These Are A Few Of my Favorite Things...That I Can No Longer Eat
Last updated: June 2023
Research shows that 25 percent of IBS patients experience symptoms related to their diet,1 and as a result, many people avoid foods that will exacerbate their symptoms- known as trigger foods.2 To avoid their IBS triggers, many people also have to avoid some of their favorite foods. This month, we asked our community to tell us about their favorite foods that set-off IBS symptoms. Are any of these your “favorite trigger foods?”
Favorite Trigger: A Few Things!
“Eggs. Dairy. Nuts. Pork. Seafood… Just to name a few.”
“Thanksgiving makes me sad...Not able to be around the temptations of all the good food”
“Chocolate, coffee, cheese, wine”
“Popcorn, corn, anything acidic...can't drink OJ anymore”
“Nuts and seeds”
“So many things”
“Potatoes, corn, any artificial color, aspartame, caffeine”
For many community members, your favorite trigger foods include a variety of things, ranging from coffee to holiday favorites. When avoiding trigger foods or restricting their diet, some IBS patients miss-out on important nutrients, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about getting the vitamins, minerals, and protein you need. If you’re still looking for IBS-Friendly meals, you can also try some of these recipes, suggested by fellow IBS community members!
Have you ever used one of our IBS-friendly recipes?
Favorite Trigger: Dairy
“Milk....ice cream, cheese”
“Macaroni with four cheeses”
For many IBS community members, favorite trigger foods include dairy products such as cheeses, cream cheese, ice-cream, and mac & cheese.
Fact: Research shows that 33 percent of IBS patients are also lactose-intolerant, making dairy an IBS trigger for many community members.3
- For more information: IBS & Lactose Intolerance, Lactose Intolerance Testing
- Instead of dairy, try lactose-free milk and yogurt, rice milk, sorbet, or gelato.
- Dairy-free recipes: “Ice Cream,” Banana Walnut Loaf, Peanut Butter Custard
Favorite Trigger: Greasy Food
“Fried foods for sure”
“Anything greasy, such as KFC or Chinese Food”
“Fried foods such as fried okra”
For many of you, favorite trigger foods include greasy foods, such as fried food, fast food, and some Chinese foods.
Fact: Greasy foods are typically high in fat, and many IBS patients have trouble digesting fat.4
- To limit excess fat (and other triggering ingredients), try cooking Asian-inspired meals at home.
- When you’re traveling, be sure to pack IBS-friendly snacks to avoid last-minute fast food stops
Favorite Trigger: Spicy Food
“Anything with garlic or onions”
“Anything even vaguely spicy”
“Sometimes even spicy food”
For many patients, IBS keeps you from enjoying your favorite spicy foods.
- Onions are a gas-inducing food, causing some patients to experience worse IBS symptoms.4
- Both garlic and onions are high in fructans, which can also trigger IBS symptoms.5
Tip: If you’re looking for some not-so-bland foods, but also want to avoid your triggers, try some of these IBS-friendly recipes.
Favorite Trigger: Vegetables
“Lettuce, spinach, or anything leafy”
“Salad...I would die for a salad”
“A lot of vegetables like brussel sprouts”
“Cannot tolerate raw vegetables”
“Anything with tomatoes...green peppers”
“Yellow squash with seeds”
For many of you, IBS has made it difficult to enjoy vegetables, such as your favorite salad or veggie snack.
Fact: Many vegetables, including broccoli, legumes, cauliflower, and cabbage, can trigger gas, making IBS symptoms more intense.4
Tip: For a healthy & vitamin-rich alternative, consider making a strawberry smoothie.
Favorite Trigger: Red Sauces
“Stomach pain from any red sauce”
“Anything with lots of tomato sauce”
For many IBS community members, favorite trigger foods include red sauces, such as tomato and marinara sauces.
Fact: Red sauces often contain garlic, onions, and sugar, making it a high-FODMAP food that is difficult to digest.
Tip: Next time you’re craving red sauce, considering trying one of these low-FODMAP recipes...
Favorite Trigger: Gluten
“Pizza because I've had to go gluten-free”
“Pizza, lasagna, pastas”
“Lasagna...screw you IBS”
For many of you, favorite foods are also high in gluten. These triggers include pizza, pasta, lasagna, and other wheat-rich foods.
- Eating gluten-rich foods (such as foods that contain wheat, barley, or rye) can trigger IBS symptoms.6
- Many IBS patients experience fewer symptoms while maintaining a gluten-free diet, especially patients with IBS-D.6
- IBS patients have 4 times the risk of developing celiac disease, an autoimmune condition which involves gluten-sensitivity.7
- For more information: IBS & Gluten Sensitivity, IBS & Celiac Disease, Fructans & Wheat
- Gluten-Free Recipes: IBS-Friendly Pizza, Muffins
Favorite Trigger: Dessert
“Sugars especially corn syrup”
For many patients, favorite desserts and sweets trigger IBS symptoms.
Fact: Desserts often contain several IBS-triggers, including gluten, fat, dairy, and fructose.8
Tip: For an IBS-friendly sweet, check out these recipes...
- White Chocolate Bark (Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free)
- Chocolate Almond Butter Milkshake
- Pavlova Holiday Dessert
Favorite Trigger: Everything!
“Wow, I wish I knew what foods get it going. Sometimes it's one thing and then not! And sometimes it is everything I eat.”
“Everything!! The FODMAP diet didn't help at all.”
“Everything. Thank you for sharing. At least I'm not alone.”
“Lately everything bothers me”
For many of our community members, many different foods trigger IBS symptoms, and as described by some of you, any meals make IBS symptoms worse. In fact, over 60 percent of IBS patients report meal-induced symptoms (worsening symptoms after meals).9 As shared by many community members, when faced with multiple trigger foods, it can be difficult to find tasty and healthy options, and to enjoy eating. Additionally, the IBS-friendly diet that works for one patient may not work for another.
If you feel like you can’t eat anything without triggering IBS symptoms, you may want to ask your doctor about taking probiotics, or changing your medication routine. For some patients, eating snacks and multiple small meals throughout the day helps control meal-induced symptoms. If you’re struggling to pinpoint your IBS trigger-foods, you can also try keeping a journal to record your eating habits and symptoms.
Throughout your IBS journey, your fellow community members can listen, answer questions, and share experiences, so if you’re having balancing your symptoms with your diet, be sure to reach out to the IBS community today!
Have you ever tried acupuncture to relieve IBS symptoms?