IBS Trigger Foods to Avoid

foods-to-avoid-ibsIBS symptoms can be triggered by a variety of foods, and different foods affect different IBS patients in different ways.  Figuring out which foods trigger your symptoms is basically a matter of trial and error, but here are some of the most common IBS trigger foods to try and avoid.

Milk & Dairy

Often wreaking havoc on IBS patients’ digestive tracks, the most common IBS trigger foods in this group include:

  • Cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Sour cream
  • Prepared foods containing dairy (mashed potatoes, puddings, creamy sauces and soups, etc.)
  • Yogurt/frozen yogurt


Typical offenders within this group of IBS trigger foods include barbecue sauces, ketchup and chutneys; pickles and relishes.


Containing powerful antioxidants which can be helpful in improving circulation and lowering blood pressure, chocolate (and in particular dark chocolate) can unfortunately also trigger both migraines and IBS symptoms in some individuals.

Red Meat & Fatty Foods

Common IBS trigger foods in this particular group include steaks and beef burgers; cold cuts, sausages and hotdogs; French fries, fried fish or meat, doughnuts, etc. If these foods affect you, you should switch to fish, poultry and lean meats and use other methods than frying to prepare them.

Alcoholic, Caffeinated and Carbonated Drinks

Coffee, tea and most fizzy drinks can trigger IBS symptoms, as can alcoholic beverages.

Onions & Garlic

Allium vegetables, which include onions, garlic and leeks; spring onions, and so on are great for flavouring dishes, but the fact that they are renowned IBS trigger foods means you may have to switch to alternative flavouring options, such as, for instance, fresh or dried herbs; olive oil and/or simple sauces that do not trigger your symptoms.

Beans, Lentils and Other Pulses

Often difficult to digest, this group of IBS trigger foods can cause bloating and gas; cramps and diarrhoea. These effects can sometimes be reduced by soaking pulses overnight, then using fresh water to boil them.


Fructose in honey, dried fruit and fruit/fruit juices, as well as high fructose corn syrup; sweeteners including mannitol, malitol, sorbitol and xylitol and fruits high in sorbitol can all trigger symptoms. Fruits with a naturally high sorbitol content include, for example, apples, apricots and cherries; nectarines, peaches and pears; plums and prunes.

Gluten (Wheat)

The protein known as gluten, which is contained in wheat/wheat flour can be difficult to digest. Common food items containing gluten include all baked goods, cereals and crackers; pasta and, of course, both whole wheat and white bread.

Raw & Cruciferous Vegetables

All raw vegetables can trigger IBS attacks, but particularly common IBS trigger foods include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussel sprouts; cauliflower and cabbage, all of which can cause problems even when cooked.

Foods that are High in Insoluble Fibre

Difficult to digest, insoluble fibre is a well-known culprit when it comes to IBS trigger foods. High-fibre breakfast breads and cereals; wheat bran and whole wheat pasta are all high in insoluble fibre, as are whole grain crackers and breads; wheat germ, popcorn and bulgur; quinoa, millet and amaranth, as well as seeds and whole nuts.


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