Keto for IBS, Inflammation, and Bloating: Why It Happens and How Do I Stop It

 Did you know that following a ketogenic diet can improve gut issues such as excess gas production, IBS, bloating, and flatulence?

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re not alone. This is a very common condition that causes bloating, inflammation, gas, stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

In today’s article, we want to talk about how a high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet can help treat or affect IBS, inflammation, and bloating symptoms, so keep reading!

What’s IBS? And other gut issues

As we’ve seen, IBS responds to irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also called spastic colon, nervous colon, and mucous colitis and it’s a gastrointestinal disorder that 9-23% of the world’s population. The most common symptoms are stomach pain, inflammation, bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea.

While the cause of IBS remains unknown, it can be triggered in different ways depending on each individual. The most common triggers are processed foods, certain fruits and vegetables, most sugar alcohols, caffeine, and alcohol. To these tangible triggers, we can add psychological triggers such as stress and anxiety. 

It’s been said that possible causes for IBS and other digestive disorders like inflammation and bloating, can include increased digestive sensitivity, chemical signals from your gut to your nervous system, psychological stress, immune system activity, changes in your gut bacteria, genetics, diet, infection, certain drugs, and antibiotic use.

These kinds of affections are usually chronic and there’s no specific medication for them, so the recommendation is to make some changes in your diet and lifestyle to not upset your digestion. The most common change in diet is to follow a FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet. FODMAPs are carbs that cause digestive distress in some people. Therefore, avoiding these triggers can help the gut to heal over time.

Since the keto diet is naturally lower in FODMAPs and sugar is a very good option to go for if you suffer from any of these issues.

What to eat and what not to eat for IBS, inflammation, and bloating

As we’ve seen, the best medicine for IBS is your diet. A change in your eating habits can help you a lot with the symptoms. Usually, the foods that will make you feel better are keto-friendly, gluten-free, and low-FODMAP. But, let’s check what foods are best to ease this situation.

But, since everyone is different and every individual has their triggers, it would be good if you could keep a food journal. You could use a simple notebook or app on your phone where you can track everything you eat and drink daily. This will allow you to further optimize your keto IBS, bloating, and or inflammation diet by identifying foods or ingredients you can or cannot tolerate or are more sensitive to.

Low foodmap diet

Foods for IBS

  • Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds.
  • Meats and eggs
  • Poultry
  • Fish and seafood like tuna, salmon, tilapia, sea bass, shrimps, mussels, and other shellfish.
  • Vegetables like spinach, kale, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, choy sum, and red bell peppers.
  • Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, lemons, and avocado in small amounts.
  • Sweeteners like pure stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol.
  • Fermented foods like coconut milk kefir, tempeh, and for those who can tolerate dairy, unsweetened -Greek yogurt.

Foods to avoid

Here’s a list of foods you should avoid since they increase and worsen gas, bloating, pain, and other symptoms mentioned above. Most foods on the list are high in carbs. Some of them are keto-friendly, however, you should remove them from your diet if you’re looking to treat IBS, bloating, and inflammation.

  • Grains like wheat, rye, barley, and couscous.
  • Dairy
  • Foods are high in fructose such as processed foods, salad dressings, sweetened yogurt, canned fruits, canned soup, and fast food items.
  • Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage.
  • Caffeine like coffee, tea, coca-cola, or Pepsi, energy drinks with caffeine, dark chocolate bars (except Funky Fat Chocs which are save to eat in moderation), and candies.
  • Alcohol like rum, cider, and beer (unless gluten-free) dessert wines.

Adopting a Keto Lifestyle with IBS, inflammation, and bloating

As we’ve mentioned, going on a keto diet can help ease IBS, inflammation, and bloating symptoms. But, as we’ve also seen, it’s important to watch out for some sources of FODMAPs that, despite being keto-friendly, can harm you. The keto diet will reduce inflammation as well.

A ketogenic diet is a dietary change that can go a long way toward reducing IBS, inflammation, and bloating symptoms, in addition to helping you achieve healthy blood sugar levels and weight loss. 

IBS and other digestion and gut problems and their symptoms can interfere with your life in many ways. However, a healthful diet such as the ketogenic diet can be a good approach for these affections, especially if you’ve followed other diet plans and they failed.

If it’s your first time trying the keto diet, you may consider reducing your carb intake gradually or at a place you’re comfortable with. This will allow you to get properly adapted without causing too much stress physically and mentally, which could worsen your symptoms.

Combining a keto diet with other remedies like exercise, stress management, and taking a probiotic supplement (based on your doctor’s or dietician’s recommendation) could lead to noticeable improvements in your health.

Besides your diet, you can also try other interventions to experience optimal relief and feel better:

  • Stress reduction. Having a less stressful life will help you reduce your symptoms, so you could try practicing mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing to calm you down. Slowing down and taking time off for yourself will be very helpful for your overall health.
  • Regular exercise. Moving your body daily whether it's taking a walk or doing hard workout sessions, or everything in between, not only will enhance your body’s fat-burning potential and transition to ketosis, but it’ll also reduce your IBS symptoms and will help you feel more in control of the disease.
  • Probiotic supplements. Probiotics are live microorganisms that prevent the overgrowth of harmful gut bacteria and regulate your bowel movements. Pick a keto-friendly probiotic supplement that is designed for your type of issue.

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