Digestive Health Nutrition

Getting to know your fats: The IBS way

If you suffer with IBS or have any digestive ailment, it’s easy to think you need to restrict certain foods & food groups and that will make everything better.

Not true.


Also – not very good for you. If you think about it, restricting yourself of certain foods means you must replace with more of something else, and when you have IBS a lot of the same thing (even if it feels good at first) tends to end up hurting you in the long run.

Getting To Know Your Fats

Take peanut butter – I am a self-confessed addict. It is amazing for keeping me full, has loads of key nutrients I need, and it doesn’t disrupt my IBS. However, if I go absolutely HAM on a jar one day and eat something like 8 tablespoons rather than the normal 2 or 3, I really don’t feel good. It makes my IBS-C awful and puts me off food for hours, sometimes days.

So as the old saying goes – everything in moderation.

And the reason I bring this up is because IBS sufferers tend to restrict themselves of anything high fat because foods which are fat-dense tend to really disrupt the gut. I’m talking about notoriously fatty foods, like starchy trans-fat chips, greasy dairy-filled pizzas, etc. etc. You know – the bad stuff.

But what about the good fats?

So many times IBS sufferers will say bye-bye to every type of fat – that’s including the healthy fats from nuts, seeds and oily fish – because they think it will have a similar effect on their IBS as other foods high in the bad fats.

Related posts: What’s Healthier Almond Butter or Peanut Butter?

Take a look here where I break down what the different types of fats are, how they are likely to be treated in your gut, and if they’re advisable to eat regularly or not.

Unsaturated fats

Found in: vegetable oils, nuts, seeds.

Pros for IBS: eases inflammation.

  • Unsaturated fats: Polyunsaturated

Found in: sesame oil, soy oil, sunflower-seed oils, nut oils and seeds

  • Unsaturated fats: Monounsaturated

Found in: olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocados, nuts, flaxseeds, fish and nut butters.

Saturated fats

Found in: animal foods such as bacon, cheese, hamburgers, and plant foods such as coconut, coconut oil and palm oil. Palm oil is usually the key constituent in grain-based desserts (they help keep products soft/chewy for longer), so that’s foods like cookies and pastries.

Cons for IBS: gut inflammation.

Trans Fats

Found in: foods made with hydrogenated vegetable oils, like pies and cakes, as well as foods with beef and dairy fat, such as corned beef.

Cons for IBS: create inflammation as well as increasing chance of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic conditions.

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