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You scream, I scream, my IBS screams at ice cream.

Have you ever wondered why you may get an IBS flare up after you have eaten dairy based ice cream?

According to research, there is a correlation between sugar intolerance and the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Many sugar types such as lactose, fructose, and sorbitol, have been found to be triggers for IBS symptoms. If you eat dairy based ice cream, you will automatically be consuming some or all of these ingredients.

One reason why sugar can cause a flare-up in IBS sufferers is that some individuals with IBS have difficulty digesting certain sugars. For example, lactose intolerance is where the body cannot digest lactose, and lactose is a sugar found in dairy products that can lead to digestive symptoms like bloating, cramping, and diarrhoea. Similarly, some individuals may have fructose malabsorption, where the body has trouble absorbing fructose, a sugar found in fruits, honey, and some sweeteners.

Furthermore, excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, leading to changes in gut microbiota composition. This imbalance may contribute to symptoms of IBS.

So, if you suffer from IBS but fancy a cooling ice cream during the hot summer weather, here are some ideas for alternatives.

1. Check out lactose free options. This may be an option for some IBS sufferers who generally only have mild symptoms.

2. Look out for dairy free alternatives made from almond, oat, or coconut milk.

3. Make your own ice cream by freezing dairy free yoghurt, and perhaps add in some strawberries, raspberries or blueberries to make it a healthier option.

4. Pre-made vegan ice creams will all be dairy free but do check they don’t include too many ultra-processed ingredients as these aren’t good for you either. If you would like to learn more about ultra-processed foods and IBS then please read our previous blog on this subject here.

It's important for individuals with IBS to identify their specific trigger foods, including those high in sugar, and take steps to limit or avoid them to manage their symptoms effectively.

Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can provide personalised guidance and support in managing your IBS.

UCU can not only help you with specific concerns about how sugar affects your IBS symptoms, but we are also a team of dedicated healthcare professionals who use a holistic approach to look at your individual circumstances and create a Unique Plan to help alleviate symptoms and help you have an overall healthier lifestyle.

Please do check out our services and get in touch

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