A delicious way to trigger IBS symptoms!

Plate piled high with pizza and fried fatty foods.

MMMMMMmm. Some of my favorite fatty foods!!! I have to be really careful eating ANY of them now though.
© Can Stock Photo

Do you like fried food? What about some ice cream? OOOH, how about some fried ice cream?!

How about cold cuts? Or Bacon? Or fried eggs on toast?

I love all that stuff. And it can make me sick as heck (or that other place).

It turns out that fatty foods are bad for your IBS as WELL as your arteries!

How do fatty foods cause IBS symptoms?

The human digestive system breaks down food into raw materials and energy.

Fat is hard to digest, particularly since we tend to eat too much of it all at once.

The body uses something called bile to break down fats (stored in the gall bladder).

Transparent human showing the gall bladder.

The gall bladder, shown here in red, helps digest fatty foods. But gall bladder bile can irritate bowels.
© Can Stock Photo

Once the bile breaks down the fats our bodies can digest them more easily.

Here’s the trouble though. Some people have sensitive bowels, and too much bile can irritate the lining of the colon. This can lead to pain, spasms, and diarrhea.

For people like my lovely wife, it also means gall bladder spasms that are extremely painful.

Here is a short list of fatty foods:

High fat foods include:

  • Most beef
  • Chicken with the skin
  • Cream
  • Half and half
  • Most non-dairy creamers
  • Most pork products, especially bacon
  • Sausage
  • Whole milk
  • Most cheeses
  • Pies and cakes
  • Egg yolks
  • All oils
  • Butter and margarine
  • Doughnuts
  • Many cookies, cakes and crackers

Okay that wasn’t so short.

I know that many of you out there love a good fried fish, or french fries or fried eggs, etc.

But cutting back on fatty foods can mean fewer IBS symptoms, particularly pain and diarrhea. You will probably find it’s worth it.

Besides, your arteries and waist may thank you too!

Are there good high fat foods?

Essential fatty acids such as omega 3 fatty acids are very important. They make up a large part of the brain for instance… Think fish.

In fact I take fish oil capsules every day, and they seem to have helped my memory without affecting my IBS (as far as I can tell).

Olive oil is supposed to be good for your heart and arteries as well. Many studies show that people that eat more olive oil have a reduced change of artery problems and heart attacks.

But if you have IBS, you probably have a GREATER chance of an IBS attack! So you’ll need to take it easy, even on the good fats.

Why do people like fatty foods so much anyway?

Most people enjoy fatty foods. Human beings enjoy fat because it’s full of calories that we need to live.

In the olden days fatty foods were more rare than they are today. People ate a more plant based diet. We crave fat because it’s high in calories. Our ancestors needed those calories to survive.

Can I eat fatty foods if the fat is Olestra?

NO! Well, that’s my opinion anyway.

Olestra and other fake fats have been linked to all kinds of digestive troubles. They’re basically a fat your body can’t digest so it passes out the back door in the stool. People report that it can cause all kinds of diarrhea and cramps along the way.

I think fake fat is worse than the real thing.

How much fat is too much?

For a 2000 calorie diet, the recommended daily allowance of fat is 65 grams. I would think less than that would be low fat.

Most people eat WAY more than that.

Six ounces of your average steak is going to be 20 grams of fat. An that’s before sauces, french fries, fried onions or mushrooms, etc. And for most people that’s a pretty small steak.

Vegetables are almost always low fat, but not with butter or cheese sauce.

How do I cut back on fatty foods?

That is a BIG topic.

You could try cutting back on the foods in the list above. Have your doctor recommend a low fat diet, or better yet (in my opinion) see a dietician or nutritionist. These last two will likely have more time than the 10 minutes the doctor will likely spend with you.

They may also have some recipes and lots of tips on cutting down on fatty foods.

If you’re more ambitious and a do it yourself type, there are all kinds of low fat cook books at your local book store or at Amazon.


See other foods to avoid with IBS.

Find out if a food intolerance is causing your IBS symptoms.

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