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How to Enjoy Chinese Food without Triggering IBS Symptoms

A meal of Chinese food is exciting when you have IBS because you have lots of choices, but one big drawback is that the biggest flavor enhancer in Chinese food is MSG, which is often built into the sauces that you order.

Pay close attention to what your server says. If you’ve asked him for your food to have no MSG, he may repeat back “No added MSG,” which likely means you’re still getting some MSG in your sauces, soups, and prepared items like egg rolls.

Favorites like egg rolls, spring rolls, and wontons are usually meat and/or vegetables wrapped in a flour pastry and deep fried. They’re tasty (that’s why they’re favorites), but they may not be the best choice for your IBS.

Sweet-and-sour pork is breaded, deep fried, and smothered in a sugary sauce, which can present all sorts of triggers. And don’t forget that Chinese staple soy sauce — it contains wheat and sugar that may set off your symptoms.

Your best dish may be a simple bowl of steamed rice with stir-fried meat, chicken, or fish and vegetables. Some Chinese soups can be quite simple; for example, egg drop soup is a broth with threads of egg and peas (just make sure it doesn’t also include MSG).

You may also be able to get some plain rice noodles on the side or that you can dip into your soup. Moo shu meals can be another good choice because they come with lettuce leaves that you can fill with the marinated meat and vegetable mixture.

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