IBS diet

IBS is a common, long-term condition of the digestive system, and can lead to debilitating side-effects such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.

According to the NHS, it affects one in five people in the UK at some point in their life, and targets twice as many women as men.

The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but it is thought among experts to be due to an increased sensitivity of the gut.

While triggers can vary from person to person, these foods – widely considered to be healthy – are commonly thought to exacerbate IBS.


Fibre is important for a healthy digestive system, but certain kinds can be problematic for people with IBS.

A type known as insoluble fibre – found in wheat bran and whole grains – can cause diarrhoea in those who can’t tolerate it.

It is recommended IBS sufferers consume soluble fibre instead, from sources such as grains, root vegetables, fruit and legumes such as peas.

However, some grains may also not be suitable for IBS sufferers who are intolerant to gluten, in the same way as those who have coeliac disease.

Gluten, a protein, can be found in rye, wheat and barley.

IBS diet


The fat in dairy foods – like milk, yoghurt and cheese – can increase diarrhoea.

Switching to low-fat or non-fat dairy could help reduce this.

Many people with IBS are also lactose intolerant, meaning that a person is unable to digest a sugar called lactose which is commonly present in dairy.

Eliminating dairy completely and swapping in alternatives like tofu and nut milks could help.

IBS diet


While beans and legumes are important sources of fibre – and can help constipation – they can cause gas, bloating and cramps.

Similarly, garlic and onions can be difficult for the intestines to break down, meaning excess gas can be released causing painful cramps.

Broccoli and cauliflower can also be hard for many people to digest, and are a well-known IBS trigger.

Breaking both down in your intestine can cause gas and constipation symptoms.

However, it is important to note that vegetables are a key source of vitamins and minerals and should make up a significant proportion of your diet.

Additionally, limiting alcohol, chocolate and processed foods can help ease IBS.

Before cutting out any food groups ensure you see a doctor first to ensure you don’t miss out on vital nutrients.