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If you want to change your diet to support a sensitive digestion how do you know which is the best diet for IBS?
There are many diets reported to improve Irritiable Bowel Syndrome and each person will have their own individual reaction to certain foods.
In a 2019 study into IBS researchers took a group 45 people through three diets to see which one had the biggest impact on their pain and bloating.

What diet works for best for people with IBS?

Each of the people in the study followed each of the diets for four weeks. They tried a low FODMAP Diet, a gluten-free diet and a Mediterranean based diet in turn.
Measurements were taken of the gut bacteria, inflammation, blood tests and assessment of their bloating and quality of life.

What are IBS Diets like?

 

There are several diets common tried for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. As well as elimination diets, these have been studied:
  • A low FODMAP diet excludes fermentable carbohydrates and restricts wheat, beans & pulses, garlic, onions, stone fruits such as nectarines, apples, cows milk and others
  • A gluten free diet cuts out all gluten containing foods such as wheat, barley, rye and others
  • A Mediterranean diet is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, nuts, seeds, a moderate intake of of cheese and eggs, and small amount of meat

 

Results of the IBS Diet Trials

 

Each of these diets provided some benefit to the participants in terms of quality of life, stool type, pain and bloating.
So which was the best?
Whilst they all improved symptoms, not all diets were easy to stick to.
  • Only 3% liked the low FODMAP diet and we also know there is a larger financial burden associated with such a restrictive diet. This did give people with IBS-D (people more prone to diarrhoea) an improvement in their bowel movements.
  • About 11% of participants enjoyed the gluten-free diet. In addition, they saw limited change in their bowel movements but did see improvement in pain, bloating and quality of life.
  • The diet enjoyed the most was the balanced diet, the Mediterranean diet. The most people (86%) of people enjoyed this way of eating which includes lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, healthy fats from oils, nuts, avocados, oily fish and a small amount of meat.
So with similar results and more variety the balanced Mediterranean diet came out top in this study.

The best diet for IBS is what works for you

It’s really important to note that this is only one study, with a small group of people. However it makes sense that those who can eat a wider variety of food will find it easier to eat socially, or find ingredients to cook with and to enjoy their food.
It doesn’t mean that this will definitely work for you. Your experience with IBS needs a different approach to that which suits your friend, and I can help you find what works for you.
Of course not everyone can eat all the foods in the Mediterranean diet, (you may have an allergy, health condition, or a known intolerance) but allowing more variety in your diet can help you stick to a new way of eating for the long term.
If you’re looking for a new way of eating that makes you feel good please get in touch and I can create a healthy meal plan for you which supports your dietary requirements.

Hi I'm Anna Mapson, registered Nutritionist (mBANT, CNHC). I specialise in all things ‘digestive health’ and I help people with their IBS symptoms.

I can help you to:

  • track your symptoms in a really simple but meaningful way to understand them better
  • rebalance your digestive system
  • access group support to make long lasting changes to your digestive health

“Anna is amazing! I feel totally transformed"

To find more about out how I work and how I’ve helped people just like you, see my IBS Diet support page