You’ve Been Told You Have IBS. Now What?

by team nuut

Here’s how to relieve IBS’s dreaded symptoms with food and plant-based protein powder solutions.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects between 25 and 45 million people in the United States and around 30% of Australians. It is not known exactly what causes it, but in some cases, symptoms are triggered after having a tummy bug or a stressful life event. Some researchers suggest IBS is the gut’s response to life’s stressors.

IBS is a type of functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. These conditions, also called disorders of the gut-brain interaction, refer to problems in how your gut and brain interact. They can cause your digestive tract to be very sensitive and change how your bowel muscles contract. The result is abdominal pain, diarrhea and constipation.

If you haven't experienced its symptoms, which include chronic abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of these, you may not understand just how debilitating IBS is to live with. Contrary to opinion, IBS doesn’t damage your digestive tract or raise your risk for colon cancer.

There are three types of IBS:

• IBS with constipation (IBS-C)

• IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)

• IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M)

Whether you can't go at all or go far too much, symptoms like bloating, cramps, and gas can set your day off track and take the fun out of life, especially if they are constant and extreme. In some cases, they can even cause anxiety and depression.

Known as the “invisible” illness, many sufferers feel guilt and embarrassment when repeatedly told they look and sound fine. For those who feel this acutely, it can be helpful to seek advice from a counsellor or support group to talk to.

The good news is there are effective treatments for IBS that focus on alleviating symptoms so you can enjoy living as symptom-free as possible.

Mild symptoms can be managed by minimising stress and making simple changes in your diet and lifestyle:

• Avoid foods you know trigger your symptoms

• Eat more vegetables that contain high-fibre

• Ramp up your daily fluids

• Include vegan protein powder in your daily diet

• Exercise 3 -5 times a week

• Log 6-8 hours of sleep every night.

• Avoid high-gas foods, including carbonated and alcoholic drinks and foods that may increase gas.

• Research reveals that some people with IBS report improved symptoms if they avoid gluten-laden food like wheat, barley and rye.

• Some people are sensitive to specific carbohydrates such as fructose, fructans, lactose and others, otherwise known as FODMAPs that are found in certain grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy products.

Different aspects of daily life pose regular challenges for those who suffer from IBS and can lead to less enjoyment of food, eating disorders or missing meals in the hope of avoiding symptoms.

Unfortunately, no single diet or medicine cures IBS symptoms, but luckily, many things can help:

• Prepare nutritious homemade meals using fresh produce and wholefoods

• Journal daily what you eat along with any symptoms

• Incorporate relaxation into every day, like taking a sauna, getting a massage or meditating

• Fit in 3-5 exercise sessions a week

• Avoid fatty, spicy or processed foods

• Do not eat more than three pieces of fresh fruit a day (a portion = 80g)

• Try taking probiotics for three weeks and see if there is any change in symptoms.

• Don't drink more than 3 cups of tea or coffee a day

• Never skip meals

• Eat slowly and chew well

• Cut back on alcohol and fizzy drinks

The Power of Plant-Based Protein

Protein is an essential component in any diet. It is in every body cell and makes up important hormones/enzymes essential for muscle repair and regeneration.

Unlike other macronutrients like carbohydrates and fats, protein can't be stored in our bodies. Instead, it is broken down into amino acids, and the body continuously builds it up and breaks it down with any excess dietary protein excreted through urine.

Plant-based foods, including the very best plant-based protein powders, are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and higher in fibre and other nutrients that make a gut happy and healthy. They are also more easily digested than animal-based proteins, making them the perfect choice for IBS sufferers.

When choosing a vegan protein powder, look for polyols on the ingredients list, like xylitol, sorbitol and mannitol, which are used as low-calorie sweeteners. They can be triggering if you are sensitive to sugar and alcohol.

Perth-founded protein powder nuut doesn't include artificial sweeteners, so it's a big tick for us!

Eat Lots of Fresh Wholefood Protein

Focus on good quality dietary protein sources like meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and vegetarian sources such as tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes.

Mix up different sources throughout the day to ensure you meet your protein requirements. These are based on age, sex and body weight. The recommended daily intakes for protein in Australia for women over the age of 18 is 0.75g/kg, and for men is 0.84g/kg.

Many IBS sufferers report a drop in appetite or turn to carbs to fill them up to quell nausea. As a result, they may not meet their full daily quota of fruit and vegetables.

Perth’s nuut is one of the best plant-based proteins for its scientifically formulated powder that meets over one-third of your daily nutritional requirements. Packed with super greens, kelp, kale, cacao, and organic pea protein, it’s a big plate of veggies in a cup!


Many experts recommend IBS sufferers follow a low FODMAP diet.

FODMAPs is an acronym for Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, and Monosaccharides And Polyols.

FODMAP foods, like dairy-based milk, yogurt and ice cream, wheat-based products such as cereal, bread and crackers, beans and lentils and some veggies like onions, garlic, asparagus and artichokes, ferment in the gut and trigger IBS symptoms like gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, and constipation.

Following a Low FODMAP diet can prove very successful in managing IBS symptoms:

Low FODMAP Fruits Include:

• Bananas

• Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries

• Rockmelon

• Grapes

• Kiwi fruit

• Lemons and limes

Low FODMAP Vegetables Include:

• Arugula, kale, lettuces, Swiss chard and collard greens

• Beans

• Capsicum

• Cabbage

• Carrots

• Chillies

• Cucumber

• Eggplant

• Ginger

• Potatoes

• Radish

• Tomatoes

• Turnips

• Zucchini

• Edamame

Foods That Trigger

Some IBS sufferers discover that certain foods can trigger their symptoms. Adding healthy snacks into your day can help reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups.

Here are the foods to avoid:

Foods that trigger gas and bloating:




Those that can lead to diarrhea and cramping and reduce bowel function:



Sorbitol sweetener

Fried dishes like French fries and fried chicken

FODMAP-containing foods like:

• Certain fruits

High fructose corn syrup


• Low-calorie sweeteners

• Beans

Brussels sprouts

While it is hugely frustrating trying to get a handle on IBS, nearly everyone with IBS can find a treatment that helps them. Exercise and relaxation are essential for managing symptoms, as is planning a healthy, filling diet, including daily vegan protein powders that suit your body and lifestyle.