Rice-based foods for IBS diet?

I’ve read that rice, including rice milk and rice flour, is beneficial to people with digestive disorders like IBS because it is easier to digest. As an IBS sufferer, would my symptoms improve if I replaced some of the foods in my diet with rice-based alternatives?

Answer – If you have IBS, you may find that certain foods tend to be more bothersome than others. However, you need to make sure that your body is optimally nourished, even if you choose to cut back or eliminate some items from your diet. Some IBS sufferers find that foods with gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye) may not be tolerated well; this means breads, bagels, and pasta. The body still needs carbohydrates, so the rule is to discriminate, not eliminate. Rice or rice pasta can be used as a grain alternative to pasta, or rice based breads and crackers can replace wheat products. If you choose to use rice milk, be aware that it is not as high in protein as cow’s milk, and unless you have lactose intolerance or food allergies, you will get more nutritional value from milk.

Also, rice flour does have a different texture and can be somewhat grainy, so if you choose to use it to replace flours in recipes, be prepared for a different texture as well as a different look to the baked foods. Breads and muffins will be denser, and heavier prepared with rice flour.

– Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, LDN

Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, LDN, Director of Sports Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Published in Digestive Health Matters, Vol. 17, No. 1.

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