miserable, and back to eating good. After all this, I still didn't get good results for treating my IBS!

Common Triggers

The common items a doctor will tell you to avoid are, of course, some of the most enjoyable foods.


processed food


chocolate (no, you say, not chocolate!)


If you can follow the other recommendations listed on this site, I believe you do not have to completely eliminate these yummy foods from your diet in order to treat your irritable bowel! However, be careful, because there are some food additives that need to be avoided.

The key for IBS and diet is not restriction, but diet moderation. These items do NOT have to be eliminated, but they do need to be reduced and they need to be eaten at certain times to avoid digestive problems.

IBS and Diet: Less is More!

Which brings me to a very important point: moderation, in general, at every meal is important. You must eat smaller meals, which can be done several times per day, if necessary. If you eat until you are stuffed (think Thanksgiving) you will start having IBS symptoms immediately. If you want a big piece of that homemade pumpkin pie, cut back on the rest of your meal. There have been times when I knew I wanted to enjoy a piece of birthday cake at a party, so instead of having a giant piece of pizza before the cake cutting, I instead had a small salad and some carrots. That way, I was able to really enjoy that piece of birthday cake and not dread what would happen to my body after the indulgence. Remember, those of us with IBS have sensitive digestive systems, so we need to treat it that way. Our gastrointestinal tract can just not handle so much stimulation at once. For that matter, I'm not sure most people without IBS can handle meals that are too large. IBS and diet becomes important to us because with IBS, we are just more sensitive to the demands too much food places on our digestive system and the digestive problems it can cause.

There is a Japanese term that doesn't even exist in the English language called Hara Hachi Bu. In English, this means “eat until you are 80% full”. Perfect advice for those of us with IBS!

Stop Eating All That Fiber!

I know everyone tells you to eat more fiber, but certain fiber can cause your IBS to act horribly! If you eat too much insoluble fiber, you will aggravate your IBS symptoms. We all need to eat some of these foods, but not too much. The fiber we need more of is soluble fiber. We all tend to overindulge. It's just human nature. But when we do, and we pay the price with an IBS attack, then we just need to cut back.

So remember, you can enjoy all of these wonderful foods, but NOT TOO MUCH!

There are two diets that have been quite successful for me in helping to control IBS symptoms. The food combining diet and Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure both let you eat most of what you want without the digestive problems. Give each of these plans about 3 days to see if you have any symptom improvement. Even if you see slight improvement, it could be an indication that this is one you should give a longer try, say, two weeks to a month.

It can be tough, but try to stick with it because the relief you will experience will be very much worth the effort.

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