White rice can be a temporary solution for calming IBS flare-ups due to its low FODMAP content and ease of digestion.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.

Many with IBS manage their symptoms through a low FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) diet, which avoids fermentable carbohydrates known to trigger symptoms.

White rice is considered one of the lowest FODMAP grains. It’s easy to digest and less likely to cause digestive issues.

Let’s examine how white rice can help manage IBS symptoms and explore why alternative options might be more appropriate for certain individuals.

White rice is often a good option during an IBS flare-up, because it’s low in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) that can aggravate symptoms. It’s easy to digest and generally well-tolerated by most people with IBS.

Eating white rice too often may not be advisable, however, as its processing removes fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and its high glycemic index can impact blood sugar levels.

Other grains like quinoa, oats, polenta, and gluten-free pasta can also be good choices depending on your individual tolerances and preferences. It can be helpful to experiment with different options to see what works best for you.

Rice, especially white rice, is often recommended for individuals with IBS due to its low FODMAP content. FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms in some people with IBS.

A 2020 review found that a low FODMAP diet is effective for managing IBS symptoms, benefiting most individuals. The diet works by reducing osmotic load (the amount of substances that draw water into the intestines) and gas in the gut, but its long-term effects and risks need more research.

In addition, white rice is easy to digest, which can be beneficial for those with sensitive digestive systems. It provides a bland source of carbohydrates that can help settle the stomach and provide a gentle source of energy without irritating the digestive system.

Can white rice help you avoid an IBS flare-up?

White rice is less likely to trigger IBS symptoms, but it’s not necessarily viewed as a preventive measure for flare-ups.

The focus in managing IBS is typically on identifying and avoiding triggers, maintaining a balanced diet, and managing stress. In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms.

Studies show that other interventions such as acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy, meditation, and yoga have also been as effective as a low FODMAP diet in reducing IBS symptoms.

Overall, treating IBS may involve a holistic approach, integrating medical treatment, lifestyle changes, dietary adaptations, and behavioral therapy.

White rice is often considered the best option for IBS due to its lower fiber content which makes it easier to digest and less likely to trigger symptoms.

However, white rice is high in carbohydrates, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This may be a consideration for individuals managing diabetes or at risk of developing it.

A study of 132,373 individuals across 21 countries found that higher white rice consumption, 450 grams or 3 cups a day, was associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes, particularly in South Asia. However, other regions showed a modest, nonsignificant association, suggesting the findings may be more applicable in certain populations.

For those concerned about blood sugar levels or seeking more nutrition, other rice varieties, such as brown rice and basmati rice, are also low in FODMAPs and may be suitable.

Ultimately, it’s important that you listen to your body and choose the rice type that best suits your needs.

What other grains can you eat with IBS?

There are several low FODMAP grains that are generally well-tolerated by individuals with IBS, including the following:

  • quinoa
  • oats (gluten-free)
  • millet
  • buckwheat
  • polenta
  • cornmeal

How to introduce foods in an elimination diet

An elimination diet for IBS involves removing certain foods that may trigger symptoms, and then reintroducing them to see how they affect you.

To incorporate a specific type of food, such as rice, start by removing all potential trigger foods, including other grains, for a few weeks. Then, gradually reintroduce rice while monitoring your symptoms. If it doesn’t cause issues, you can continue to include it in your diet.

White rice may help with IBS because it’s low in FODMAPs and easy to digest, which may reduce the risk of triggering symptoms. However, it’s not a foolproof method, and other interventions, such as acupuncture and CBT, have proven just as successful.

To see if white rice helps reduce flare-ups, you can try incorporating it into your diet for a period of time while monitoring your symptoms.