Foods That Trigger IBS

Foods That Trigger IBS Symptoms in the Body

Foods that trigger IBS should be avoided by suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Some of these foods include dairy, fried food, gluten, etc.

In case you have no idea about what Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is, let’s enlighten you on it. IBS is a common disorder that affects the stomach and intestines, also known as the gastrointestinal tract.


Some of its symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea constipation, or both.

IBS is a chronic condition that you will need to manage in the long term so eating foods that trigger IBS should be avoided.


As a person with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), if you notice that certain foods trigger uncomfortable digestive symptoms you need to stop eating the food.

Foods That Trigger IBS

Below are some of the foods that trigger IBS symptoms in the body when consumed:

1. Sweeteners

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Sugars and sweeteners such as Honey, and high fructose corn syrup, present in many processed foods, artificial sweeteners, such as sorbitol, maltitol, or xylitol, and anything containing a sweetener that ends in “-ol” may trigger symptoms of IBS.

Additionally, chewing gum that is made up of these sweeteners leads to more swallowed air and gassiness.


2. Milk

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Milk and other lactose-containing foods like cheese and ice cream can trigger gas and bloating in individuals with lactose intolerance.

Approximately 70% of adults globally lack significant amounts of lactase, an intestinal enzyme crucial for breaking down milk sugar.

The absence of this enzyme leads to undigested lactose passing into the colon, where bacteria fermentation occurs, causing gas.

Although dairy products typically provoke discomfort in some with IBS, yogurt stands out as an exception.

The live cultures present in yogurt aid in lactose breakdown, reducing the likelihood of causing gassy symptoms.

3. Fried foods

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Fried foods

Foods that are fried contain high levels of fat, which can pose challenges for the digestive system, especially for individuals with IBS.

The process of frying alters the chemical composition of food, potentially making it tougher to digest. Consuming fried foods may result in discomforting digestive symptoms and could potentially contribute to health issues.

Opting for healthier cooking methods like grilling, baking, or air-frying your favorite foods can offer more digestive-friendly alternatives.

4. Garlic and onions

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Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions are among the foods that trigger IBS, even with their flavorful additions to dishes.

They contain fructans, an oligosaccharide that can pose challenges for your intestines in terms of breakdown, potentially leading to gas.

Raw garlic and onions have the potential to cause uncomfortable gas and cramping. Even when cooked, these foods can act as triggers for certain individuals with IBS.

5. Foods High in Fructose

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Foods High in Fructose

High fructose corn syrup, commonly found in processed foods, sweets, snacks, and soft drinks, can exacerbate symptoms of IBS. However, it’s not the sole culprit for discomfort or bloating.

Interestingly, certain nutritious foods like apples, pears, and dried fruits naturally contain high levels of fructose.

Consumption of these fruits can lead to similar reactions as undigested lactose. Opting for fruits with lower fructose content, such as berries, citrus, and bananas, might be a wider choice for individuals with IBS.


6.  Ultra-processed foods

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Ultra-processed foods

Foods that undergo extensive processing typically have elevated levels of sugar, fat, and various components that can potentially provoke IBS symptoms in certain individuals.

Some professionals suggest a possible association between ultra-processed foods and the onset or exacerbation of IBS.

7. Cruciferous vegetables

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Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables pose a digestion challenge and can potentially trigger IBS symptoms. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

Digesting these foods prompts gas and constipation, affecting individuals both with and without IBS.

Cooking these vegetables can facilitate digestion, so opting for roasted or sautéed versions of broccoli and cauliflower might be preferable if raw consumption causes digestive discomfort.

8. Carbonated Beverages

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Carbonated Beverages

As the bubbles found in beverages such as soda and seltzer can create a similar fizzy reaction in the digestive system, it’s best to opt for water and lactose-free milk to satisfy your thirst.

And when considering adding juice to your drink options, keep in mind that fruit-based drinks often contain high levels of fructose!

9. Alcohol

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Alcohol is among the foods that trigger IBS symptoms due to its impact on digestion and potential dehydration effects on the body.

Beer, often containing gluten, might exacerbate symptoms, while wines and mixed drinks can be high in sugar, posing additional concerns for individuals with IBS.

Restricting alcoholic intake could alleviate IBS-related symptoms. If you choose to drink, opting for gluten-free beer or beverages mixed with plain seltzer (without artificial sweeteners or added sugar) might be more favorable for managing symptoms.

10. Caffeine

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Caffeine has the potential to worsen diarrhea, a significant symptom of IBS.

Common high-caffeine sources encompass coffee, tea; cola drinks, chocolate, and specific over-the-counter pain medications intended for headache relief. Be vigilant and check product labels for caffeine content.

11. Insoluble fiber

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Insoluble fiber

Dietary fiber contributes bulk to the diet and generally promotes gut health, present in various amounts in most plant foods—some rich in either insoluble or soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is abundant in beans, fruits, and oat products, while insoluble fiber is prevalent in whole grain products and vegetables.

Individual tolerance to fiber varies. In some, foods rich in insoluble fiber might exacerbate IBS symptoms, while others may not experience such issues.

Conversely, foods high in soluble fiber might alleviate symptoms for many with IBS but could provoke problems in others.

The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) suggests the use of fiber supplements like psyllium as an effective and cost-efficient treatment for IBS.


Knowing your body’s reactions to different foods is key also being able to identify those that make you feel your best and limit those causing discomfort.

Maintaining a food and symptom journal can assist in recognizing which foods to include or avoid.

Seeking guidance from a registered dietitian can provide valuable support for managing your diet in relation to IBS.

IBS, is a gastrointestinal disorder that can bring about discomfort, with diet playing a role in triggering or worsening symptoms.

You can stay away from foods that trigger IBS symptoms as well to enjoy your meals, whether at home or dining out.