The irritable bowel syndrome diet / IBS Diet Plan is designed to reduce the symptoms of both constipation and diarrhea that are common with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The IBS diet is not designed for weight loss. Poor eating habits such as skipping meals, low intake of fibre and fluid, excessive fatty food intake, sensitivity to milk and other diary products and excessive caffeine and alcohol need to be addressed as a first step to helping relieve the symptoms of IBS. Beverages that contain artificial sweeteners sorbitol and mannitol, should also be avoided. The IBS diet is designed to avoid foods that tigger symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, and encourage the consumption of food that help correct diarrhea and constipation and reduce gas.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms in Women and Men
A person who suffering with IBS can experience:
Abdominal pain and cramping
Anxiety and Depression
The main symptoms are pain and discomfort of the abdomen, feeling bloated, having lots of gas, diarrhea, constipation, or alternating periods of both. The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can come and go, and over time they can vary in serverity in an individual.
If excessive gas/wind is a problem, then you should look at reducing 'windy vegetables', such as brocoli, cauliflower, cabbage and legumes including baked beans. These may be reintroducted once the symptoms have settled. Other cause of excessive flatulence could be carbonated soft drinks, so like food, fluid should be spread across the day.
Purpose of the Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diet
The purpose of the IBS diet is to give the individual more control over his or her symptoms of IBS and thus improve the quality of life. The challenge of this diet is twofold. First, constipation and diarrhea are opposite in their effect, yet they can appear in the same individual as part of the same disorder. Constipation occurs when food stays in the large intestine (colon) too long. Too much water is reabsorbed into the body, and the stool (waste) in the large intestine becomes hard, dry, and difficult or painful to eliminate. With diarrhea, food moves too quickly through the large intestine. Not enough water is reabsorbed. Stools are loose and watery, and the individual may feel extreme urgency to have a bowel movement.
The second challenge to this diet is that individuals with IBS may respond to the same food in different ways. The IBS diet is not a list of “must eat” and “must not eat” foods, but rather a group of suggested foods that the individual must personalize through trial and error. Keeping a food journal often helps the person with IBS to pinpoint which foods are beneficial and which worsen symptoms.
High-fiber/low-fat IBS diet
Dietary fiber is the collective name for a group of indigestible carbohydrate-based compounds found in plants. They are the materials that give the plant rigidity and structure. The IBS diet is a high fiber/ low fat diet. The role of fiber is crucial in controlling the quality of stool in the colon, while reducing the consumption of fat is both healthy and avoids counteracting the actions of fiber. Fiber is also called roughage or bulk.
Two types of fiber are important to human health, insoluble fiber and soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is fiber that moves through the digestive system essentially unchanged. It is not digested, and it does not provide energy (calories). What fiber does is provide bulk to stool that helps it move through the large intestine. It also traps water, which helps the stool remain soft and easy to eliminate. In people with diarrhea, it can help trap excess water.
Studies find that the average American eats only 5-14 grams of fiber daily, but the recommended amounts are much higher. The United States Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences has issued the following daily Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDIs) for fiber.
• men age 50 and younger: 38 grams
• women age 50 and younger: 25 grams
• men age 51 and older: 30 grams
• women age 51 and older: 21 grams
• children: 5 grams plus at least one gram for every year of age
To follow the IBS diet, individuals should gradually increase their consumption of fiber to meet or exceed the RDI. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include:
• whole grains and foods made of whole grains, such as whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta, couscous, or bulgur
• bran and bran breakfast cereals
• brown rice
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. This gel helps keep stool soft. Good sources of insoluble fiber include:
• oatmeal and foods made with oats
• foods such as chili or split pea soup that contain dried beans and peas
• citrus fruits
The total amount of fiber per serving must be listed on food labels in the United States. In 2007, regulations were under consideration that that would require soluble dietary fiber to be listed separately. A good list of rich-fiber foods can be found at www.lemondietdetox.com/fiber-rich-foods.html. Most foods that are high in fiber are naturally low in fat.
People who have trouble consuming enough fiber and are still having difficulty with IBS symptoms can ask their doctor about bulk-forming or fiber supplement laxatives. These supplements are quite safe, although they should not be used for long periods unless directed by a doctor because the colon will become dependent on them to move stool. Some common brand names of fiber-supplement laxatives are Metamucil, Citrocel, Fiberall, Konsyl, and Serutan.
These must be taken with water. They provide extra fiber that absorbs intestinal water and helps keep the stool soft. The extra bulk also helps move materials through the colon.
Low residue/low fat IBS diet
For some people, the high fiber/low fat diet controls both constipation and diarrhea. For others, the high fiber foods trigger diarrhea. These individuals may have better control of diarrhea on the low fiber/ low residue diet. This diet substitutes cooked fruits and vegetables for raw ones and reduces the amount of whole-grain products. Along with these changes, the individual chooses a variety of low-fat foods.
Some foods that help control diarrhea on the low residue IBS diet include:
• apple sauce
• low-fat mashed potatoes
• grated apples without the skin
• cream of rice
• smooth peanut butter
Other eating tips to control diarrhea are:
• Consume food and drink at room temperature rather than at hot temperatures
• Drink liquids between meals rather than with meals
• Limit dairy products
• Rest after meals. This slows down the digestive process
Because symptoms and triggers for IBS vary greatly, these diets are starting points for individuals to develop their own list of foods that control their individual symptoms. Keeping a food journal that records what was eaten and what caused symptoms can speed the development of a personalized IBS diet.
Benefits of IBD High Fibre/Low Fat Diet
In addition to controlling symptoms, the IBD high fiber/low fat diet has several other benefits.
• A high fiber/low fat diet has been proven in large studies to lower cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are directly related to heart disease
• A high fiber diet appears to help prevent type 2 diabetes
• A high fiber diet helps prevent diverticulitis. In this disease, sections of the intestine bulge out to form pockets called diverticuli that can collect food and become infected. Increased fiber helps materials move more easily through the intestine and not become trapped in these pockets.
• The increased bulk of high-fiber foods helps people feel full faster, so they may eat less, resulting in weight loss
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