IBS Treatment Diet Plan: 6 Proven Diet Plans!

February 22, 2024

IBS Treatment Diet Plan: 6 Proven Diet Plans!

Does irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) leave you struggling with pain, bloating, and embarrassing digestive symptoms? Want to break free through strategic diet changes? An IBS treatment diet plan can help identify triggers and find relief.

Research shows that altering what you eat significantly impacts irritable bowel syndrome. However, with conflicting theories on the best approaches, discovering your optimal diet plan for IBS treatment may require trial and error.

However, don’t worry! This blog will walk you through effective, evidence-based IBS diets to test, from low FODMAP to low fat. It will help you formulate an IBS treatment diet plan uniquely tailored for you.

Types of IBS Treatment Diet Plan

There are a few evidence-based diet approaches that can dramatically improve IBS symptoms. Depending on your specific triggers and symptoms, options can include:

The Low-FODMAP Diet

The low FODMAP diet was originally developed by researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. They found that a diet low in fermentable carbs significantly improved symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea in IBS patients.

The term FODMAP stands for:

F - Fermentable - meaning they attract water and are rapidly fermented by gut bacteria

O - Oligosaccharides - Oligosaccharides are carbohydrate chains made up of three to ten simple sugars (also known as monosaccharides).

D - Disaccharides - a group of carbohydrates, including lactose.

M - Monosaccharides - a group of carbohydrates, including excess fructose.

A - And

P - Polyols - a group of sugar alcohols, including sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol

This may seem complicated, but the concept is simple - these groups include short-chain carbohydrates that can be hard to break down and digest. Instead of being absorbed properly, they pull water into your intestine, get fermented by bacteria, and cause uncomfortable symptoms.

Low FODMAP Diet - Digestive and Liver Health Specialists

The low FODMAP diet eliminates foods high in these carbohydrates for 4-8 weeks. This allows gut inflammation and imbalance to heal. Then specific foods are systematically reintroduced every 3 days to test tolerance and determine your personal triggers. Many find they can enjoy some high-FODMAP foods in smaller servings.

Low and High FODMAP Food Lists

As carbohydrates are the primary focus, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and dairy are where you find the most high FODMAP foods. Here are some specifics:

High FODMAP Foods to Limit or Avoid:
  • Fruits - Apples, pears, watermelon, nectarines, etc.
  • Vegetables - Artichokes, asparagus, onions, garlic, etc.
  • Grains - Wheat, barley, rye, etc.
  • Legumes - Lentils, black beans, chickpeas, etc.
  • Dairy - Milk, soft Cheese, yogurt, etc.
  • Nuts - Cashews, pistachios, etc.

Low FODMAP Foods to Enjoy Freely:
  • Fruits - Bananas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapefruit, etc.
  • Vegetables - Carrots, eggplant, lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, spinach, etc.
  • Grains - Corn tortillas, rice, quinoa, and gluten-free oats, etc.
  • Proteins - Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, tofu, etc.
  • Dairy - Hard Cheese, lactose-free milk, rice milk, etc.
  • Nuts - Peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.

How to Switch to a Low-FODMAP Diet?

Jumping into any restrictive diet is challenging. Professional guidance will help you make the process smoother. These tips also help:

  • Find Support - Connect with others following the diet for tips and encouragement, or join an IBS support group.
  • Read Labels - Get in the habit of checking nutrition labels for high FODMAP ingredients. Look up unfamiliar additives.
  • Enjoy Low FODMAP Substitutes - Rice pasta, gluten-free bread, almond milk, lactose-free yogurt, bell peppers, spinach, and blueberries become staples.
  • Focus on Personalization - Remember that triggers are individual - you may tolerate foods restricted on the diet. Customizing is key.
  • Supplement Carefully - Ensure adequate intake of nutrients like fiber, calcium, and B vitamins at risk of being low in the diet.
  • Reintroduce Strategically - Keep notes when adding back foods. Link symptoms to the amount consumed and combinations.

Studies show a low FODMAP diet is very promising for IBS treatment , with over 76% experiencing relief. But there are challenges with restriction. Work with a doctor and dietitian to ensure it’s nutritionally adequate and sustainable. Most importantly, feel empowered that you can manage symptoms with a diet.

Elimination Diet

The elimination diet helps identify and ease IBS symptoms by avoiding specific foods for an extended period. This could mean cutting back on entire food categories, like in the low FODMAP diet, or avoiding individual trigger foods.

Here's a rundown of some common IBS trigger foods:

  • Coffee
  • Specific fruits and vegetables
  • Dairy items like milk and ice cream
  • Spicy foods
  • Carbonated drinks with artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup
  • Alcoholic beverages

Note: It is recommended to experiment with excluding any food item that appears to be a potential trigger for your symptoms.

High Fiber Diet

Consuming more fiber, especially soluble fiber, can benefit those with IBS-related constipation. Soluble fiber from fruits, beans, oats, and some vegetables helps form stools and promotes regularity.

Doctors often suggest that patients with IBS boost their daily dietary fiber intake to 20–35 g to help regulate stools and reduce abdominal pain. How To Eat More Dietary Fibre - Top 12 High-Fibre Foods — The Bodybuilding  Dietitians

Gradually boost your fiber intake if dealing with constipation. Increasing too quickly can cause unpleasant gas and bloating. Go up by 2-3 grams per day. While fiber overall aids healthy digestion, focus first on soluble sources if you have IBS.

If you're still experiencing persistent gas, consider exploring supplements like psyllium husk. Though more research is still needed, some studies show supplemental fiber types relieve IBS constipation specifically.

Low fiber diet

If you have diarrhea-predominant IBS, limiting high-fiber foods, especially those rich in insoluble fibers, can sometimes offer relief. Examples of insoluble fibers include zucchini, whole grains, tomatoes, nuts, broccoli, and more. However, fiber still offers protective digestive benefits.

Instead of eliminating it completely, focus on soluble fiber sources like oats, carrots, peas, and berries. These foods dissolve more easily and don't add the extra bulk that comes with insoluble fiber. Limit insoluble fibers like whole grains, vegetables, and bran, which can worsen diarrhea.

Gluten-free diet

Even if you don't have celiac disease, cutting out gluten can still help with IBS symptoms. Try removing grains that contain gluten, such as wheat, barley, rye, etc. It will help you to see if you have a sensitivity that might be causing intestinal issues. Who Should Follow a Gluten-Free Diet? - Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter

A study found a 6-week gluten-free diet significantly decreased IBS issues for 41 participants. And 18 months later, symptoms remained improved for those still gluten-free. This indicates both short and long-term benefits.

Cut out items like bread, cereal, pasta, crackers, and beer to check if gluten affects your IBS. If these foods cause problems, don't worry—there are delicious gluten-free alternatives available. All you have to do is check grocery stores and health food stores. 

Low Fat Diet

Love to eat fried foods? I’ve got bad news for you. Eating high-fat foods regularly not only causes health issues like obesity but may also increase symptoms in people with IBS.

Doctors often recommend limiting total fat intake to no more than 40 - 50 grams daily for better bowel function. Focus instead on lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy. This balanced approach aids overall wellness too.


An IBS treatment diet plan plays an integral part in taking control of irritable bowel syndrome. Work closely with your healthcare providers to discover your food intolerances and consistently stick to gut-friendly meals.

Be patient through periods of adjustment when testing elimination diets or gradually increasing fibers. Achieving long-term digestive wellness is a journey, but you’ll get there.


What Are the Top 5 Foods to Avoid If You Have IBS?

If you have IBS, avoid milk, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy as the lactose causes gas issues. Also limit high fructose foods like certain fruits, carbonated drinks that introduce gas, caffeine that stimulates the intestines, and sugar-free gum with unabsorbed sweeteners.

Can I Eat Rice with IBS?

Yes, plain rice is very safe to eat during an IBS flare-up or diarrhea episode. The easily digested grains are unlikely to worsen symptoms. Opt for unsweetened non-dairy milk too, as the harder-to-digest lactose may further irritate your gut.

What is a Traditional Diet for IBS?

The standard diet advice for managing IBS includes:

  • Regular, well-balanced meals, 
  • Modest alcohol and caffeine, 
  • Reduced fat and spice intake
  • Tailored soluble fiber amounts to prevent constipation or diarrhea based on your symptoms. 
  • Staying hydrated.








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