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General Medical Questions
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Question : I have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). My main symptoms are bloating, gas and diarrhea. What dietary advice can you offer?
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The Trusted Source
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Kathy McManus, M.S., R.D., is the director of the department of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Simmons College, completed her Dietetic Internship at Brigham and Women Hospital, and received a Master of Science degree in nutrition from Framingham State College.

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October 18, 2012
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A:

No single diet treatment cures irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But simple measures can help relieve symptoms. Try the following:

  • Eat meals at about the same time each day
  • Eat slowly and chew your food well
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals
  • Avoid chewing gum, carbonated beverages and the use of a straw

Some people are more sensitive to the following foods. If you experience more symptoms, try to avoid or limit:

  • Milk and milk-containing products (ice cream, cheese, yogurt, cream soups, etc.)
  • Gas-forming vegetables: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, green peppers, excessive amounts of raw vegetables
  • Legumes: beans, lentils
  • High fat foods: Fried foods, fast foods and fatty meats (i.e. prime rib, sausage, bacon, etc.)
  • Alcohol: beer, wine, hard liquor
  • Diet drinks, foods, and candy
  • Sugar-free products
  • Spices and seasonings: hot sauce, barbecue sauce, chili sauce, salsa, etc.

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