Apples Cause IBS Symptoms and Should be Avoided
An apple a day may well keep the doctors away. However, that may not hold true for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS for short. In fact, apples may actually cause further digestive distress. This is due to the weakened ability of digestive systems with IBS to process and digest the fermentable fibers and sugars found in apple. If you have IBS, it is wise to avoid apples as a part of the low-FODMAPs diet. Especially for those dealing with IBS-D (in which diarrhea is the main symptom). Apples cause IBS symptoms including diarrhea for me within a couple hours of consuming them.
Why Apples cause IBS symptoms
Apples contain fermentable carboyhydrates. This means that apple has sugars and fibers that human stomach and intestines cannot fully process. As these sugars and fibers travel through our digestive tract, it creates gas and irregular movements that cause IBS symptoms.
The digestive systems of IBS patients cannot digest monosaccharides well. This carboydrate category includes fructose, which is a sugar found in many fruits. Apples have a high fructose content. Therefore, the large amount of undigested sugar can be especially tough on a delicate IBS digestive tract. Causing immediate symptoms of gas, irregular movement, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
To make matters worse, Apples also contain a high amount of sorbitol, which is another type of sugar in the polyols carbohydrate category. Those with IBS have digestive problems absorbing polyols. Eating apples further contributes to indigestion which could trigger IBS symptoms. This is why apples cause IBS symptoms.
FODMAPs table for apples
Below, you will see a FODMAPs table
|Carbohydrate Category||Source or Type of Sugar||Present in Apple?|
|Fermentable||Undigested carbohydrate that ferment in our digestive tract and produces gases||Yes|
|Oligosaccharides||Fructans and Galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) commonly found in wheat, onion family, garlic, and legumes||No|
|Disaccharides||Lactose (sugar) commonly found in milk, cheese, and other dairy products.||No|
|Monosaccharides||Fructose (sugar) found commonly in fruits and processed food containing corn syrups||Yes|
|Polyols||Sorbitol and Mannitol (sugars) commonly found in artificial sweetners and some fruits/vegetables||Yes|
How apples react with my digestive system
Apples do not mix well with my delicate stomach healing from IBS. Every time I eat apples or consume apple related product (such as apple sauce or processed food with apple ingredients) I would experience digestive distress. These range from excessive gas and bowel contractions to outright diarrhea. I quickly learned about the link between apples and IBS symptoms after I was officially diagnosed. Besides occasional random flare-ups, I no longer have any IBS symptoms. This is thanks to a FODMAPs elimination diet that includes avoiding apples while my gut heals and recovers.
Living without apples
Just like oranges and bananas, apples are a very common fruit, especially in America. We see them everywhere and it’s definitely challenging to avoid them. Processed foods also include apple ingredients such as apple juice, apple sauce, and apple concentrate. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to have a capsule or two of Imodium. Just in case you accidentally consume an apple product. It’s an insurance policy to prevent running to the bathroom in the middle of a work meeting.
It is also important to know that IBS is a very fluid disorder. What will cause symptoms for some won’t bother others. As a result, some levels of experimentation is necessary in order to determine what your digestive tract can handle. IBS is also fickle. What works for you the week before may cause you diarrhea or constipation the week after. So it is always wise to monitor how your body reacts to your diet.
Using probiotics to enhance digestion of apples
I have witnessed personally how a consistent intake of probiotics can enhance digestive abilities for those with IBS. For this reason, it may be a good idea to start taking probiotics if you are not already. Yeast-based probiotics such as Florastor will help promote digestive enzymes and strengthen your immune system. Top probiotic products with patented bacterial strains such as Align should also be considered. Additionally, sometimes it comes down to a battle of the numbers in healing an IBS gut. That is when VSL #3 comes out to play with its high-dose probiotic count in each capsule.
Ultimately, there are plenty of options available to lessen IBS symptoms. Whether it is a course of probiotics or lifestyle changes and medication, be sure to eliminate apple from your diet first. Especially if you have diarrhea or other digestive distress and are currently eating apples. The ultimate goal is to see if your IBS symptoms decrease after dropping apples from your diet.
If so, then you are just one step closer towards a IBS symptom-free life.