Dietary Fiber for IBS-D, -C, and -M, Part 2

Most plant-based food sources contain a combination of both insoluble and soluble fiber. However, some are richer in one type of fiber, and some contain close to equal amounts of each.

Benefits of fiber

For IBS-D, soluble fiber helps absorb fluid to relieve diarrhea; it forms a viscous gel that slows down digestion rate. For IBS-C, insoluble fiber provides a laxative effect that can help alleviate constipation. However, both types of fiber are needed in IBS-C because soluble fiber will help keep the stool moist and insoluble fiber will increase the rate of transit through the small intestine.

There are also additional health benefits of fiber, unrelated to normalizing bowel function. So, aiming for a mixture of both is good for the gut! Although a diet will naturally provide a combination of both types of fiber, it’s good to have a rough idea of how much insoluble and soluble fiber you’re eating.

Low FODMAP fiber options

If you are following a low FODMAP diet, there are plenty of options for you! The chart below pays careful attention to FODMAP considerations. While some foods should be avoided, certain higher FODMAP options can be consumed in appropriate portions. Don’t forget that the low FODMAP diet is used as an elimination diet. You’ll add a food back in one at a time to see which foods (and portions) you tolerate.

After adjusting to a higher fiber diet, you may find that some foods that used to cause you a lot of gas and bloating are now better tolerated. You may be able to slowly increase the limit. That’s a win all around! If you’re bloated, gassy, or struggling on a low FODMAP high fiber diet, work with a dietitian who can help you achieve the results you want.

IBS daily fiber intake

In the meantime, use the chart below to get a better sense of your daily fiber intake. You may want to track your meals and snacks for a few days to get a clear idea of how your portion of insoluble vs. soluble fiber foods compares.

*While looking at the low FODMAP diet considerations below, keep in mind that some people can tolerate specific types of FODMAPS. For example, you may be sensitive to fructose, but not to sorbitol.

Soluble Fiber-Rich Foods

FoodServing SizeTotal Dietary Fiber per Serving (both soluble and insoluble)Low FODMAP Considerations
Apple1 medium4.5 Limit to 1 tablespoon granny smith; limit to 0.71 oz pink lady
Apricots2 average1.5Limit to 1 tablespoon
Avocado (Hass)1/2 medium4.5Limit to 1/8 whole avocado
Barley1/2 cup cooked3Limit to 1/8 cup
Black Beans3/4 cup cooked15Limit to 1/6 cup
Broccoli1/2 cup cooked2.5Limit to ¾ cup
Brussel Sprouts1/2 cup cooked2Limit to 2 sprouts
Cantaloupe1/2 cup cubed1Low FODMAP
Chia Seeds1 tablespoon3.5Limit to 2 tablespoons
Clementine22.5Low FODMAP
Dragon Fruit1 (3.5 oz)3 Low FODMAP
Hazelnuts18 nuts3Limit to 10 nuts
Honey Dew1 cup, balls1.5Low FODMAP
Kidney Beans1/2 cup cooked5Avoid; High in fructans and GOS
Kiwis (seeds are more soluble sources)24Low FODMAP
Lentils1/2 cup cooked8Limit to ½ cup, canned
Lima Beans1/2 cup cooked6.5Limit to ¼ cup
Mission Fig22.5Avoid; high in fructans
Oats, regular or instant3/4 cup cooked3Limit to 1/2 cup uncooked
Orange1 medium3.5Low FODMAP
Papaya1 cup cubed1.5Low FODMAP
Passion Fruit1/2 cup12Limit to 2 fruits
Pear1 medium5.5Avoid; high in fructose and sorbitol
Psyllium1 tablespoon4Avoid; high in fructans and GOS
Pumpkin1 cup7Low FODMAP
Raspberries1 cup9Low FODMAP
Strawberries1 cup, halves3Low FODMAP
Sunflower Seeds (dry roasted without shell)2 ounces6Limit to 2 tablespoons
Sweet Potato 1/2 cup, baked3.5Limit to ½ cup
Tofu (extra firm)6 ounces (raw)1Limit to 2/3 cup firm or plain; avoid silken tofu
Turnip1/2 cup1.5Limit to ½ turnip

Sources: USDA Food Data Central; Calorie King; Monash University FODMAP Diet App

Insoluble Fiber-Rich Foods

FoodServing SizeTotal Dietary Fiber per Serving (both soluble and insoluble)Low FODMAP Considerations
Almonds12 almonds1.5 Limit to 10 nuts
Amaranth1/2 cup, cooked2.5Limit to 2/3 cup flour
Asparagus1/2 cup1Limit to ½ spear
Banana1 small2.5Limit to 1 medium unripe
Beet1 cup, slices1.5Limit to 2 thin slices (0.71 oz)
Blackberries1 cup7Limit to 1 small berry
Blueberries1 cup3.5Low FODMAP
Bok Choy1 cup0.5Limit to 1 cup
Brown Rice, medium grain1 cup cooked3.5Low FODMAP
Cabbage1/2 cup, cooked1.5Limit to ¾ cup red; limit to ½ cup green
Carrot1/2 cup, raw chopped3.5Low FODMAP
Cauliflower1 cup, cooked3.5Avoid, high in Mannitol
Cherries1 cup3Limit to 2 cherries
Couscous, whole wheat1/2 cup cooked5Avoid; High in fructans
Cucumber1 cup, chopped1Low FODMAP
Dates1/4 cup3.5Limit to 1/3 date
Flaxseed1 tablespoon, ground2Limit to 1 tablespoon
Grapes1 cup1.5Low FODMAP
Kiwi (the structure and skin are more soluble)1 medium2.5Limit to 2 small
Peppers, bell1 medium2.5Low FODMAP
Pineapple1 cup2Limit to ½ cup
Popcorn3.5 cups popped2Limit to 7 cups popped
Prunes21Avoid; high in fructans and sorbitol
Sorghum5 ounces, cooked9.5Low FODMAP
Spinach2 cups, raw1.5Low FODMAP
String Beans1 cup, cooked4Low FODMAP
Spinach2 cups, raw1.5Low FODMAP
String Beans1 cup, cooked4Low FODMAP
Wheat Germ2 tablespoons2Avoid; high in fructans and GOS
Whole Wheat Bread1 slice2Avoid; high in fructans and fructose
Whole Wheat Spaghetti1/2 cup, cooked2Limit to ½ cup cooked
Zucchini1 medium2Limit to 1/3 cup

Sources: USDA Food Data Central; Calorie King; Monash University FODMAP Diet App

IBS and fiber

After looking at this list, do you think you’re meeting your fiber needs? Do you need to increase or decrease soluble or insoluble fiber choices? Now that you have a clearer idea of how fiber and certain foods can impact your symptoms, hopefully, you’ll feel more confident about your food choices to help manage your IBS.

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