Food and IBS: Don’t Blame What You Eat for Your IBS!

When it comes to food and IBS, a lot of people seem to get confused about a few things. Many people think that there is a connection between consumption of certain foods and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

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People should know that when it comes to food and IBS, food has nothing to do with the condition. It is simple — people cannot get an inflammatory bowel condition from eating foodborne illness. People also cannot cure their IBS by what they eat or don’t eat. Many people believe that junk food can cause IBS and eating certain things, like organic foods, can cure IBS.

Those misconceptions are just the tip of the iceberg of all of the wives’ tales that run rampant about food and IBS. Some people believe their IBS was caused by food poisoning that they had previously contracted. Others claim that their doctor told them to stay away from dairy and gluten foods, and think that if they stop eating these foods that their colitis will simply go away.

These are just a few examples of the erroneous information given out about food and IBS. Just in case you were wondering, neither of the above issues, food poisoning or eating dairy and gluten foods, causes IBS. And, IBS will not be cured by staying away from dairy and gluten foods. Those who have some form of IBS usually have a pre-existing condition that has nothing to do with food ingestion.

However, fiber-rich foods do have a connection. For example, if a person has a chronic gastrointestinal condition and they eat foods high in fiber, then a person’s condition may become further aggravated. This person could up getting diarrhea, gas, bloating, or pain. This is really the only legitimate food and IBS connection. Remember, food is not responsible for your IBS but it may occasionally irritate the condition.

However, there is one food rule too keep in mind if you suffer from IBS. Eating a diet that is low in fiber can be beneficial until a person with IBS is healed. Once a person is healed, they will be able to consume whatever food that they desire. When trying to heal from IBS, try avoiding consumption of dairy and/or wheat, both of which have been known to aggravate the condition.

Current EU food law requires that all food and beverage products distributed and sold within the EU must comply with food labelling legislation; which is currently based upon the Food Labelling Directive 2000/13. To complicate matters, in December 2011 the new Food Information to Consumers Regulations (FIR) was finally published into EU law following years of discussion and debate at Commission level. These new Regulations bring with them additional requirements applicable to food manufacturers and retailers, the majority of which must be in place by the 13th December 2014. Food businesses producing products which do not comply with the new requirements after this date could face sanctions which include fines, forfeiture of product and negative PR. You may think this is a long way off, however, when you consider that an average food business may have around 50 different product lines (for retailers this can be as few as 1000 lines) and considering that almost every label will need to change, you can see how colossal a task this really is. Food businesses may opt to graduate the change over time to spread the workload and obviously the cost; however new products under development also require future proofing to ensure Regulatory compliance, so you will begin to see the first flurries of “new” labels into the market very shortly.

Unfortunately I can’t go over every change within this article as the regulation itself which contains sixty three pages, some fifty five articles and a raft of annexes within those pages. What I will do is go over some of the major changes you are likely to see.

I’m going to start with nutritional information. Under current legislation providing nutritional information for your product is only compulsory if a nutrition claim is made (namely low fat, high protein, contains Vitamin D)’ whilst in all other cases it may be provided voluntarily. If provided however it must to be provided in one of the following formats as detailed in the regulations, namely: the big four;