Non-FODMAP Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Triggers

IBS Triggers - Alcohol

Even when following a low FODMAP diet carefully, sometimes people with IBS still experience symptoms. It’s important to remember that there are some additional food triggers that can cause symptoms although they aren’t high in FODMAPs.

Here are some foods and drinks to be mindful of that can trigger IBS symptoms.

Spicy Foods

Most spices and herbs are low FODMAP and should not cause IBS symptoms, however certain spices such as chilli contain a chemical known as capsaicin. Capsaicin is responsible for the heat in chilli which can aggravate IBS symptoms. Our recommendation is to take it easy if you find your symptoms are worse after eating spicy foods and reduce the spice you add. Keep in mind if you purchase spicy sauces or curry powders that you may want to opt for mild options or use a smaller serving size in your dishes.

High fat foods

High fat content in foods has an impact on gut motility, which is the speed at which food is digested. For people who experience diarrhea-based IBS symptoms, foods higher in fat content can make this worse. Additionally, for people who experience predominantly constipation IBS, higher fat foods can slow things down even more. Foods to watch out for include deep fried foods, certain cooking oils like sesame and certain meat products.


Caffeine can be another trigger for IBS symptoms as it also affects gut motility. Caffeine speeds up our motility which commonly results in an urgency to go to the bathroom. For people with IBS, this may trigger diarrhoea. Caffeine containing products include coffee, tea and energy drinks. Our recommendation is to minimise your caffeine intake. If you’re a lover of coffee and tea, consider using decaf products to help minimise your symptoms.


Getting enough fibre in our diet helps keep our bowel motions regular and our guts happy. When following a low FODMAP diet, it may be more challenging to include as much fibre in your diet due to limiting high FODMAP containing foods. Without enough fibre, our bowel motions can be uncomfortable. Some great low FODMAP foods to help with fibre include oats, brown rice, low FODMAP serves of fruit, vegetables and seeds. It’s also important to keep your water intake regular too which will help with your bowel movements. If you’re struggling on meeting your fibre needs, we recommend working with a dietician.


When following a low FODMAP diet, there are still a number of alcoholic beverages that can be enjoyed. However, alcohol can irritate the gut and affect motility as well as intestinal absorption. This means that you may experience symptoms after consuming alcohol. As food an alcohol are often consumed simultaneously, if you think alcohol might be a trigger it’s important to also consider what you might be eating.

We have some helpful tips if you’re struggling with IBS symptom management. We also recommend working with a health care professional like a registered dietician to help you with your unique health needs.

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