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Have you ever eaten something and then regretted it the minute after because it just didn’t sit right with your stomach? As much as you can love to eat your favorite food, it could be the underlying cause of the unpleasant side effects that plague the rest of your day, especially if you’re suffering from IBS. Sometimes, it’s the things we love the most that hurt us the most, so here are the 10 Most Extreme Bubble Gut Foods That Triggers IBS.

10. Garlic And Onions

For a lot of people, garlic is like the holy grail of ingredients for any recipe. Some even claim that there can never be “too much garlic.” As much as it can be flavorful and versatile, it might not be the best choice if you’re trying to avoid the good old “after meal bloating.” Sure, it comes with a list of health benefits, like reducing your blood pressure or helping to combat things like the common cold, but it’s also filled with fructans; a polymer of fructose. Fructans are basically a type of carbohydrate that is not easily digested and can trigger an array of symptoms in people with IBS. Sadly, it’s the same with onions, as they contain the same carbohydrate. Since they’re both extremely flavorful and are used in a lot of things, it can be hard to replace them – or even want to give them up at all. If you’re not willing to say goodbye to the satisfying taste of your favorite vegetables, then not all hope is lost. There are a lot of clever alternatives available, so you can get all the flavors without all the pain. For instance, you can grab a garlic or onion infused olive oil the next time you cook. Or even consider using chives instead of onions or using ginger and fennel to add flavor – which can both help your stomach to chill. The point is, there are a ton of herbs and spices out there to try and replace the delicious and comforting taste of garlic in a recipe. 

9. Wheat

This one might not be such a surprise, yet a lot of people with IBS sometimes forget that they’re not supposed to eat it. Wheat is in so many things; we often tend not to remember what has it and what doesn’t. Breads, breakfast cereal, and basically any type of pastries usually have wheat in them, which makes finding sweets a little harder. Those with IBS have often observed that after cutting gluten from their diet, they experienced some relief from the undesirable side effects. For those who might not know, gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale that can cause bloating, pain, and even worse symptoms if you have a true allergy or intolerance. While gluten has often been the number one suspect, recent studies have shown that some other compounds found in wheat and other grains are also at fault. Like what, you ask? Well, the fructans, which when broken down by intestinal bacteria, can produce IBS-like symptoms. So the culprit? Not always gluten! If you don’t want to get rid of your precious bread, it’s totally understandable. You can always try to get rid of the refined grains first and see if the symptoms improve, like by opting for 100% whole grains or wheat-free products. You can still enjoy your morning toast or your midnight sandwich; just make sure you choose your slice wisely. 

8. Carbonated Drinks

Irritable Bowel Syndrome affects the large intestine and is accompanied by an array of symptoms, each more unpleasant than the last. One of the most common ones is bloating, which can happen anytime you eat or drink something that triggers your IBS. For the soda lovers, this one is going to hurt. If you’ve ever noticed feeling bloated after drinking a soda or any type of bubbly, fizzy drink, you might want to ditch this habit and start drinking water instead. While it may not cause IBS directly, it will definitely flare-up the symptoms and make matters worse. The carbonation puts you at risk for excessive gassiness, which can irritate your IBS, and most likely make you feel like you have a bunch of pop rocks in your stomach. Not only will it make the bloating even more intense, but it will also make your overall health poorer in the long run. If you feel like water is too boring of an alternative for you, then worry not; there are a lot of other things you can drink that will still give you that little pep in your step. Tea is probably your best bet, as it can relax abdominal muscles, relieve cramps, as well as help your digestion. Unless you’re willing to spend the rest of the day gassy, steer clear of anything carbonated, you’ll thank us later! 

7. Some Vegetables

Okay, everybody knows that vegetables are supposed to be good for you – the key words here being “supposed to.” In general, vegetables are extremely healthy and pack a lot of nutrients. However, some of those nutrient powerhouses have been proven to cause a lot of trouble to people suffering from IBS. Cruciferous vegetables – a mouthful, I know –  aren’t the best option for people with sensitive stomachs. They contain raffinose, a complex sugar that the body has trouble digesting. They’re also rich in soluble fiber, which doesn’t break down until reaching the small intestine and can cause unwanted gas. These veggies include the very popular broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, and kale – to name a few. The worst part about this news is that these vegetables are actually full of other healthy vitamins and fiber! They’re meant to be good for us, not cause any harm. But, all good things have their down side, apparently. If your IBS is specifically sensitive, you might have to forgo the roasted Brussel sprouts at Christmas this year. But, you can still enjoy some non-gas-inducing vegetables to replace them. Spinach, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, beets, and even sweet potatoes are all fine choices. 

6. Processed Food

Most of us eat processed foods every day, sometimes without even realizing it. From potato chips to a slice of cheese, our diet is full of it. Processed food includes anything that’s been cooked, canned, frozen, packaged, or changed in nutritional composition. Sometimes, food is processed to retain its nutritional value and to make it last longer which can be categorized as “minimally processed.” However, sometimes it’s not processed for the best and can actually have nefarious effects on you – whether you have IBS or not. These ultra-processed foods – no matter how delicious they might be – are often high in fat and contain a lot of additives and preservatives, usually used to enhance the flavor, color, or texture of the food. All of which can irritate the gut even more and trigger IBS symptoms. Food additives are also major contributors to obesity, insulin resistance, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. So, not just IBS, but a whole bunch of conditions. A diet made up of processed foods can increase the frequency and the severity of symptoms, so it’s best to avoid them altogether. If you’re a fan of chicken nuggets, cakes, and donuts, or of food that comes in a bag or a box, like cookies and crackers, you’re best to avoid them and find some real, nutritious food to curb your appetite. 

5. Dairy

This one is probably not that much of a surprise since most people know how much of an undesirable effect dairy can have on some people. Most adults are actually lactose intolerant, so most people aren’t total strangers to the feelings of IBS following a glass of cold milk. About 70 percent of adults worldwide do not produce enough lactase, an intestinal enzyme that helps break down the sugar in milk. While IBS and lactose-intolerance can seem similar and have nearly identical symptoms, they are, in fact, different. There are many reasons why dairy can be a problem for those suffering from IBS. First of all, dairy is full of fat, which can contribute to some stomach discomfort, like gas and bloating. In some cases, switching to nonfat dairy can do the trick and reduce the symptoms. Other times, it doesn’t work, and dairy has to be cut out entirely. Thankfully, yogurt doesn’t typically fall into this category of harmful products, thanks to the natural bacteria (probiotics) it contains. They can even help ease IBS symptoms instead of triggering them. There are also some hard cheeses that are less problematic, and some even completely free of lactose. If you don’t want to anger your IBS, maybe looking for lactose-free options would be best. You can go with almond, oat, or even soy alternatives and replace butter with olive oil. 

4. Sugar Alcohols 

Who doesn’t want to have fresh, minty breath all day long? Right before an important meeting or a very special dinner, we’ve all taken a piece of gum, some mints, or even mouthwash to refresh our breath. However, if you have IBS, you might want to reconsider your options. In most products like these, there is a noticeable amount of sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, and xylitol. Not only do they sound like they can do a lot of damage, but they actually can. These artificial sweeteners are part of a family of carbohydrates called polyols, a sugar replacer. Sugar alcohols have been popular alternatives to sugar for decades and are found in a lot of everyday products, like fruits and vegetables. They look and taste like sugar but have fewer calories and fewer negative health effects. But, the only problem is, they are resistant to digestion, meaning they often lead to bloating and other types of discomfort for people with IBS. Actually, it’s best to avoid sugar alcohols and other artificial sweeteners, no matter if you have IBS or not. We cannot digest most of them, so they travel to the large intestine, where they are metabolized by your gut bacteria. The best option? Go with a little natural sweetener instead. It might take a while to get used to the taste at first, but once you get there, you’ll see just how much more beneficial it is for you and your stomach! 

3. Caffeine

If you’re one of those people who needs at least one cup of coffee in the morning before you can get anything done, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Coffee in the morning is practically a religious ritual for almost everybody, and people aren’t exactly ready to give it up yet, and that’s totally fine! Unless you have IBS. Then, things might be a little different for you. As you all know, coffee – and caffeine in general – is what we take when we’re in need of a stimulant and need to get moving. However, if you live with IBS, it might make things move a little faster than you’re comfortable with. Caffeine will speed up the bowel activity for just about anyone but will be even worse for those with IBS. The major symptoms will worsen, especially if you have more than one cup. The thing is, it’s not just coffee. It’s also caffeinated tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate. That’s a lot of things to say goodbye to. But, as it turns out, you usually don’t have to mourn these for very long as they can be gradually added back slowly and in moderation. So, most of the time, a couple of weeks off the stuff and some very controlled portions will be enough to allow you to get your daily oat milk latte back. 

2. Beans And Legumes

It’s a well-known fact that beans and legumes are a great source of protein and fiber, and in general, can be good for digestion – for some people. For other more sensitive people, it can be an absolute nightmare. If you have IBS, it might be best to avoid that second bowl of chili if you don’t want to end up bloated or stuck in the bathroom for the rest of the day. It’s all thanks to yet, another type of indigestible carbohydrate called oligosaccharides. When the bacteria reach our large intestine and start to break the stuff down, it creates excess gas and bloating, which is never very fun. While it can increase gas and bloat, it can also increase bulk in the stool which leads to constipation. Obviously, the amount of this devilish carb varies between bean varieties, so if you really must have some, you should stick to a small amount, just to be safe. However, baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, and soybeans are the ones with the highest amount. There are some ways to minimize the negative effects of beans on people with IBS, and really with just about anybody. For canned beans, they need to be rinsed well before cooking. For dried beans, a little 24-hour soak should do the trick. But, the absolute best way to not get bubble gut? Don’t go near beans!

1. Fatty And Fried Foods

Alright, eating fried foods is never good. No one has ever claimed that eating a deep-fried-anything was good for you or your body. We know that. But, sometimes it’s just so good, we can’t help ourselves. But, people with IBS should try and minimize, as much as possible, their relationship with fried and fatty foods. In a lot of cases, fat seems to be exacerbating IBS symptoms, mainly because it is a strong stimulus of colonic contractions. Fat also slows digestion, which can lead to classic IBS symptoms like bloating, but also cause others like nausea, acid reflux, and stomach pain. Anything from pizza, french fries, fried chicken, and fatty meats will need to be rethought long and hard before being consumed. It’s not necessary to completely cut them from your diet, but a little moderation and portion control should probably be implemented. Instead of indulging in a greasy meal, try to replace it with other types of fat – mono and polyunsaturated fat – aka, the good kind of fats. These foods include olive oil and olives, eggs, nuts, seeds, and avocado. That means you can still have your avocado toast on your wheat-free bread in the morning, no problem. 

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