size and frequency of meals

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Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 713
   Posted 4/23/2008 6:55 AM (GMT -7)   
For people with bowel issues it is suggested to "not pack/load your bowel with a large meal"..."eating more often but eater smaller meals."
Have people followed this advice? How has it impacted on your "bowel issues" and how highly would you rate this advice?
With thanks,
Asacol and Iron as Needed. <I've fallen back into unhealthy ways and really enjoying it, burb!>
"Whatever you do in life don't berate yourself too much nor contragulate yourself too much. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody elses'"

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Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 4/23/2008 7:45 AM (GMT -7)   
That is advice that most people on here generally give as well. It does help some people have less severe bowel problems (I don't think it completely solves anyone's problem, but every little bit helps, right?). It can work on multiple levels:

For people with acid problems, more frequent meals keeps the acid from building up and causing worse reflux.
For people with bloating, smaller meals can mean less bloating at any one time.
For people with diarrhea, smaller meals are less likely to trigger the diarrhea, or make it stop that much faster once it gets started.
For people with constipation, smaller meals may make it a bit easier for the food to travel through the intestines and not get all backed up.
For people with finicky digestive systems in general, smaller, more frequent meals keep the system from being "shocked" or otherwise overreacting, as it can do when a lot of food is introduced to a largely empty system.

Personally, I don't have a problem that is helped by this advice, however, I do have two things that I do that are cousins of this theory. One, if I'm going to eat something bad, I have only a small amount of it. Two, I can have certain things once every few days, but not everyday, so some foods I have to space out and not eat them too regularly or my guts will build up a dislike for it (and let me know).

Lady Frog
Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 139
   Posted 4/23/2008 8:17 AM (GMT -7)   
I would rate this advice highly. This is something that I have to do. When I was C it helped because too much in the system at once would cause alot of pain as the stuff moved down the line and basically pushed against what was already there. With the D it helps because after a massive flareup you don't really feel like eating because everything is sore. But you know you have to at some point. So the small meals help because if I eat too much after an attack it will set it back off again and that never feels pretty. Right now I am eating this way to retrain my body to feel hunger. I eat a small meal( sandwich, bowl of rice, a slice or two of meat from dinner last night) every three hours because after a few years of "If I don't eat I won't get sick" ( didn't really work by the way) I can no longer feel mild to moderate hunger. I can only feel that kind of hunger you get when you have been running around all day, and it's now close to 7-8pm and you haven't eaten anything all day. I have to keep the meals small because my stomach seems to have shrunk and it can't hold as much as it used to. If I eat a regular sized lunch, say a sandwich, plus a piece of fruit and a can of coke, I will have stuffed myself enough that I will set off an attack. Plus the smaller meals allow me to eat more calories in a day. I was told by my irate doc that I needed to up my intake to 2.5k a day. I was only eating about 400-600 a day for the past two years. Now I was told to aim for that per meal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 2486
   Posted 4/23/2008 8:23 AM (GMT -7)   
I am definitely a fan of the smaller-more-frequent meals. It's just better for you in general.

I start the day off with yogurt, couple hours later have some fruits/veggies and a quarter cup of mixed nuts or something, then have stew or soup and a piece of whole grain bread for lunch, then some celery/carrots or whatever later in the afternoon, then a light dinner like a piece of fish and rice and steamed veggies...sometimes I break up dinner, even, into two smaller dinners a couple hours apart. I still have diarrhea, but not as bad as I would if I went crazy and had it all at once :)
Co-moderator - IBS Forum

Please always remember to consult your medical professional regarding your medical questions; this forum is intended to provide patient-to-patient support. Although some of us have healthcare backgrounds, we cannot diagnose or treat patients on the board.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 64
   Posted 4/26/2008 6:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Does a diet really help with ibs? The only way I can control my "output" is by eating very little every other day. (ie: 1 sandwhich every other day) If I eat more than that I start running like crazy. Yes, I awake in the middle of the night too. I wish everone luck.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1956
   Posted 4/26/2008 6:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Eating very little definitely helps my situation. The times that I do eat a large meal, I usually regret it. The other day I had a mid afternoon dental appt. I knew I had to be able to sit in that chair for 2 hours (bridge/crown work) so I literally ate 2 grapes, 2 crackers with sliced cheese and a tall glass of water. Funny thing was I was actually full! And I didn't feel hungry until dinner time. I do tend to eat more at dinner because by then I know I need calories (I work part time and my breakfast consists of one of the following, but no more: one half plain english muffin, 1 banana or 1 slice of plain toast). I have been eating light lunches when I am home from work but by dinner, I am very hungry. If I didn't have to work I could eat the 4 to 6 very small meals that would work best for me. But I won't take that chance and eat at work. Who knows what would happen!

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