Individuals with irritable bowel syndrome should eat a larger number of smaller meals spread throughout the day, according to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Because eating activates the digestive tract, which is over-responsive in the case of IBS sufferers, eating less at one time can reduce the symptoms’ severity. Individuals with IBS should be especially cautious to avoid meals that are high in fat, as well as certain foods and drinks, such as chocolate, nuts, alcohol and caffeine.
The appropriateness of any given diet varies from person to person, and so individuals with IBS should maintain a diary of their diets, symptoms, and other factors, such as stress-related causes and medications, in order help understand the impact of each food and intake pattern, notes the IFFGD. Dietary regimens can also depend on whether the case of IBS includes diarrhea, constipation or both. Individuals with diarrhea should avoid gas-inducing foods, including dairy products, beans, peas, legumes and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage, explains WebMD. Individuals with constipation should boost fiber with fruits, vegetables and whole-grain breads and cereals.
Many individuals with IBS also follow the a low-FODMAP diet, which focuses on cutting oligosaccharides, polyols, fructose and lactose, reports the IFFGD. Humans' intestinal systems struggle with breaking down or absorbing each of these carbohydrates, and so their consumption creates digestive issues.