IBS is a frustrating condition that affects a large percentage of the population. Most people who are going to experience IBS develop symptoms when they are still fairly young. Doctors aren’t entirely sure what causes it, and it can be difficult to manage it. While some people do respond to pharmaceutical treatments, others find that they have to change up their diets.
IBS can cause bloating, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pains and loss of appetite. It’s not a nice condition to have and in the long term it can hamper your social life and your work life too, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and get it under control, as quickly as you can.
What Does IBS Mean for Your Diet?
If you are diagnosed with IBS, your doctor will probably tell you to drink more water, stay away from caffeine and alcohol, and eat more fiber and less greasy junk. The ‘IBS diet’ sounds an awful lot like a generally healthy diet, and for many people, those simple changes are all that is needed to take control of their condition.
Some people, however, need to go a step further and avoid FODMAPs. These are a type of sugar that is found in certain fruits, grains, and even some vegetables. If you have to go on a low FODMAPs diet for your digestive health then you are in for a bit of an adjustment period as you learn what you can and cannot eat.
A lot of foods are off-limits when you are trying to avoid FODMAPs, and you may find that some popular treats need to be limited too. Take popcorn and IBS, for example. That’s a combination that doesn’t always go well together, but you can still indulge in moderation.
Know Your Limits
Yes, popcorn and IBS don’t have to spell disaster. As long as you pick the right type and don’t go overboard on flavorings, you can still indulge, but you will need to be careful with your servings. Most people associate the movies with popcorn and IBS sufferers are no exception, but let’s face it, do you really usually eat the whole tub? If you’re really into the movie and you normally leave a large portion, why not just buy a smaller pack and eat slowly?
Popcorn can count as a low FODMAP snack as long as you eat no more than 100g in a sitting. That’s about 1/3 of a medium box, so you can share with a friend who doesn’t have IBS, or just buy a small serving if the cinema offers it.
Note, however, that cinema popcorn can be high in fat since they add a lot of oil and butter, and this can aggravate IBS for some people, so it should be an occasional indulgence only. Plain popcorn, air popped and with a small amount of salt, oregano or cheese is another good option if you’re looking for a day to day snack, for example, to take to work with you or to eat on an evening as a small treat.
If you want something sweet instead, cinnamon powder and cocoa powder can be a good alternative to cane sugar.
You Can Still Treat Yourself
Every IBS sufferer will find that there are some foods they just do not get along with and some foods that they cope well with. What triggers one person can be fine for others. For this reason, you should try keeping a food diary so that you can keep track of what works for you and what makes you feel ill.
You may have to limit some foods that others around you love, and it is a good idea to keep some ‘gentle on the stomach’ snacks in your bag just in case you find yourself caught out with no appealing ‘friendly’ foods around. The condition can be frustrating to cope with at first but you will get used to it and become more confident in your diet over time.
If you are really struggling to manage IBS through diet alone, talk to your doctor for some specialist advice. They will be able to help you work out trigger foods, and find ways to manage your symptoms more effectively.