A Dietary Approach to IBS is one element of an integrated approach to treating IBS syndrome and IBS symptoms.  There are several reasons WHY foods can affect IBS symptoms and understanding these reasons can help you use your knowledge of foods and their affect on your gut to improve your IBS symptoms.

Reason #1: Some Foods Irritate the Lining of the Gut.

This information has been gained from years of ‘field research’ by nutritionists and dieticians who have found that eating certain foods can irritate the gut in most people–ie these are foods that even in people WITHOUT IBS can cause some gut upset, discomfort, bloating etc, similar to the symptoms you get with irritable bowel syndrome. A list of common Gut Irritating foods are listed below, and as part of the diet for irritable bowel syndrome, you should experiment with cutting each of these out (for 2-4 weeks) and then reintroducing them one at a time, in small amounts, back into the diet.  During the period of time when you cut out some or all of these irritating foods, you should stick to IBS ‘safe foods, such as the following:

IBS Safe Foods

  • ‘Dairy” Alternatives: rice and nut milks, coconut milk
  • Grains: brown rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, teff, tapioca
  • Chicken
  • White Fish
  • Tree Nuts
  • Seeds
  • some veggies(NOT cruciferous veggies such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, or onions and garlic, as these can be triggers)
  • some fruits (Not the fruits on the list of poorly absorbed carbs/sugars–see my article for details on this topic!)
  • Oil: cold pressed olive, flax, walnut, safflower, grapeseed, sesame, almond, sunflower, canola, pumpkin and coconut oils
  • Drinks: filtered water, herbal teas NO CAFFIENE, seltzer or mineral water
  • Sweeteners: (may use only small amount) Brown rice syrup, agave nectar, stevia, fruit sweeteners, blackstrap molasses
  • Condements: vinegar, salt, pepper, mild spices NOT Chili
 You may find some really trigger your IBS symptoms, where others you may be able to eat in smaller amounts than you had done before and still be able to avoid IBS symptoms.


  • deep fried foods
  • fatty foods (such as pastries, high fat meats
  • spicy foods
  • highly acidic foods and drinks such as tomatoes, coffee and citrus juice
  • caffeine-containing foods and drinks and dark chocolate
  • garlic
  • onion

Dr Dani Gordon MD
Dr Dani Gordon MD

Dr Dani is a double board certified medical doctor, integrative medicine physician and world leading expert in CBD, cannabis medicine and brain wellness. She is a leading advocate for evidence based natural medicine and mindbody medicine and her mission it to help you thrive in modern life.