Top 10 Foods That Trigger IBS, SIBO, and Leaky Gut Syndrome

We’re all unique, but these foods are some of the most common irritants that cause IBS, SIBO, and leaky gut symptoms to flare up! If you’re struggling with symptoms, try reducing just these 10 foods.

1. Onion & Garlic

These flavorful root veggies are high in FODMAPS, which are difficult-to-digest carbohydrates. They often cause increased symptoms for those with IBS and SIBO - even in small amounts! For more information about the FODMAP diet go here. 

2. Cruciferous Veggies

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all super nutrient-dense, but they’re also high in FODMAPs and can trigger symptoms. Replace them with less-fermentable veggies like squash and see how you feel.

3. Raw Veggies (i.e. salad)

Cooking food makes it much easier to digest! Try swapping your lunch salad for a bowl with cooked veggies and you might be surprised to see your bloating and pain decrease.

4. Apples & Pears

These fruits are again high in fermentable FODMAPS and likely to cause symptoms! Low-FODMAP fruits include berries and citrus.

5. High-fiber Breads and Whole Grains

These are supposed to be healthy but can actually be a nightmare for those with IBS, SIBO, and leaky gut. Try substituting simple starches like white bread and rice (or reducing starches altogether!).

6. Dairy

Another common trigger food for IBS, SIBO, and leaky gut. Many people don’t tolerate either lactose, the sugar in dairy, or casein, one of the proteins in dairy.

7. Coffee

 Coffee contains caffeine, which can be a gut irritant for many people. Replace it with herbal tea.

8. Alcohol

You might be surprised how much alcohol is impacting your gut. This is a difficult one for people to cut, but well worth experimenting with.

9. Candy & Sweets

Sadly, sugary treats are well-known gut irritants and can increase symptoms like gas and bloating. Beware of sugar-free substitutes, which can provoke the same symptoms (or even be worse!). Honey and maple syrup are generally better tolerated than sugar.

10. Smoothies & Juice

These are a situation where the “dose makes the poison.” Smoothies and juice often contain far more of a food than we would consume if chewing were involved. You might be able to tolerate eating carrot just fine - but carrot juice creates symptoms!

Aside from food playing a huge role in digestive troubles, here are 11 of the most surprising things about SIBO, IBS, and Leaky Gut.

If you suspect you have leaky gut, I love the Institute of Functional Medicine’s 4R Program for healing a leaky gut. It has been successfully applying this program for the past 15 years. The evidence is strong: protecting and restoring the intestinal firewall is of primary importance for your health. 

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods


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