Are Onions Bad for IBS? (Expert Answer)

Short Answer: Onions are bad for IBS. Because they have fructans and sulfur and they can worsen pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects your digestive system.

In IBS, your body has abnormal contractions of the muscles in your intestines, which can cause pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation.

This can lead to various health problems, such as malnutrition, dehydration, anxiety, and depression.

One of the key factors in managing IBS is diet.

What you consume can affect your gut bacteria, which can impact your IBS symptoms and overall health.

To effectively manage IBS, you should consume soluble fiber rich foods like oats, bananas, and carrots and avoid insoluble fiber rich foods like wheat, corn, and nuts.

Now, onions are a type of vegetable that belong to the allium family.

People usually eat them raw, cooked, or pickled in salads, soups, sandwiches, or other dishes.

Onions are bad for IBS because they contain fructans, which are a type of FODMAP.

FODMAPs are carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and can trigger IBS symptoms in some people.

Onions can cause problems for people with any type of IBS, but especially for those with IBS-D (diarrhea-predominant) or IBS-M (mixed).

Half a cup (75 grams) of chopped onions can give you 6.5 grams of carbs, 1.4 grams of fiber, 0.8 grams of protein, and 30 calories.

Fructans can negatively affect IBS by increasing gas production, water retention, and intestinal motility in the colon.

This can worsen pain, bloating, and diarrhea.

Furthermore, onions are a high sulfur food and sulfur can irritate the lining of the gut and cause inflammation.

That’s why I suggest you limit your onion intake to avoid flare-ups of your IBS symptoms.

Stick to a small amount (less than 1/8 cup or 15 grams) per day to minimize the risk of adverse effects.

Also, you shouldn’t eat onions if you have or are suffering from SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) to prevent further imbalance of your gut flora.

Because onions can feed the excess bacteria in your small intestine and aggravate your condition.

You can buy fresh onions in your local market or can order them online.

Always choose firm, dry, and smooth onions with no signs of sprouting or decay.

Because these indicate freshness and quality.

You can store them in a cool, dry, and dark place for up to two months.

Finally, remember, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, stress management and essential medical care is key to managing IBS effectively.

I always recommend my IBS patients to follow a low-FODMAP diet to improve their gut health, and enjoy a longer and healthier life.

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About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutritionist in West Bengal, India, with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Biochemistry.

He has done his diploma in nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc (US), and completed various certification courses from several universities. He also has considerable research experience in PCOS.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

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