IBS – What To Eat

If you feel you have IBS please have a doctor evaluate you to be sure you don’t have a serious medical issue. IBS symptoms of bloating, flatulence, cramping, diarrhea or constipation can range from mild to significant. What to eat to reduce symptoms is highly individual. An often suggested meal plan is a Low FODMAP (fermentable oligo, di, mono and polyols) diet.

Below are very general suggestions for limiting FODMAPs. Remember this diet if highly variable from person to person as to what is tolerated and what is not. Not all people with IBS need to restrict all of the FODMAPS. The goal is to have as varied diet as possible and still manage GI discomfort.

  • Fructose:
    Check food labels for: fructose, crystalline fructose, high fructose corn syrup
    Examples: some low calorie drinks, sweetened soft drinks and beverages
    Some fruits such as apples, pears, watermelon, excess fruit juice, dried fruit.
    Honey and agave syrup
  • Lactose:
    Milk (unless lactose free)
    Ice cream
  • Fructans:
    Check labels for: Inulin or chicory root extract
    Examples: high fiber nutrition bars
    Foods made from wheat such as white bread, whole wheat bread, pasta and cereal
    Rye, Barley
    Some vegetables such as onion, garlic and asparagus
  • Galactans:
    Baked beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Polyols
    Check labels for: sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol
    Examples: sugar-free foods, liquid medications.
    Some fruits such as prunes, apples, peach, pear, plum, watermelon, blackberry, apricots, nectarine
    Some vegetables such as cauliflower, mushrooms, snow peas.

Other General Healthy Eating Tips:

  • Eat at regular times. Don’t skip meals. Don’t overeat.
  • Relax while eating. Don’t rush through meals.
  • Limit alcohol to 1 drink or less a day for women, 2 drinks or less for men
  • Limit fatty, greasy or fried foods.
  • Limit caffeine


* International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder www.aboutibs.org
Has a general low FODMAP chart.

* Irritable Bowel Syndrome Self Help and Support Group IBSgroup.org
Has a more general low FODMAP chart available to print.

* The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet Sue Shepherd, PhD and Perter Gibson, MD
Detailed and easy to understand book of foods, tips, menus and recipes to guide you in a low FODMAP diet.

*IBS Free at Last ibsfree.net
This is for the person with rather significant symptoms. There is information on how to order the book titled IBS Free at Last. This book will further guide you in how to further determine which FODMAPS are your main intolerances.

*University of Virginia Health System, Digestive Health Center GInutrition.virginia.edu
Click on Patient Education Materials on the left side of page. Scroll down to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

*National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases niddk.nih.gov
In the search box type IBS. Scroll down and click on Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

* Monash University http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/
This website has an app for smart phones that identifies FODMAP content in many foods. Monash University in Australia developed the FODMAP diet and continues to do extensive analyzing foods for FODMAP content.