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 Irritable Bowel Syndrome. After years of working in this field as an IBS nutritionist I find with my Gut Reset clients each person will have their own individual reaction to certain foods, and there is never a one size fits all diet.
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.
The good thing about this kind of study is that they all got to try out each kind of diet
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, spelt, 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

In this particular study 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. Some people find this diet very tricky to manage, it is such a restrictive diet. The low FODMAP trial did give people with IBS-D (people more prone to diarrhoea) an improvement in their bowel movements. This is probably because it removes fermentable carbs from the diet, which can reduce bloating and gas, and excessive water in the small intestine.
  • 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 Nutritional Therapist.

I help people with IBS and SIBO get control of unpredictable gut symptoms to find long term relief from painful and embarrassing IBS without restrictive dieting.

I can help you to:

  • understand your digestion better, so you recognise your triggers
  • eat a well balanced diet, with tasty meals that are simple to prepare
  • develop better digestion and more energy

Find more about my 3 month 1:1 Gut Reset programme

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