Food & IBS

Gluten has become a popular and confusing topic recently. What does it have to do with IBS?

Celiac Sprue is an autoimmune disease that fewer than 1 in 100 people have. People with this disorder have an immune response to the gluten protein found in wheat and need to eliminate gluten from their diets. IBS and RAP are different from Celiac disease in that they are not progressive autoimmune diseases. A strict gluten-free diet is not required for IBS. However, many people with IBS (and without) notice that they feel better when they reduce wheat in their diet. We explain why in Chapter 8 and how to exclude Celiac Sprue.

Is dairy bad for IBS?

Lactose intolerance affects approximately 20% of the population. This means they lack the enzyme or a sufficient amount of the enzyme needed to break down lactose into simple sugars to be absorbed by the gut.  We explain the role of lactose intolerance in IBS and how to manage it.

Could the symptoms be from a food allergy?

Food allergies occur less than 5% of the time and we explain how to identify the problem.

Should we track all the foods we eat to see what is causing the IBS?

Being aware of what you are putting into your body is a good thing. However, tracking every food and every symptom can lead children to be obsessed with identifying food as the culprit, which, besides sugary and fatty foods, it usually is not.  A food that seems to trigger symptoms one day, may not the next. After reducing sugary and fatty foods, you can help your child eat according to her/his symptoms (see menus in Chapter 8) and by eating a diet that includes a variety of whole foods.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why is it so hard to eat?

The gut may not be ready early in the morning, and poor sleep patterns leave the stomach very sensitive. See what should be done to manage problems that start with breakfast in Chapter 8 describing how and what to eat.

The food issue is so confusing, so what should we avoid and what should we eat?

The best research shows that avoiding too much fructose will help. There is also good evidence that following the low-FODMAP diet helps, especially with gas and bloating.  See what foods to avoid to improve pain and gas in Chapter 8.