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Surprising Sources of Major IBS Triggers

Food sensitivities and IBS triggers are hard to avoid when problem ingredients hide out in places you never expect to find them. How can you eliminate something from your diet when you don’t even know that it’s in your food? Yelling “Come out, come out, wherever you are!” doesn’t work on food, so this appendix helps you uncover some of the secret hideaways of sugar, gluten, lactose, and casein.

Sussing out hidden sugar

If eliminating sugar from your diet is important for your individualized IBS treatment, you need to know where all the sugar is lurking. Manufacturers of packaged food have been known to use different types of sugar in their sweet concoctions to spread the sugary ingredients throughout the ingredient list.

The first ingredient on the label list is the most prominent single ingredient in the product. But if manufacturers include sugar through many different ingredients, they may be able to load the product with sugar without tipping off casual label readers who assume that if sugar was the main ingredient, it would be first on the list.

To hunt down all the sugar in your pantry, check your labels carefully for these other words:

  • Amasake

  • Apple sugar

  • Barbados sugar

  • Bark sugar

  • Barley malt or barley malt syrup

  • Beet sugar

  • Brown rice syrup

  • Brown sugar

  • Cane juice or sugar

  • Carbitol

  • Caramelized foods

  • Carmel coloring

  • Carmel sugars

  • Concentrated fruit juice

  • Corn sweetener or syrup

  • Date sugar

  • Dextrin

  • Dextrose

  • Diglycerides

  • Disaccharides

  • D-tagalose

  • Evaporated cane juice

  • Florida crystals

  • Fructooligosaccharides (FOS)

  • Fructose

  • Fruit juice concentrate

  • Galactose

  • Glucitol

  • Glucoamine

  • Gluconolactone

  • Glucose, glucose polymers, or glucose syrup

  • Glycerides

  • Glycerine

  • Glycerol

  • Glycol

  • Hexitol

  • High-fructose corn syrup

  • Honey

  • Inversol

  • Invert sugar

  • Isomalt

  • Lactose

  • Levulose

  • Light or lite sugar

  • Malitol

  • Malt dextrin

  • Malted barley

  • Maltodextrins

  • Maltodextrose

  • Maltose

  • Malts

  • Mannitol

  • Mannose

  • Maple syrup

  • Microcrystalline cellulose

  • Molasses

  • Monoglycerides

  • Monosaccarides

  • Nectars

  • Pentose

  • Polydextrose

  • Polyglycerides

  • Powdered sugar

  • Raisin juice

  • Raisin syrup

  • Raw sugar

  • Ribose rice syrup

  • Rice malt

  • Rice sugar or sweeteners

  • Rice syrup solids

  • Saccharides

  • Sorbitol

  • Sorghum

  • Sucanat or sucanet

  • Sucrose

  • Sugar cane

  • Trisaccharides

  • Turbinado sugar

  • Unrefined sugar

  • White sugar

  • Xylitol

  • Zylose

Getting to the gluten

Avoiding gluten is a must for people with celiac disease, but it’s also a great guideline to follow if you have IBS symptoms that you’ve associated with anything on the following list.

Never fear if you discover your favorite product on this list. You can find gluten-free versions of many products at gluten-free stores and online.

  • Beer

  • Bread and breadcrumbs

  • Biscuits

  • Cereal

  • Communion wafers

  • Cookies, cakes, cupcakes, donuts, muffins, pastries, pie crusts, brownies, and baked goods

  • Cornbread

  • Crackers

  • Croutons

  • Gravies, sauces, and roux

  • Imitation seafood (for example, crab)

  • Licorice

  • Marinades (especially teriyaki)

  • Pasta

  • Pizza crust

  • Pretzels

  • Soy sauce

  • Stuffing

Digging for disguised lactose

You may have an IBS reaction to lactose and dairy products regardless of whether you’re officially lactose intolerant. Double check your food labels for signs of lactose, including milk, whey, cream, and milk solids, and watch out for the following foods:

  • Biscuits

  • Boiled sweets

  • Cake (especially cake containing cream filling)

  • Cheese

  • Chocolate

  • Cream

  • Ice Cream

  • Instant mashed potatoes

  • Mayonnaise

  • Milk

  • Peanut butter

  • Some pharmaceutical pills

  • Salad dressing

  • Yogurt

Catching up to casein

Casein is a protein found in all types of milk and used as a binder in many foods. It is also used in the production of plastics, nail polish, paint, glue and cosmetics. Some casein aliases you may find on your food labels include milk solids, sodium caseinate, caseinogen, and caseinate. In addition, you typically find casein in the following foods:

  • Bakery glazes

  • Breath mints

  • Chicken sausages

  • Coffee whiteners/creamers

  • Fortified cereals

  • Frankfurters

  • High-protein beverage powders

  • Ice cream

  • Infant formulas

  • Luncheon meats

  • Nutrition bars

  • Pâtés

  • Processed meats

  • Salad dressings

  • Soy products

  • Vienna sausages

  • Whipped toppings

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