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Managing a healthy diet, with health concerns. Part 3. - Group Talk - Week Commencing 31st Oct 2022.

Irritable bowl Syndrome

What is IBS?

IBS is a health condition that causes suffers to encounter discomforting symptom's, quite often regularly from the gastrointestinal' s (GI).

  • Stomach cramping

  • Pain

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Gas

  • Bloating

These symptoms vary from person to person, and can span from mild to severe.

IBS is one of the most common complaints to affect the GI system, and affects nearly 2 - 10 people in the UK.

What causes IBS is unknown, as symptoms and causes change person to person, in some they can have episodes of diarrhoea - as their intestines seem to move food through faster than normal, and in others they experience constipation - due to a gut that moves more slowly than normal.

The most current research, reports a connection between being overweight and suffering with IBS.

One theory is that the five hormones with-in the digestive tract that regulate weight with-in IBS sufferers appear to be at abnormal levels, either higher or lower than expected. These changes may affect our weight management.

The Five Hormones.

1. Ghrelin -

  • Accelerates gastric and intestinal mobility.

  • Increases appetite and feeding

  • Regulates the release of pituitary growth hormone.

  • Increased density of these cells in IBS-D

  • Reduced density of cells in IBS-C.

2. Cholecystokinin -

  • Stimulates gall bladder contractions

  • Stimulates intestinal mobility

  • Stimulates pancreatic exocrine secretions.

  • Inhibits gastric mobility and food consumption.

  • Reduces cell numbers in IBS

3. Peptide YY -

  • This is released in proportional to the calorie content of a meal. The more released, the person reduces their intake.

  • reduced cell numbers in IBS

4. Enterglucagon -

  • Reduces gut mobility and secretions

  • Proportional to the calories consumed

  • Reduced cell numbers in IBS

5. Serotonin -

  • Increased in IBS-D

  • Decreased in IBS-C

  • Mildly reduces appetite

  • Reduces cell numbers in IBS

How to eat healthy and lose weight with IBS

Acknowledging the foods to eat and which to avoid can support making educated decisions that might enhance your digestive and overall physical health.

We are all very different and so are IBS sufferers, and what helps one might not help another. Additional to considering the foods, its important to consider:

  • Exercise - Intensity, frequency and duration.

  • Sleep - How long, quality.

  • Mood - Stress levels.

  • Hormones - Women's menstrual cycle.

  • Timing of food - When, and how you are eating.

Key is to focus on foods that fill us and sustain us, as well as nourish our bodies.

Cutting out processed foods, that are clearly higher in calories, will help lower your energy intake of foods with poor nutritional value that are high in salt and sugar, causing water retention and bloating, aggravating IBS symptoms.

  • Foods with significant amounts of sweetener like sorbitol's.

  • High-fat foods

  • Alcoholic beverages

  • Caffeinated beverages

  • Fried Foods

  • Whole milk products

  • Crisps

  • Ready meals

  • Chocolate

  • Cream

  • Pre-packed Cakes and Biscuits

  • foods that cause gas, such as beans and cabbage

Swapping simple carbohydrates for example white bread and white pasta, to whole grain versions which include more nutrient's, fibre and protein i.e. Spelt, Rye or Buckwheat, are often easier to digest as some IBS sufferers react to Fructan's in Wheat.

When suffering with IBS the thought of increasing fibre often frightens some, as its linked to acerbating symptoms. However fibre is really important for helping us reach satiety as well as sustaining your beneficial gut microbes.

Its important if sensitive to high fibre foods to introduce them slowly, always drinking lots of water to reduce constipation, and rehydration if suffer diarrhoea. Its important that you focus on low FODMAP (Fermentable Oligo-di-monosaccharides and Polyols) foods as an introduction, then build up.

Eating protein from meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, pulses and tofu helps sustain satiety and keep our blood sugars balance.

However increased protein with-in IBS sufferers may lay in your stomach some time leading to feeling heavy, this is often due to insufficient stomach acid to break down the proteins, so eating bitter foods such as Rocket, Endive, Chicory or Lemon Juice can stimulate the digestive processes, and aid the breakdown of protein.

Also remember to chew your food really well to kick start the digestion with-in the mouth.

Its important to include healthy fats in your diet to help us absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K and to support your cell, & skin health and your hormones. You can do this by snacking on nuts or adding omega 3 rich fish into your weekly meal plan at least twice a week.


By embracing low - FODMAP produce, protein, healthy fats and enough water can satisfy hunger and be kind to your system.

Furthermore, restricting processed foods can decrease food cravings and IBS flare-ups.

By embracing your health condition and not considering you are 'missing out' on a food or meal choice in the moment, can mean saving yourself pain and discomfort later on.

To be successful with losing weight and suffering with IBS you need a step-by-step approach which includes a low - FODMAP diet, calorie deficit and a lifestyle change.


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