Top 17 SHOCKING Foods to Avoid with IBS

Up to 45 million people know the feeling. Frequent bloating, cramping, gas in stomach…living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a literal pain in the rear. Unfortunately, whole grains, seeds, legumes, and other foods that are healthy for most are triggers of IBS symptoms for others.
Health-conscious people with IBS feel like they’re dodging bullets in The Matrix when they’re just trying to figure out which gut healing foods actually agree with their gut. So, what are some of the foods causing the sour stomach that comes with IBS? Here are the Top 17.


What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

With over 7% of the American population diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it’s a valid possibility that you may have IBS as well.
This condition is caused by carbohydrates our body can’t digest. The carbs that cause these uncomfortable situations are called FODMAPS.
FODMAP stands for:
• Fermentable
• Oligosaccharides
• Disaccharides
• Monosaccharides
• Polyols
These carbs are short chains, which makes FODMAPs poor for absorption within the large intestine. If the large intestine is uncomfortable, you will feel uncomfortable courtesy of different forms of gastrointestinal distress.
Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include:
Water Compress for Stomach Pain
• Constipation and/or Diarrhea
• Anxiety
• Change in Time of Bowel Movements
• Cramping
• Fatigue
• Stomach Pain
If you are suffering from one or more of the following gastrointestinal problems, please consult a physician. In the meantime, it’s not a bad idea to start making dietary changes.


Don’t Eat These Foods with IBS

Unfortunately for those with IBS, there are many foods that are hard for our body to digest. Therefore, they linger. In some cases, these foods may cause harmful bacteria to fester. Other foods may just disrupt an already sour stomach.
Thryve Microbiome Testing for IBS
By joining the Thryve Gut Health Program, we help you determine foods that fit in with your dietary restrictions.
Foods are a lot like humans. They are all unique. Not one food has the exact same nutritional value as the other. In fact, not one Gala apple has the same nutritional value as the Gala apple right next to it in the bunch. Therefore, not every food is going to have the same reaction with every individual.
Of course, you should avoid refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, saturated fats, and processed foods. They’ll trigger IBS, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and a load of other gastrointestinal issues and health conditions. Therefore, we’re not going to shine a light on those foods today.
There are many healthy foods out there that may, unfortunately, cause symptoms of IBS to persist. Here are some you should avoid.



We all like to relax with a drink every now and then. However, sometimes we need to relax on the drinking. Alcohol has been used in medicine for over a century. That’s because strong alcohol can wipe our bacteria. Much like antibiotics, alcohol can do this to the good and the bad.
Excessive alcohol use may lead to the growth of gastrointestinal issues related to IBS. The reason IBS symptoms are linked to alcohol use is that excessive liquor alters your gut health, making your stomach a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. To get control of the bacteria, you can partake in microbiome testing.
By knowing the bacteria in your gut, Thryve can personalize probiotics for you to help restore balance in your system. As a result, symptoms of IBS and other gastrointestinal disorders may subside. If you believe you are addicted to alcohol, please seek help for treatment.


Apple Skin

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but it’ll also keep someone with IBS on the toilet. Apples are extremely high in dietary fiber. This notion is especially true in the skin.
Apple skins are indigestible to the system. That’s what makes apples great prebiotics for probiotics. Unfortunately for those with IBS, no breaking down happens in the small intestine. Once the apple skin reaches the large intestine, it’s up to bacteria to chomp away.
As a result, digestion of food like apple skin create:
apple for gut health
Carbon Dioxide

You don’t need to pass Science 101 to know gas in stomach leads to gastrointestinal distress associated with IBS such as bloating and feeling constipated.



Having a superfruit on a list of foods to avoid seems like a bad April’s Fool Day joke. However, if you eat blackberries with IBS, the joke is on you.
While blackberries are high in antioxidants, they are also rich in salicylates. As a matter of fact, salicylates are actual active ingredients added to many Aspirin products. Therefore, the symptoms of IBS associated with eating too many blackberries may mirror those with a sensitivity to Aspirin–frequent bouts of diarrhea.


The little kid in you is probably like, “See! I was right all along!” Broccoli is an excellent source of plant-based molecules. However, it also contains a lot of sulfur.
When sulphur mixes with our stomach acids, it produces hydrogen sulphide. Hydrogen sulphide leads to gastrointestinal issues such as a sour stomach.
In addition, broccoli is rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber adds bulk to our stool. For those with IBS, the large intestine may already have enough on its plate. Overwhelming the system may cause a tear in the intestines, resulting in Leaky Gut Syndrome.


Carbonated Drinks

If you already have a sour stomach, why add bubbles to the mix? Might as well throw some Pop Rocks in there too for good measure! We don’t condone the use of sugary carbonated beverages like soda. These syrup-based bevies are high in refined sugars that will do a number on your gut health.
carbonated water
With that being said, the boujee La Croixs of the world will also cause gastrointestinal distress. While seltzer won’t cause IBS to develop like soda will, it can cause gas in stomach and bloating. If you have IBS, your common symptoms will only be further exasperated.



Cabbage has very high levels of insoluble fiber. As we mentioned, this adds bulk to your digestion system. As a result, you may feel uncomfortable symptoms associated with IBS.
We are huge cabbage fans at Thryve because this vegetable makes for some awesome fermented foods like kimchi. That is why if you are going to eat cabbage, sauerkraut and kimchi are the best way to go.
kimchi gut healthy foods
When you ferment foods, the probiotic bacteria feast on the sugars within the brine. These are the sugars (carbs) that got stuck in our large intestine. Therefore, eating kraut (or kimchi) can help you digest cabbage because probiotics did the work for you already. Cabbage on it’s own? Stay away if you have IBS!


Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a catch-22 food for those with IBS. This powerful protein source also has an abundance of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber soaks up water. Therefore, if you have diarrhea from IBS, chia seeds may exasperate the situation.
In the same breath, if you are are feeling constipated, chia seeds may help. By drawing water in, chia seeds will help break up the solid stool that you’re having trouble passing.
chia seeds
If you are experiencing issues with digesting chia seeds, soak them before eating. Put the seeds in a lactose-free pudding, Greek yogurt bowl, or water to ease the digestion of food.
In the long-term, research believes chia seeds can actually help prevent IBS in bodies that don’t already have gastrointestinal disorders. However, if you already have IBS, then remove chia seeds from your diet to avoid flareups.


Chili Peppers

Chili peppers come with intense flavor and can bring a litany of fruitful notes and dashes of heat to any dish. Unfortunately, adding flair to our plate adds flare to your gut.
chili peppers
Research indicates elevated levels of capsaicin, the active compound in peppers, can cause abdominal pain. When capsaicin interacts with TRPV1-immunoreactive nerve fibers, it caused the body to create substance P (pain) in the colon.



We know. You need your coffee to get your day going. However, it also gets your plumbing going. For everyday coffee drinkers, that’s part of the routine. For IBS sufferers, coffee can throw a bomb in your routine.
Caffeine stimulates your body. Research indicates that coffee also stimulates colonic reactions. These unfavorable IBS symptoms can be further exasperated when you add dairy and artificial sweetners to your morning joe.
If you need a caffeine pick-me-up, opt for kombucha. This is a fermented tea that has probiotic bacteria. Probiotics may improve gastrointestinal distress, clearing symptoms associated with IBS. To further nurture a healthy microbiome, try a gut test kit so Thryve can personalize probiotics for your IBS condition.



As we mentioned, dairy can complicate your coffee consumption. Our love affair with dairy goes back to the womb. However, humans are the only mammals to consume dairy past childhood. Furthermore, we’re the only species to consume another mammal’s milk. Suffice to say, lactose in dairy is one of the top allergens for humans.
A study was conducted, examining the long-term effects of lactose on the gastrointestinal issues of 230 patients. 68.2% of the subjects had trouble digesting lactose. The analysis concluded, “Lactose malabsorption may induce abdominal symptoms indistinguishable from those of the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); however the exact relationship between the two conditions and the optimal differential diagnostic workup are still to be defined.”



Legumes are tough on the system. They are rich in lectins. Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins. So, it’s like adding something bulky that your body can’t digest…onto something bulky that your body can’t digest.
If you have IBS, avoid foods such as:
legumes for IBS
• Baked Beans
• Black Beans
• Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
• Kidney Beans
• Lima Beans
• Split Peas
Unfortunately, for clean eaters like those following a Paleo Vegan Diet, limiting legumes is a challenge. Legumes are a great source of protein.
However, turn to the following Low FODMAP options:
• Firm Tofu
• Tempeh
• Nuts
• Seeds
Now, firm tofu and tempeh are tricky for those with IBS. We’ll get to that a bit later in our soy section.



These tasty fungi are rich in a compound known as mannitol. Mannitol is a polyol. Only one-third of polyols can be absorbed by the body.
Seeing as mushrooms have high levels of this crystalline compound, it’s hard for us to digest them. Therefore, they linger and trigger uncomfortable symptoms associated with IBS.
In addition, high mannitol foods act as a laxative. Since they are poorly absorbed, the sit in the large intestine and draw in water. For those with IBS, mushrooms may cause an increase of bowel momvements. Also, msuhrooms are high in crystallines, so mannitol ferments faster.



The flavor of onions can transform any meal, but the presence of onions can disrupt any gut with IBS. The reason for IBS symptoms due to onions is because these alliums have high levels of fructans.
Fructans are polymers of the fructose molecule. They cause a litany of gastrointestinal issues when consumed in high doses. If you are using onions and have IBS, lay low on the garlic, scallions, and shallots!



Potatoes, especially sweet potatoes, can be great dietary sources of fiber for beneficial probiotic bacteria. However, potatoes (and other nightshades) often send IBS symptoms into a tizzy.
These resistant starches sit in your stomach because your body can’t break it down. As your probiotics feast on the potato fibers, they will release gas in stomach that may cause gastrointestinal distress.
If you do choose to eat potatoes with IBS, make sure it’s in small quantities. Also, opt for the sweet potato we gave a shout-out to. They are rich in many beneficial micronutrients.



As we mentioned earlier, soy products like firm tofu and tempeh are low FODMAP solutions for plant-based eaters looking to swap out legumes. Yet, here is the soybean on the list of foods to avoid with IBS. Let us explain.
Soybeans are rich in fructan and oligosaccharides, the O in FODMAP. Plus, they are low in fiber. Therefore, you are stuck with IBS irritants in your intestines.
Fructan and oligosaccharides are also water-soluble. That means if you place these food products in water, they will seep into the liquid. Therefore, products sitting in water like tofu and fermented foods like tempeh are gut healthy foods in the soy family.
This low FODMAP option is possible because the tofu block doesn’t have the IBS triggers. The water it’s sitting in does! With that being said, avoid soy milk if you have IBS. It’s made by soaking soybeans in water. You are drinking high FODMAP water.



Speaking of water, watermelon has a lot of it. This makes the fruit troublesome for those who have diarrhea associated with IBS.
Watermelons are high in mannitol. As we mentioned with mushrooms, mannitol is not IBS-friendly. It also has elevated levels of sorbitol. Research on sorbitol and IBS find that this alcohol-free sugar triggers diarrhea.



Whole Grains

You didn’t think we’d forget the top allergen in the world–gluten. Gluten is a sugar molecule found in wheat.
This sticky protein is hard for our body to digest. It also has a gelatinous texture that wreaks havoc on the fibers surrounding our intestines.
Whole grains are also high in fiber. Therefore, if you have diarrhea problems due to IBS, whole grains may increase the frequency of your bowel movements.


Microbiome Testing and IBS

If you are experiencing symptoms of IBS, there are many factors at play. The first step to healing your gut health is to get a gut bacteria test kit. The Thryve At-Home Gut Test gives you everything you need to discreetly and sanitarily collect a sample and mail to our laboratory.
gut health test kit
With microbiome testing, we can determine the harmful bacteria that cause a majority of the symptoms associated with IBS. That way, we can formulate a personalized probiotic supplement complete with the beneficial bacteria missing from your microbiome.
The process of microbiome testing can take two to four weeks. While you wait, it’s the perfect moment to make dietary changes. That means eliminating the foods that disrupt IBS.
Lastly, as a member of the Thryve Gut Health Program, we work with you to feed your probiotics adequately. Our trained staff is well-versed in IBS triggers and foods that can help your beneficial bacteria in stomach grow. Once you reclaim your gut health, IBS can kiss your behind!

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