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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is an ideal diet for someone with irritable bowel syndrome?

    I'm a long time sufferer of IBS and often my stomach is so bloated that i have to wear loose fitting clothes. What is the best diet and foods to help manage this?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 3


    Courtney Bates

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Courtney is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD), Accredited Nutritionist (AN) and member of the Dietitians Australia. She runs her own online practice Healthy Bods Nutrition. … View Profile

    The low FODMAP diet has been shown to be effective in keeping bloating, diarrhoea and wind at bay in people with IBS. The low FODMAP diet aims to reduce the number of short chain carbohydrates in the diet, which are poorly absorbed. These foods include wheat, rye, legumes/ lentils, lactose, many fruits and vegetables with excess fructose, onion, garlic, honey and sugar alcohols. 

    Other ways to help manage IBS include taking probiotics, avoiding excessive fat, caffeine or alcohol, daily exercise and reducing stress. Probiotics, namely lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, are friendly bacteria.

    I think you may benefit from consulting an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) for a more tailored low FODMAP meal plan ensuring adequate fibre and inclusion of all food groups.

    Courtney Dinnerville
    Accredited Practising Dietitian

  • 1



    HealthShare Member

    Thank you for introducing the ‘FODMAP diet’ to me, I just did a google search and there is a lot of information that comes up. This is a keyword search I would not have known on my own. Thank you. x

  • Lyn Christian


    As a Naturopath and Nutritionist I am passionate about the promotion of health using functional foods to correct nutrient imbalances.All health conditions need to be … View Profile

    Courtney has stated well the facts regarding the FODMAP diet for IBS.

    • Irritable Bowel Syndrome may be constipation-dominant, diarrhoea-dominant or sometimes a combination of the two. Removal of known food allergens or food irritants is imperative in all cases.
    • The most common food allergens are dairy, wheat, corn, peanuts, citrus, soy, eggs and tomatoes.
    • An elimination/challenge trial may be helpful in uncovering food sensitivities. Remove all suspected allergens from the diet for two weeks. Add in one food every three days and wait for a reaction which may include digestive upset, headache, fatigue, flushing, or worsening of symptoms. Food Intolerance tests will quickly uncover offending foods.
    • Fibre supplementation helps reduce abdominal pain, cramping, and gas. Try 1 tablespoon of Slippery elm powder or Melrose Omega Fibre added to juice or mixed through gluten free cereal. Following the FODMAP diet reduces fermentable carbohydrates which are the major cause of bloating.
    • Foods and beverages to be avoided or minimised include red meat, fried products, dairy, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, carbonated beverages and artificial sweeteners.
    • If dairy hs been eliminated then Calcium levels can be maintained with canned sardines or salmon, raw nuts and seeds especially sesame and sunflower seeds and soy products.
    • Seek the advice of a Nutritionist to ensure that your diet meets your nutritional requirements if you are removing whole food groups.
    • Probiotics work wonders for IBS and as Courtney has stated some strains work particularly well for IBS symptoms. Lactobacillus acidophilus (CUL21 & CUL60 strains), Bifidobacterium bifidum (CUL20 strain) and B. lactis (CUL34 strain) and 299v strain of Lactobacillus plantarum are recommended.
    • Daily exercise and stress reduction are two major contributors to managing IBS.

  • Denise Burbidge

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Denise is an Accredited Practising Dietitian working in private practice in Melbourne, and consulting to aged care facilities throughout Victoria. Denise has a particular interest … View Profile

    When thinking about planning a diet suitable to manage symptoms of irritible bowel syndrome many people jump to the conclusion of a low FODMAP diet. While this is the answer for many there are a number of other dietary considerations to take into account.
    The low FODMAP diet as mentioned by others involves removing or limiting fermentable carbohydrates from the diet that instead of being absorbed in the small intestine pass through into the large bowel where they are fermented by bateria causing symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. A low FODMAP diet is best commenced under the guidance of an Accredited Practising Dietitian.
    In addition to considering a low FODMAP diet those with IBS may also benefit from the following:

    • A Balanced diet with adequate fibre and fluids to promote healthy bowel function
    • Avoidance of excess high fat foods
    • Limitation spicy foods
    • Reducing caffiene intake
    • Limiting alcohol intake
    • Inclusion of pro-biotics
    Of course all this needs to be done in combination with a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise and limiting stress.

    Denise Burbidge, Accredited Practising Dietitian

  • At figureate, accredited practising dietitians Zoe Nicholson and Marlene Gojanovic will help you get off the dieting merry-go-round and show you how to change your … View Profile

    I agree with all the above comments. I will just add that there is no one ideal diet for managing IBS. Triggers for IBS are different for everybody and it is important you have medical causes ruled out. If you do not have any identifiable disease, then it is important you seek help from an accredited practising dietitian who has experience in this area. In addition to FODMAPs and the other food types mentioned by Denise, natural food chemicals (salicylates, amines, glutamate) and food additives can also trigger symptoms in some people. Trying to work out on your own which foods, or components within foods, that are triggering symptoms is difficult and often confusing. A dietitian can help you do this and also provide suitable meal ideas, eating out tips and recipes to make the process easier. 

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