Alcohol is beneficial for relaxation, and we know stress plays a major part in our IBS symptoms. However, alcohol is also a gut irritant and could worsen symptoms. I do feel there is a happy medium though, and I explain the ins and outs of alcohol consumption on the low Fodmap diet in this video.
Transcription of IBS and Alcohol
Today, I’d like to talk about IBS and alcohol. Alcohol is a gut irritant. It’s toxic, and anything that’s toxic that goes into our digestive system is going to cause some kind of reaction. As we know, our digestive systems overreact to stimuli, so it also overreacts to alcohol. So, the very best situation is to drink none at all. Now, that might not be a reality because some people really benefit from the occasional drink to relax them. And as we know, stress is really bad for IBS, so anything that can relax you has a beneficial effect.
So, what alcohol can you drink? You can drink wine as long as it’s dry – red or white. Wine, as we know, is made up of grapes, and we can have 20 grapes at a sitting. They’ve calculated how many would be in a glass, and they’ve decided that we can have a glass without any ill effects from it. So, a glass of dry white wine over the evening is something you’re probably going to get away with. Don’t have the sweetest sparkling wines or a dessert wine.
Beer is allowed in the amount of one can. You might say that beer is made from grains like wheat and barley and even rye, and those are the grains that have fructans, which cause us problems. But the process of making beer is a fermenting process, and often when the fermentation is done outside the body, then very little of it happens inside the body. So, from that point of view, beer is not that bad in limited amounts, but it’s bad from another two standpoints. One is the fact that it’s an alcohol and so a gut irritant, and the other is that it’s carbonated, and carbonation is a gut irritant. So, it’s not a great thing to be drinking beer. The other thing you have to look out for in beer is if it contains mannitol. Some of them do, but not all of them.
Now, spirits. Most of the spirits are all right – again, in small amounts because they’re alcohol – and you would get away with one, perhaps a gin and tonic. Just check out that the tonic doesn’t have any high fructose corn syrup in it – some of them do. And, of course, it’s carbonated, which will be causing you a problem along with the alcohol. But that’s the least bad, let’s say, or maybe a whiskey and soda. The worst would be a rum and coke. Rum is sweet. It has quite a bit of sweetener in there that’s high FODMAP even if it’s just a small amount. And, of course, coke is not going to be good from the point of view that it’s carbonated, that it contains caffeine which is also a gut irritant, and it’s just plain bad for you.
I hope that clarifies a little bit what you can drink. Just be very careful of anything like a punch at a party. You have no idea what’s in there, and for sure there’s some fruit juice which you won’t be able to drink. Having said that, do have the occasional drink and enjoy it. Thank you for watching, and goodbye.