Foods to avoid during flares

Diet doesn’t cause flares, but your food choices can make symptoms worse if your IBD becomes active.

How foods affect people who are flaring varies from person to person. But here are some of the foods that may worsen symptoms of a flare and cause complications:

  • Fatty foods (especially fried foods and fatty meats)
  • Sweets (ice cream, cookies, baked goods, candy)
  • Sugary beverages (soda, fruit juice)
  • Dairy products (low-fat dairy products, feta, and goat cheese may be better tolerated)
  • Beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
  • Sugar alcohols (sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol) used to sweeten in sugar-free foods
  • Raw fruits and vegetables (especially those with thick skins like apples and cucumbers)
  • Beans and lentils (the high fiber content can worsen symptoms)
  • Whole nuts and seeds
  • Whole grain and high-fiber breads and cereals
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruits with seeds (berries) and skins (apples)


Adding foods back after a flare

Just because a food was eliminated during a flare, doesn’t mean you have to give it up entirely. Here are some tips for adding foods back after a flare:

  • Eat small, frequent meals every three to four hours.
  • Take small bites and chew well.
  • Slowly liberalize your diet, adding one or two items at a time. The foods to start with include cooked vegetables, peeled fruits, mild cheese and yogurt, oatmeal and barley, tofu and soymilk, and hummus.
  • Raw and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower) should be added back last.
  • Slow down and relax at meal time.