Fighting IBS by Reading Food Labels

Part of the IBS Cookbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Checking ingredient lists on food labels for everything you buy and eat is crucial to controlling IBS; the label can help identify possible IBS trigger foods. Look for simple ingredient lists — the fewer ingredients, the better.

Keep an eye out for the items on the following list that may trigger your IBS. Be especially careful of ingredients that appear in brackets; they usually contain sub-ingredients that you want to examine, too.

  • Any specific item you know triggers your symptoms: IBS is an individual disease, so ingredients that may be benign to others can set off alarm bells for you.

  • Chemicals such as propylene glycol alginate, artificial coloring, BVO, BHT, BHA, artificial flavoring, mycoprotein (processed mold), neotame, olestra, and sulfites: Each of these chemicals and concoctions has potential bowel-irritating and allergic side effects that can affect different people in different ways.

  • MSG, or glutamate, yeast, and textured protein, which may also contain MSG: MSG is a neurotoxin; if you have an irritated gut, it may absorb MSG faster.

  • Artificial sweeteners: Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet), sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), and sorbitol can cause such wide variety of side effects that all of them can’t be listed here. Note that items labeled “sugar-free” usually contain artificial sweeteners.

  • Trans fats: Trans fats can cause diarrhea and high cholesterol. Items labeled “low-fat” are often high in sugar to make up for the flavor lost from the reduced fat content and therefore feed intestinal yeast and bacteria leading to gas and bloating.

  • High fructose corn syrup: It feeds yeast in the gut adding to gas and bloating.

  • Any sugar in the –ose family (such as fructose, sucrose, maltose, and glucose): These, too, feed yeast causing gas and bloating.

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IBS Cookbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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