Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Diet

08 June 2011 Categories: Articles

To Start

It is very important that you keep detailed records in a food diary of exactly what is eaten, and how you are feeling. Most people who are going to respond favourably to this diet do so on approximately the 6th or 7th day; others respond as early as the 2nd or, rarely, as late as the 14th day.

It is not uncommon to get a few withdrawal symptoms within the first week of starting the elimination diet, which may be a worsening of the symptoms, headaches, joint pains or tiredness. Very occasionally a person is severely worse in the first 2 weeks which may be caused by an unsuspected offending food or beverage that has been ingested in excessive amounts as a substitute.

In this case keep going on the diet of the diet, but stop the suspect food or beverage which you think made you worse.

If there has been no improvement in your symptoms after 2 weeks, recheck your diet records to check you have not had any foods that were not permitted, but in some people it does take longer, and in others your problems may be more related to a digestive problem and need some digestive aids to help.

The First Two Weeks

During the first week, meats such as chicken, turkey, duck and pheasant are allowed.

Fruits other than citrus, melons, pineapple, mango and papaya can be eaten and all vegetables especially green ones, other than corn, peas, tomatoes and potatoes. (see table below.)

During the first part of the diet, the following foods are omitted in all forms: milk and dairy products (yogurt, cheese, ice cream, casein, sodium caseinate, whey), wheat (bread, cake, cookies, baked goods), eggs, corn, sugar, chocolate (cocoa or cola), peas (peanut butter), citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit), food colorings, food additives and preservatives.

No luncheon meats, sausage, ham or bacon are allowed. If there is some question about a specific food, do not eat it. Also, exclude any other food or beverage that is craved in excess because such items are frequently unsuspected causes of various medical or emotional problems.

The Third Week

After 2 weeks you can start to reintroduce other foods.

At Day 15 Add milk and dairy products. If there is no reaction on the first day continue for 3 days. If after 3 days there is no reaction go onto the next food. However if there is a reaction wait until it subsides and then introduce the next food.

At Day 18 Add all grains except wheat in the same way as you have milk and dairy foods and see if there is a reaction. .

At Day 21 Add Wheat in the same way as the other foods. Use a pure wheat cereal or biscuit which does not contain dairy or sugar. With wheat it can take up to 3 days to react so do not be too complacent on the first day if you do not get a bad reaction.

At Day 24 Add yeast in the form of marmite.

At Day 27 Add sugar as you have the other foods. Either eat sugar cubes or add sugar to your allowed foods.

At Day 30 Add egg as you have the other foods.

At Day 33 Add cocoa, as a dark pure chocolate.

At Day 36 Add citrus

At Day 39 Add peanut butter in the same way

At Day 42 Add toothpaste and mouthwashes etc

During this part of the diet, one food is reintroduced into the diet, in excess, every 3 days. Keep detailed records of how you feel at the beginning and the end of each day, and observe carefully for one hour after a food is tried or eaten again. Start with a teaspoon or 1⁄2 a cup of the food to be tested and increase the amount eaten every few hours, so that by the end of the day at least a “normal” amount has been ingested.

Check if any symptoms reappear and write it down. Each food may cause a different symptom such as a stuffy nose with one food and a stomach ache with another. If there are no symptoms during the day, during the night or for the next 3 days, the food tested is probably all right and may be eaten whenever desired. If the test food causes symptoms, stop eating it again. Do not try another test food until the symptoms from the previous food test have subsided. Usually you will notice that symptoms caused by a food can occur within one hour and up to 3 days later.
If you are not sure if a food caused any symptoms stop eating that food and try again once all the other foods have been tested.

Another way of testing is to take your pulse after ingesting the food and if it increases by 20-40 points it indicates that there may be a sensitivity to that food. If symptoms persist, some Sodium Bicarbonate, 1⁄2 teaspoon dissolved in a glass of warm water, will help to make you more alkaline and reduce the symptoms.

If you have asthma, add the test food back into the diet with extreme care. It is possible that an unsuspected food could precipitate a sudden severe asthma attack. Have asthma medications on hand during the second part of the diet and use the Pocket Peak Flow Meter to help find out exactly what is causing you to wheeze. If you are concerned or your asthma has ever been severe or frightening, check carefully with you doctor before trying the diet.

NEVER TEST ANY FOOD WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR’S ADVICE IF IT CAUSED SERIOUS MEDICAL PROBLEMS IN THE PAST. FOR EXAMPLE: IF EGG OR PEANUT CAUSED IMMEDIATE THROAT SWELLING OR FISH CAUSED SEVERE ASTHMA, IT IS UNSAFE TO TRY EVEN A SPECK OF THESE FOODS.