To Your Health
December, 2016 (Vol. 10, Issue 12)
Try the Anti-IBS Diet
By Editorial Staff
The estimated 14 percent of Americans who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) endure a cluster of unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms including bloating and excess flatulence (gas), lower abdominal pain, changes in bowel movement patterns (diarrhea or constipation) and mucus in stools.
In short, IBS can be debilitating, which makes finding solutions – particularly natural solutions that don’t require constant medication use – all the more imperative.
Recent research suggests dietary changes – avoiding certain foods and eating more of others – may be a key to managing symptoms. The study suggests avoiding high-fiber foods and simple sugars (many vegetables and fruits, and all products derived from wheat, among other possible triggers) – foods classified by the acronym FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols). FODMAPS are short-chain carbohydrates that the body has difficulty absorbing and that are instead fermented by intestinal bacteria, potentially leading to the unpleasant IBS symptoms described above.
The study tracked two groups of IBS patients for comparison: patients who consumed a low-FODMAP diet (certain fruits and veggies, most proteins, and non-wheat grains such as oats, quinoa and rice) and patients who followed dietary recommendations for IBS, including small frequent meals; avoidance of wheat products, starches, sorbitol (an artificial sweetener), excess alcohol and caffeine; and limited consumption of fresh fruit. After four weeks, more than half of patients on the low-FODMAP diet had experienced symptom relief during the last two weeks, compared to only four in 10 patients on the IBS diet.
To learn more about high- and low-FODMAP foods, click here and talk to your doctor, who can discuss ways to manage your symptoms without resorting to medication.