Atlanta Gastroeneterology Specialists | Dr. Bruce A. Salzberg | Gastroenterologist

Contact us: 678-957-0057

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4395 Johns Creek Parkway, Suite 130
Suwanee, GA 30024

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IBS Diet

Changing your diet might help improve your IBS symptoms. Having a well-balanced diet, eating regular meals, and drinking plenty of fluids is important in order to keep your digestive system moving. Foods that might trigger symptoms vary from person to person, but some foods might make your IBS worse.

You might find it helpful to avoid foods that cause gas or flatulence, including:

  • Fatty meats
  • Whole milk
  • Whole-milk cheeses
  • Fatty desserts
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Onions

In some people, sweeteners, such as fructose or sorbitol, or use of alcohol or caffeine can trigger IBS symptoms.

Tolerance to specific foods is very individualized. Keeping a food diary can help you decide if any specific foods are causing symptoms. You do not need to completely avoid certain foods or groups of foods, unless you are able to link them with your IBS symptoms. A registered dietitian can review your food diary and help you identify foods that may trigger symptoms and ensure you are getting the daily nutrients for health.  Diets for irritable bowel are highly individualized.  Sometimes an elimination diet can be helpful to identify food triggers that bring on symptoms.

Fiber can help IBS

Fiber may reduce the constipation/diarrhea associated with IBS because it makes stool soft and easier to pass, also attracting the extra liquid in your gut.   Fiber is found in foods such as breads, cereals, beans, fruits, and vegetables.  There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble.  Plant foods contain both types of fiber in varying degrees, according to the plant's characteristics.  Insoluble fiber can be hard to digest for people with IBS. Insoluble fiber food moves quickly through the colon, something that many diarrhea-predominant IBS sufferers want to avoid.  People with constipation-predominant IBS can experiment with the amount of  insoluble fiber they can eat without experiencing  gas and bloating. Soluble fiber promotes gentle regularity, regardless of the type of IBS you have.  It is easier on your system, increases the bulk of stool making it move along easier and reducing constipation. 

Some people with IBS who have more sensitive nerves may feel more abdominal discomfort after adding fiber to their diet.  Add foods with fiber to your diet a little at a time.

Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:

  • legumes (peas, soybeans, lupins and other beans)
  • oats, rye, chia, and barley
  • some fruits and fruit juices (including prune juice, plums, berries, bananas, and the insides of apples and pears)
  • certain vegetables such as broccoli, carrots
  • root tubers and root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and onions (skins of these are sources of insoluble fiber)
  • psyllium seed husk

Sources of insoluble fiber include:

  • whole grain foods
  • wheat and corn bran
  • nuts and seeds
  • potato skins
  • flax seed
  • vegetables such as green beans, cauliflower, zucchini, celery, and nopal
  • some fruits including avocado, and bananas
  • the skins of some fruits, including tomatoes

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