Fats and IBS - Are High Fat Foods IBS Diet Triggers?
Tip Takeaway: Fats trigger the gastrocolic reflex to overreact, causing IBS symptoms to flare. Go low fat, not fat free. Focus on heart-healthy oils and avoid the high fat trigger foods.
- Yes! Fats are a huge GI stimulant- whether you have IBS or not.
- With IBS, they often trigger an overreaction of the gastrocolic reflex.
- Gastro-what? When food enters your stomach, it triggers the gastrocolic reflex, which cues your colon to start contracting.
- Ever had an IBS attack just minutes after eating the wrong thing? Blame your gastrocolic reflex.
- The more calories in a food, the stronger that reflex.
- Fats (9 calories per gram) are more than twice as calorie dense as carbohydrates or proteins (both 4 calories per gram).
- Result? Fats can cause painful spasms, urgency, gas, diarrhea and/or constipation, bloating.
- Worst high fat triggers? Red meat, dairy, egg yolks, fried foods, greasy dressings and sauces. Please avoid.
- A low fat diet is key for managing IBS - but - low fat does NOT mean fat free!
- Keep your fat intake to 20% - 25% of total calories, and make your fats count.
- It makes no difference to your gastrocolic reflex if you eat lard or extra-virgin olive oil.
- But it makes quite a difference to your heart, cancer risks, and your overall health.
- Focus on monounsaturated fats and essential fatty acids.
- Olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, avocados, finely ground nuts, fatty fish, flax oil, hemp oil.
- Use these fats in small quantities, with a soluble fiber foundation, following the Eating for IBS guidelines.
See all IBS Quick Tips!