One major obstacle to figuring out which foods are problematic for you is that, even on an elimination diet, you may not have truly eliminated all of your allergenic foods. Assumptions are often made about which foods are allergenic and which foods are not. These assumptions are often wrong. Even on an elimination diet you may still be eating something that will trigger your IBS, even if you are eating foods that you normally don’t eat.
In order to solve your IBS you may need to stay away from entire food groups, not just one or two foods.
Food groups are much more difficult to avoid than you might think. One food group that commonly causes problems for IBS sufferers is dairy. Dairy is not just milk. Dairy includes cheese, butter, sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. It’s found in many baked goods such as muffins, breads, and cookies, as well as in many cream soups, some salad dressings, and milk chocolate. Coffee and lattes are another common source of dairy. Even margarine contains dairy. The list goes on and on.
Two key components of dairy are whey and casein, which many people cannot tolerate. These are used as additives in a great variety of foods, even those you wouldn’t consider to be dairy foods. Look at the labels on the packaged or processed foods you buy. Even non-dairy coffee creamer contains casein, for instance.
This example demonstrates how complicated it can be to avoid entire food groups in order to assess the dietary trigger of your symptoms. Many other food groups are just as complicated. If you remove only one part of a food group from your diet, you won’t really know if that group actually causes your symptoms. You need a great deal of information about the foods you eat and what they contain in order to understand which foods trigger your symptoms.
Image thanks to drpbody.com
Dr. Wangen is the founder and medical director of the IBS Treatment Center, the award winning author of two books, and a nationally recognized speaker on digestive disorders. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio, and was named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.