Can Peanut Butter Trigger IBS?

Nope, peanut butter does not trigger symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In fact, research shows it is one of the types of foods that individuals with IBS can tolerate.

Peanut Butter is a Low FODMAP Food

If you have IBS and love peanut butter, good news! Peanut butter is a low FODMAP food. In its simplest form, it is just made of dry roasted peanuts, salt and oil, all of which are allowed on a low FODMAP diet. However, some brands add refined sugar and flavourings to enhance the peanut butter’s taste.

When you’re out shopping for peanut butter, read the labels carefully to find out any FODMAPs in the product that can trigger IBS like high amounts of molasses, cow’s milk, milk chocolate, carob powder, honey, and high fructose corn syrup, agave syrup and sorghum syrup.

The deal with IBS and FODMAPs

Numerous studies have shown that a low FODMAP diet can help keep your IBS under control. Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs) are compounds that your body can’t fully digest. Unfortunately, FODMAPs are present in many foods and beverages such as kale, sugar-free sweeteners, lentils and beans, dairy, fruits high in fructose, wheat and other crops that contain fructans.

Your body also plays host to a diverse group of good bacteria that get energy from fermenting FODMAP foods. However, for people with IBS, the fermentation process can result in an excess production of gas, which causes stomach distention and stomach pain. Excess gas and bloating may then shift the water balance in your intestines and trigger diarrhoea as a result.

But if you follow a low FODMAP diet, there is less risk for you to experience bloating, nausea, flatulence, diarrhoea, or even constipation. Your quality of life will also improve; from regaining the weight you lost to improving your mood.

Including Peanut Butter in Your Dietary Plan

There are many ways to enjoy peanut butter while you are on a low FODMAP diet. You can use it as a spread for bread and fruit snacks, a creamer for your smoothies, or as a key ingredient for your granola bars, cookies and other baked foods.

The recommended serving size of peanut butter for individuals diagnosed with IBS is two tablespoons or 28.3 grams per day only. This serving size has 190 calories, 2 grams of fibre and 7 grams of protein which makes it a good source of nutrients. If you bake a tray of peanut butter cookies, you have to eat within limits as they already contain a lot of calories.

Keep in mind that different people have different gastrointestinal reactions to different foods. If you are planning to use peanut butter for baking along with other ingredients, discuss your options with a dietitian first to help you identify the foods you should eat and avoid. Your dietitian may also help you create a list of low FODMAP foods to ensure everything you eat won’t trigger or worsen your IBS symptoms.

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