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The top 5 foods to avoid if you have IBS

Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be challenging, often requiring careful attention to diet and lifestyle choices. As a hypnotherapist specializing in IBS, I understand the importance of identifying trigger foods that can exacerbate symptoms. In this article, we’ll delve into the top five trigger foods to avoid for individuals seeking relief from IBS discomfort.

  1. High-FODMAP Foods: FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) are certain types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. These foods can ferment in the gut, leading to gas, bloating, and discomfort, particularly for individuals with IBS. Common high-FODMAP foods include onions, garlic, wheat, and certain fruits (such as apples and pears). While not everyone with IBS is sensitive to all high-FODMAP foods, it’s wise to limit or avoid them, especially during flare-ups.
  2. Dairy Products: Many individuals with IBS find that dairy products worsen their symptoms. This is often due to lactose intolerance, where the body lacks the enzyme lactase needed to break down lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy. Symptoms can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Avoiding or reducing consumption of milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products can alleviate symptoms for many IBS sufferers. Opting for lactose-free alternatives or lactase enzyme supplements may also be helpful.
  3. Spicy and High-Fat Foods: Spicy foods and high-fat meals are notorious for triggering IBS symptoms. Spicy foods can irritate the gastrointestinal lining, leading to inflammation and discomfort, while high-fat foods can slow down digestion and exacerbate symptoms like bloating and diarrhea. Common culprits include fried foods, creamy sauces, spicy curries, and certain condiments. Choosing milder spices and opting for lean protein sources, fruits, and vegetables can help minimize symptoms and promote better digestive health.
  4. Beans and Legumes: While beans and legumes are nutritious sources of protein and fiber, they can be problematic for individuals with IBS due to their high FODMAP content. Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans are common examples. These foods can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort, especially when consumed in large quantities or for those with heightened sensitivity to FODMAPs. Experimenting with smaller portions or selecting canned varieties that have been rinsed thoroughly can help reduce their FODMAP content and minimize symptoms.
  5. Artificial Sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners, often found in sugar-free gum, candies, diet sodas, and certain packaged foods, can trigger digestive issues in some individuals with IBS. While they provide a low-calorie alternative to sugar, artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol can be poorly absorbed in the digestive tract, leading to gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Avoiding products containing artificial sweeteners or opting for natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit may help reduce IBS symptoms associated with their consumption.

Identifying and avoiding trigger foods is crucial for managing symptoms and improving the quality of life for individuals with IBS. By steering clear of high-FODMAP foods, dairy products, gluten-containing foods, caffeine, alcohol, spicy dishes, and high-fat meals, and being mindful of artificial sweeteners, individuals can better control their symptoms and enjoy a more comfortable life. As a hypnotherapist specializing in IBS, I emphasize the importance of personalized dietary strategies and holistic approaches to symptom management, including hypnotherapy, to achieve lasting relief and well-being.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy offers a powerful adjunct to dietary modifications in managing IBS symptoms effectively. This specialized form of hypnotherapy focuses on harnessing the mind-gut connection to alleviate gastrointestinal distress and improve overall well-being. Through relaxation techniques, visualization, and suggestion, gut-directed hypnotherapy aims to reduce gut hypersensitivity, modulate gut motility, and mitigate stress-related triggers that can exacerbate symptoms. Research has shown promising results, with many individuals experiencing significant reductions in pain, bloating, and diarrhea after undergoing gut-directed hypnotherapy sessions. By addressing the underlying psychological and physiological factors contributing to IBS, hypnotherapy empowers individuals to regain control over their symptoms and lead a more fulfilling life.

If you are ready to embark on a journey of healing and transformation you can simply fill up the Contact Me form for a complimentary consultation call or just call +44 020 7101 3284


  1. Healthline: “Foods to Avoid with IBS”
  2. Temple Health Blog: “These Foods May Be Making Your IBS Worse”
  3. YorkTest Blog: “Which Foods Trigger IBS Flare-Ups?”
  4. WebMD: “IBS Triggers: Prevention Strategies”
  5. Medical News Today: “Irritable bowel syndrome: 9 foods to avoid”

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