Changing diet can sooth stomach

Published 1:27 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Having tummy troubles? You aren’t alone, and a change in diet can make a world of difference.

One in seven Americans suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, health and wellness educator Mandy Conrad said during a recent Quick Bites program offered though the local Mississippi State Extension Office.

“A lot of people shy away from this and speak in hushed tones,” Conrad said.

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Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS can cause gas, bloating or worse, she said.

“It can be diarrhea or constipation. To make it more confusing, sometimes it alters between the two,” she said.

Frequently the cause is the inability to digest certain sugars or carbohydrates. It’s like lactose intolerance but with other foods— fructans found in wheat, galactans found in beans, fructose found in fruits and polyols found in pitted fruits and artificial sweeteners, Conrad said.

For a list of foods containing the chemicals known as FODMAP foods, visit, she said.

Because some foods contain small amounts of these compounds and others contain much more, Conrad recommends keeping a food journal to search for a correlation between a particular food and an upset stomach.

“You want to keep a record of what you eat and your symptoms,” she said. Symptoms can show up three days after you’ve eaten a food,” she said.

She recommended removing any food that seems to cause discomfort for at least two weeks and see if symptoms improve. Don’t completely give up on trigger foods if they are something you really feel you can’t do without.

“If you’re really missing it try it in small quantities,” she said.

There’s also a few tips and tricks to cut down on general discomfort not related to food types, she said.

“Slow down and don’t rush through your meals,” she said. “If you’re talking and eating too fast you will intake a lot of air,” she said.

Anyone who thinks they might have IBS should contact a doctor to rule out any more serious conditions, she said.

“There is no cure for IBS, but there are ways to relieve the symptoms,” Conrad said.