Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition affecting how the digestive system functions. The symptoms of IBS can be stomach pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
Unfortunately, 1 in 10 people suffer with IBS and there is currently no cure. This leads individuals to unknowingly seek out information from incorrect sources, leading to myths around the condition.
This article discusses the top 3 IBS myths that we hear from our clients in clinic.
1. Sugar Causes IBS Flare Ups
Sugar may not be great for your overall health, but sugar is actually very easily absorbed in the digestive system. Now, there are different types of sugar which may cause symptoms if you have a particular intolerance, but usually these need to be in quite high quantities e.g. fructose.
What you are actually reacting to in high sugar foods, is often the portion size, fat content and FODMAPs. Think about something like a cake or a chocolate bar, these contain sugars, but also other IBS triggers such as fat, lactose and fructans.
2. IBS Causes Malabsorption
With some of the symptoms of IBS, it can be easy to think that you are not absorbing all your food. But, actually you are. Sometimes people will experience weight loss or certain nutritional deficiencies with IBS, but this is because they are avoiding certain foods, not because of their lack fo ability to absorb food. Now, you can also be suffering with a malabsorption problem such as lactose intolerance. This similar to IBS symptoms adding further confusion to the situation.
3. Fasting Helps IBS
If you are suffering with severe symptoms, simply skipping a meal may seem like a really attractive solution. This may help you that morning / initial period after when you would normally eat. But irregular eating in IBS has actually been shown to worsen symptoms over all.
Take Home Message
IBS is a complicated condition. There is a lot of incorrect information available online so be sure to get your advice from a registered dietitian.