Please don't read this IBS trigger foods list and assume that you can never again eat any of these IBS bad foods, so life is no longer worth living. These are all IBS trigger foods, yes, and some of them you will probably have to completely eliminate from your diet. (Unsure WHY these are IBS trigger foods? See here.)
BUT - some trigger foods can be eaten in small quantities when you follow the How to Eat for IBS diet plan coming up, many of the items listed have safer substitutes you can use freely, and there are quite a few tips and tricks you'll soon learn for cooking with the nutritious foods on the list in a safe manner. So take heart, this isn't the end of the world it's just the end of IBS bad foods and the beginning of a better IBS diet.
Red meat (ground beef, hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks, roast beef, pastrami, salami, bologna, pepperoni, corned beef, ham, bacon, sausage, pork chops, and anything else that comes from cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, etc. )
Poultry dark meat and skin (skinless white meat is fine, as is seafood by the way try to buy organic turkey and chicken)
Dairy products (cheese, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, cream, half-and half, ice cream, whipped cream, yogurt, frozen yogurt). Dairy is an Irritable Bowel Syndrome trigger even if you're not lactose intolerant. It's simply not just the lactose. It's also not just the high fat content of most dairy products that can cause your IBS to flare. Even skim and lactose-free dairy can trigger IBS attacks. In addition to fat and lactose, dairy contains components such as the proteins whey and casein, which can cause severe digestion problems. Though yogurt is traditionally recommended as an "easily digestible" dairy product because fermentation has reduced the lactose levels, even non-fat versions contain whey and casein, and should be avoided.
Egg yolks (whites are fine, do try to buy organic)
Meat, dairy products, and egg yolks are particularly dangerous for all aspects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In some people their high fat content causes violent, rapid colon spasms and triggers diarrhea. Alternately, for others their heavy animal proteins, complete lack of fiber, and very low water content can lead to drastically slowed colon contractions (or one prolonged colon spasm, which is extremely painful) and severe IBS constipation. No matter what Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms you're prone to, these three categories of foods pose high risks and are trigger foods really best eliminated from your diet altogether. Other high fat IBS trigger foods to watch out for:
Anything battered and deep-fried
Anything skillet-fried in fat of any kind
All oils, fats, spreads, etc.
Shredded coconut Solid chocolate (baking cocoa powder is fine) Solid carob (carob powder is fine) Olives
Nuts and nut butters
Croissants, pastries, biscuits, scones, and doughnuts
Potato chips (unless they're baked) Corn chips and nachos (unless they're baked) Store-bought dried bananas (they're almost always deep fried)
Fats are usually fairly obvious foods to identify, but not always. The worst culprits are listed above, and many (particularly meat, dairy, egg yolks, and fried foods) can simply be eliminated from your diet entirely and your whole body will be healthier for it.
The thought of this can be deeply shocking, but giving up these foods does not equal deprivation. Honestly, it doesn't. There are a great many easy IBS safe substitutions that will let you cook and eat safely while still enjoying many of your traditional favorite foods. There's also a lot of fun to be had in trying a wide variety of new ones. And when you're tempted to indulge in a dangerous treat, just remember that everything tastes a lot less delicious when it triggers a vicious IBS attack.
There are also some hidden sources of fat to watch out for. Cookies, crackers, pancakes, waffles, French toast, biscuits, scones, pastries, doughnuts, and mashed potatoes can all be sky-high in fat (virtually always so at restaurants), so be careful. Give thanks for the fat-free craze that has given us supermarket aisles full of safe alternatives.
As an aside here, while it's crucial to maintain a low fat diet in order to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it's equally important that you do not go fat free. Though it makes no difference to your gastrocolic reflex if you're eating lard or extra-virgin olive oil, it will make quite a difference to your heart and your health in general. Your body needs healthy fats in order to function. Keep your fat intake to 20% - 25% of your total calories, and make your fats count. They should be monounsaturated and contain essential fatty acids, so choose fat sources such as olive oil, canola oil, avocados, finely ground nuts, fatty fish, flax oil, etc. Because all fats, even heart-healthy choices, are still potential IBS triggers, please follow the Irritable Bowel Syndrome dietary guidelines detailed in How to Eat for IBS.
Warning! GI Irritants are also IBS Trigger Foods
These foods and beverages offer no IBS benefits but plenty of IBS risks. Avoid them.
Coffee ~ both regular AND decaf contain an enzyme that's an extremely powerful GI tract irritant. Go cold turkey today and drink herbal teas instead.
Caffeine is a GI stimulant and should be avoided, especially in higher doses.
Alcohol is a GI irritant and often triggers IBS attacks, especially on an empty stomach (though small amounts of alcohol used in cooking are fine).
Carbonation in soda pop and mineral water can cause bloating and cramps.
Artificial sweeteners, particularly sorbitol, can trigger IBS pain, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Artificial fats, namely Olestra, can cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea in people who don't even have IBS imagine what it can do to you.
MSG has acquired lots of ugly anecdotal evidence against it regarding all sorts of digestive upsets. It can simply be avoided, so why take a chance?
Inulin and FOS are cheap manufacturing by-products used to add fiber to many processed foods. They ferment very rapidly in the gut and can cause extreme bloating and gas. Always check ingredients for these.
While fats and GI irritants are best reduced or completely eliminated from your diet, there's another crucial component to eating safely for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: understanding the difference betweeen soluble and insoluble fiber.