I’m a huge coffee fan. I would probably say its my biggest addiction – before I was diagnosed with IBS I was drinking at least three cups a day! Unfortunately caffeine can have nasty side effects for people who are on the low FODMAP diet and suffer with IBS.
The amount of coffee you can tolerate is pretty individual and so you need to work out for yourself what your limits are. I can tolerate one cup in the morning – more than that and I get a bloating effect on my stomach. And I will only drink it black. Lactose doesn’t agree with me and soya milk isn’t allowed on the low FODMAP diet, so if you are going to drink coffee and fancy a milk alternative I would highly recommend Almond milk – frustratingly you can’t get it in many coffee shops.
Other people I have spoken to with IBS do say it causes havoc for their symptoms. The trouble is some people try and use coffee as a laxative in the hope it will cure their IBS and unfortunately it almost does the opposite – caffeine is a diuretic which dehydrates your body and therefore stops your body “moving” in the way you want it to.
Side effects include cramps, spasms, bloating, reflux and heartburn.
Decaf coffee is less understood although studies suggest it will still lead to similar effects and isn’t really recommended.
My top recommend swaps instead of drinking coffee:
- Hot water and lemon is fantastic for the digestive system – it helps eliminate the symptoms of indigestion and also helps in cleansing the body
- Peppermint tea is the best choice due to its antispasmodic results
- Black, green and white tea are all good on the diet as they are low in FODMAPs
- If you are feeling naughty you can make a low FODMAP hot chocolate. Simply mix almond milk with a dark chocolate powder like Cadbury Fair Trade Bournville Cocoa and add sugar to taste
Title photo by Emmylou Kelly Photography.