If you’ve done much reading about IBS diets, then you’ve seen advice urging you to increase fiber if you’re constipated, increase fiber if you have diarrhea, cut back on sugar, drink more water, avoid lactose, avoid dairy, avoid bread, avoid red meat, cut back on yeast, reduce spicy foods, cut back on carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners, eliminate chocolate, eliminate caffeine, eliminate alcohol, eat smaller meals, and so on and so on. You may be wondering if you can ever eat again without triggering your symptoms.
The problem with this approach is that different foods trigger IBS in different people, and many foods can potentially trigger IBS symptoms – far more than in the list mentioned. Therefore the best diet for you may not be the best one for someone else. Certainly some people have been helped by one of the recommendations above, but most people have not.
Ideally, to create an optimal IBS diet, all you’d have to do is avoid a certain food or food group to discover whether it was triggering your IBS. Unfortunately this is easier said than done. It takes a great deal of time, persistence, and education to properly construct a diet that will adequately treat IBS. Proper lab testing can help you avoid all of this.
The purpose of an elimination diet is to identify whether or not specific food groups trigger your IBS symptoms. Essentially, during an elimination diet you stop eating the foods you normally eat until your symptoms improve. If you feel better after you’ve eliminated a food or stopped eating altogether, then you might strongly suspect that your diet is involved. You may have gone on a fast or a cleansing diet, or simply avoided food for a day or two and discovered that your IBS was much better. Of course, eventually you have to eat, and the trick is figuring out exactly what you can eat.
If, when you reintroduce a food, your symptoms return, then it’s likely that the food or one of its ingredients is an IBS trigger for you. It’s sounds simple enough, but it can be a very slow process and very time consuming. And even after going through this process you may still not see a pattern or you may still be confused about which foods are causing your problems. There are many reasons for this. Our IBS Specialist doctors have years of experience. They can help you determine if a specific food is an issue and whether other factors are playing a role. IBS can be very complex, but our doctors have helped thousands of patients distill everything down to provide customized testing and treatment that works.