what to eat for IBS

What to Eat for IBS According to a Dietitian

What is IBS?

When you hear the term Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you might think of agonizing stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, gas and urgency to use the restroom. If any of these words trigger painful memories, you aren’t alone. This syndrome affects more than 10% of the population. If you suspect you have IBS but have not been diagnosed, start by contacting your doctor, who might recommend a specialist. By working with a gastroenterologist, you can get a clear idea of what your gut issue or issues might be. There may be more going on than just IBS to include celiac disease, GERD, SIBO, and more.

For those with IBS, it can be frustrating when daily life is significantly impacted. This can include:

  • Sleep
  • Physical appearance (ie. abdominal distension)
  • Energy levels
  • Romantic relationships & relationships with family/friends
  • Daily fear/anxiety of when those symptoms will appear
  • Fear of travel
  • Increased sick days, or reduced productivity

Common Triggers for IBS

Treating IBS is based on each individual’s own symptoms. No gut is the same! That’s why it’s important to meet with a registered dietitian to get the guidance you need for your specific situation. Here are a few common triggers to limit or avoid if you do suffer from IBS:

  • Anxiety or high stress situations
  • Eating too quickly
  • Very high-intensity exercise or no exercise at all
  • Too much or too little fiber
  • Inadequate water intake
  • Caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and carbonation
  • Artificial sweeteners & sugar alcohols (ie. sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol)
  • High-fat foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Certain supplements/medications (if not necessary)

Recommendations for IBS

We have three basic recommendations to share with you! We have provided three suggestions for constipation-dominant (IBS-C) as well as for diarrhea-dominant IBS (IBS-D). This can help you with meal planning to manage symptoms.


  1. Ensure adequate hydration
  2. Consider including high fiber foods like prune juice, kiwis, or flaxseed as a remedy
  3. Reduce certain FODMAPs with the help of a registered dietitian


  1. Consider a probiotic (see a dietitian for specific recommendations)
  2. Consider soluble fibers like psyllium or oats
  3. Reduce certain FODMAPs with the help of a registered dietitian

What are FODMAPs and How Do I Get Started?

FODMAP is an abbreviation for Fermentable Oligo‐, Di‐ and Mono‐saccharides and Polyols. For a good reason, you might see why we shorten it to FODMAP! In other words, these are short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols. If they digest poorly, they can ferment in the large intestine. Fermentation can draw out water and produce carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and even methane gas. These can cause the intestine to expand. Unfortunately, as a result, some people may feel pain, bloating, gas, and other unpleasant symptoms. 

You should have Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) guidance when implementing the low-FODMAP diet. 

This diet is NOT meant to be followed long-term. It’s a tool we use to identify which foods might be triggers. Our RDNs can guide you through the elimination and reintroduction phases as well as give you tips and education. We reintroduce foods in small and safe amounts to determine your tolerance. Once triggers are identified, you are able to live free from food anxiety and find relief from symptoms!  

What to Eat During an IBS Flare Up

Low-FODMAP foods are good to eat during an IBS flare up as well. Eating foods lower in fermentable carbohydrates during a flare up of IBS can improve symptoms during the flare up itself. Some low FODMAP foods include chicken, tofu, oats, eggs, kiwi, melon, potato, rice, blueberries and more. In addition to what to eat during a flare up, it’s important to also consider how much food to eat. Listening to your body and hunger cues will be helpful during this time. If the nausea or bloating is causing decreased appetite, do not force it. If hunger persists, proceed with caution. But again, choose to consume low-FODMAP foods. Below will give you details on how to customize this to fit your needs with a registered dietitian.

Meet with an IBS Registered Dietitian

Get relief from your symptoms! Gain confidence in your daily life, so that you don’t have to live with the anxiety of needing to know where a bathroom is at all times. Meet with one of our stellar dietitians who are trained on the use of a low FODMAP diet for IBS by Monash University, where this diet was developed. Schedule an appointment and get started today, so you can know what to eat for IBS and avoid trigger foods and gut anxiety. Let’s “gut” it done!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *