Not sure if your sugar is making your IBS worse? This article will help you to find out and learn how you can actually use sweetness to support your gut.
If you’re finding it really hard to resist those sugary sweets, this article will help you understand why you get those cravings and how it’s related to your IBS. I know all about IBS confusions. I teach my clients how to use food to actually heal their guts.
It’s the holidays and sugar is all around you people are bringing that holiday baking, gifting you with cookies and cake, baked with love and care. And not to mention even those candy canes that are everywhere you go. I don’t normally eat sweets, but even our house has more baking in it than usual. You already know that sugary sweets aren’t healthy.
Even cookie monster changed his tune to, a cookie is a sometimes food. But issugar even worse for people struggling with IBS? Does sugary foods flare up your IBS gut? For a lot of people, sweets are a comfort food. Many of you probably grew up finishing your meals with a sweet dessert. So it’s part of your everyday diet.
On top of that, you might crave a chocolate pick me up after a bad day, or grab something sweet and starchy to help boost your energy in the afternoon. But have you ever stopped to consider what’s causing your sweet cravings and how it’s affecting your IBS? From a traditional Chinese medicine or TCM perspective, different flavors soothe, heal and affect different internal organ systems.
For example, salty flavors correspond to the TCM kidney organ, and sour flavors to the TCM liver. Your digestive system is made up of two main organs, the TCM spleen and the TCM stomach, and these two organs are affected by sweet flavors. So, what does this mean? With IBS and any other digestive condition, the TCM spleen and stomach are weak and when they are weak, they have a tendency to crave sweet flavors to help soothe and rebuild their energy.
But wait! Before you start adding cakes and cookies back into your regular diet, there are a few important things you need to know.
The first is, that a little goes a long way – there’s a fine balance between supporting your gut by eating sweet foods and doing damage by eating too much of it. Although sweet flavors do nourish a weak gut, having too much of It actually weakens it a bit more, which brings me to number two:
Sugar versus sweetness – our organ’s definition of sweet is very different from that of our taste buds. It’s much more subtle and the craving isn’t actually for sweet processed foods, but for sweetness naturally found in whole foods. What do I mean by that? Well, if you’ve ever done a sugar detox, are you’ve cut down the amount of processed sugar in your diet, you might have discovered that every day non-sweet foods actually have a degree of sweetness to them.
I’m not just talking about sweet potatoes, but things like carrots, other vegetables, rice, different fruits, even meats like chicken. Non-dessert foods have a sweet flavor that’s enough to support and rebuild your gut, which brings me finally to number three:
Avoid processed sugars – sorry guys, but in TCM, those sweets, candies, cookies, all those foods cause sluggishness in your gut, producing what we call “dampness and phlegm,” which actually slows down your gut and prevents it from doing its job instead of helping to heal it. So unfortunately, if you want to really be able to manage your IBS symptoms, you need to resist those tempting baked goods and delicious hot cocoa.
Yes, even the gluten-free low sugar kind, at least for this year. But next year could be a totally different story if your IBS is fully under control. Those sweets in my house, I’m definitely enjoying them without a second thought about IBS attacks because my IBS has been under control for years. And I know that the holidays are my sometimes for sugary sweetness. After that, I’ll go back to eating fruit, which is my favorite all-time dessert.
Emily Farish Acupuncture
400 S. Jefferson, Suite 203
Spokane, WA 99204