There is no general diet that works for every individual with irritable bowel syndrome, states the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. However, certain foods containing insoluble fiber, caffeine, chocolate and nuts should be avoided as they are most likely to cause problems.
Meals may trigger IBS symptoms more than eating a particular food, reports the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. For that reason, the foundation suggests certain meal plans focused on how IBS patients eat, rather than what they eat.
For example, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders recommends that IBS patients eat five to six small, regularly scheduled meals throughout the day. The foundation also suggests that IBS patients eat slowly and not rush through meals. IBS sufferers should also avoid large meals or high-fat foods, as these over-stimulate the gastrointestinal system. In addition, constipated IBS sufferers should make sure to eat breakfast, as this meal helps stimulate the colon.
Although the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders reports that there is no general IBS meal plan, WebMD states that eliminating specific carbohydrates from the diet may help up to three out of four people with IBS. These types of carbohydrates, abbreviated as FODMAPs, are fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans and polyols, explains WebMD. Various foods containing FODMAPs include garlic, onions, dairy, high-fructose corn syrup, apples and cherries.