Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition of the gastrointestinal system that causes uneasy symptoms on a regular basis. The symptoms occur when there is a trigger and they include constipation, diarrhea, cramping in the abdomen, bloating and gas.
Table of Contents
- A perfect diet to manage weight when you have IBS
- Choose Proteins over other nutrients
- Stick to food low on FODMAP
- Do not ignore healthy fats
- Cut the carbs as much as possible
The causes for IBS are largely unknown. The control and management of the condition put the affected individual on a restricted diet.
This diet largely depends on the type of IBS a person suffers from. Due to the diet restrictions, IBS can cause weight gain or loss of weight in certain individuals.
As per a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, weight gain and obesity is possible in patients suffering from IBS. One theory asserts this fact to the link between gut hormones and weight management.
IBS can also cause weight loss in patients. The following image depicts how weight loss in caused.
A perfect diet to help you manage weight effectively when you have IBS
Weight loss is tricky when you have IBS because most times, healthy food triggers the symptoms of IBS. Finding your right diet is only through trial and error method.
For each individual the food that triggers the symptoms are different. Here are a few tips to manage your weight when you have IBS.
Choose Proteins over other nutrients
Proteins are nutrients that are amongst the easiest to digest by the system. Proteins are clusters of amino acids and are broken down to that very quickly and are easily absorbed too.
Another big advantage is that proteins do not spike the blood sugar. When insulin is under balance, it controls your hunger cravings. You will not want to eat something a few minutes after a meal.
The following table shows the richest source of proteins from animal and plant sources that are apt for weight loss and does not trigger the IBS symptoms too.
|Animal Proteins (IBS friendly and good for weight management)||Plant Proteins (IBS friendly and good for weight management)|
|Chicken (skinless)||Tofu/ cottage cheese Pol|
|Eggs||Chickpea (in small quantities)|
|Seafood||Lentils (in small quantities)|
|Pork (in limited quantities)||Yogurt|
|Beef (fat-free)||Low FODMAP nuts like Macadamia and brazil nuts|
|Quail and Turkey||Seeds such as sunflower, chia|
Stick to food low on FODMAP
Any IBS diet plan will include food items that are low on FODMAPs. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-di-monosaccharides and polyols. It is basically a group of carbohydrates found in certain food items.
People with IBS find it difficult to digest this group of carbohydrates that may trigger the symptoms.
A diet high on FODMAP contains the following which should be eliminated from your diet. The foods to avoid with IBS are:
- Fructose (prominent in apple, pear, and blackberries)
- Fructans (found in onion, garlic, and wheat)
- Lactose (prominent in dairy products)
- Galactans (found in soy, and all varieties of beans)
- Polyols (mainly present in alcohol sugars and certain fruits such as plums and peaches)
A typical low FODMAP diet will include the following:
- Lactose-free dairy
- Lean proteins
- Vegetables such as carrot, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes etc.
- Fruits such as bananas, oranges, strawberries, and grapes
- Sweeteners such as cane sugar and brown sugar.
After a considerable time on the low FODMAP diet, you can start adding food that is restricted one at a time to analyze which group of foods you are most allergic to. You could even look up some IBS diet recipes to help you enjoy tasty food.
Do not ignore healthy fats
The whole concept of fat promoting weight gain is false. A diet on low fat can cause damage to your body and here is why:
- Our bodies need fat for functioning especially the brain
- Low amount of fat in the food makes you feel full, thereby pushing you away from snacking
- The fat-free readily available food in the market is loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugars. This disrupts your insulin metabolism.
Not all fats are the same. The ones you should avoid for IBS and weight management are:
- Trans fat (Present in many processed foods)
- Hydrogenated oils (even the partially hydrogenated ones)
- Saturated fats (In red meat and butter)
- All kinds of fried and greasy food
Healthy fats are found in the following food sources and they can be added to your weight management diet:
- Omega-3-fatty acid rich fishes like salmon, sardines, and anchovies
- Seeds such as flax seeds and chia
- Snacks and nuts such as pecans and walnuts
- Oils such as coconut and olive
- Fruits like olives
For a detailed diet chart to manage weight optimally with an IBS, click here.
Cut the carbs as much as possible
Simple carbohydrates found in sugar and refined food products are pretty much common in almost every food item you consume.
This is among the prime causes of obesity. Eliminating these simple carbohydrates is the most significant part of the diet for IBS with constipation and other forms of IBS.
The simple carbohydrates are not only hard for the intestines to absorb, but also cause a spike in blood glucose levels. This leads to increased secretion of insulin that clears blood sugar by packing into fat cell and blood vessels.
Cutting the simple carbohydrates can help you manage weight along with IBS symptoms. To completely eliminate simple carbohydrates from your body, you will have to stay away from the following:
- Wheat and wheat-based products such as rotis, phulkas
- White flour and its products such as bread, nans, kulchas etc.
- All basked items like cookies, doughnuts, cakes and processed foods
- Sugar and sugar-laden drinks
- All types of fast food and junk food
Another important step is to avoid the readily available diet food in the market. They are loaded with artificial sweeteners and unhealthy ingredients.
Take inspiration from the struggles of real people who battled weight gain with a lifestyle disorder. Click here to watch.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take citrus fruits as a part of the low FODMAP diet?
Yes. Citrus fruits are low on FODMAPs and can be consumed if you have IBS.
Why should I avoid wheat for IBS?
Wheat contains gluten and most people with IBS are sensitive to gluten. If you notice you are not sensitive to gluten, you can consume wheat-based products in small quantities.
What kind of oil should I use for a low FODMAP diet?
Stick to unrefined cold pressed oils like coconut oil, gingelly oil etc. These oils are not processed and extracted from seeds by natural methods.
How much alcohol can I consume if I have IBS?
Alcohol is not recommended for people with IBS. Try to avoid it as much as possible.
Can I substitute coffee with tea for IBS?
Yes. Avoid caffeinated drinks and substitute them with herbal tea. Do not consume tea with milk and sugar.