Is Bacon Bad for IBS? Everything You Need to Know

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common digestive disorder that affects the large intestine. It can cause symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Many people with IBS find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. One food that often comes up is bacon.

So is bacon bad for IBS? The answer isn’t straightforward. Here’s a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of eating bacon with IBS

How Bacon Can Aggravate IBS

There are a few reasons why bacon may exacerbate IBS symptoms:

High Fat Content

  • Bacon is very high in fat. A single slice of pan-fried bacon contains around 5 grams of fat (1).

  • High-fat foods take longer to digest. This can worsen IBS symptoms like bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and constipation (2).

  • The high saturated fat content of bacon may also stimulate the gut to secrete more fluid, leading to diarrhea (3).


  • Bacon is very high in sodium, containing around 170–250 mg per slice (4).

  • Eating too much salt can draw more water into the intestines, resulting in loose, watery stools (5).

  • Salt can also cause the gut to contract excessively, leading to intestinal spasms and pain (6).


  • Bacon contains preservatives like sodium nitrite to prevent spoilage and bacterial growth (7).

  • Some people with IBS are sensitive to food additives like preservatives. They may trigger symptoms (8).

  • There are also some health concerns around consuming too much sodium nitrite from processed meats like bacon (9).

Smoked Bacon

  • Many types of bacon are smoked to enhance their flavor.

  • Smoking introduces potentially irritating substances like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which may worsen IBS in sensitive individuals (10).

Potential Benefits of Bacon for IBS

Despite the drawbacks above, bacon may still be tolerated in moderation by some people with IBS. Here are some of the potential benefits:


  • The low FODMAP diet is beneficial for managing IBS. It involves limiting foods high in fermentable carbs (FODMAPs) (11).

  • Plain bacon is low in FODMAPs. The pork meat itself does not contain FODMAPs (12).

  • This makes bacon a good low FODMAP protein choice.

Salt Content

  • While excessive salt is harmful, having some salt in the diet is still important for health.

  • Strictly limiting salt intake could actually worsen diarrhea in some cases by causing a drop in blood sodium levels (13).

Fat Content

  • Although high-fat foods can be problematic, some fats are better digested than others.

  • Bacon contains monounsaturated fats that may be less likely to aggravate IBS compared to other types of fats (14).

  • Leaner bacon options are available too.


  • Bacon has a strong, distinctive flavor that people enjoy.

  • Making low FODMAP foods more flavorful can make the diet more enjoyable and sustainable.

Tips for Eating Bacon with IBS

If you want to include bacon in your diet, there are some tips that can help prevent it from worsening your IBS:

  • Stick to 2–3 slices per sitting max. More may be too much fat to handle.

  • Opt for reduced-fat or turkey bacon to decrease fat and sodium content.

  • Avoid smoked, flavored, or injected bacon containing onions, garlic, or other FODMAPs.

  • Check labels for high FODMAP ingredients like garlic powder.

  • Cook bacon thoroughly to reduce nitrite content.

  • Eat bacon alongside foods high in soluble fiber to slow digestion.

  • Be cautious if you have IBS-D, as fat and salt content may aggravate diarrhea.

  • Pay attention to your symptoms and avoid bacon if it reliably worsens your IBS.

Healthy Low FODMAP Bacon Recipes for IBS

If you want to include bacon in your IBS-friendly diet, try modifying it to make it healthier. Here are some tasty recipes:

Turkey Bacon Spinach Frittata

  • Replace regular bacon with turkey bacon to reduce fat and sodium.

  • Packed with vitamin-rich spinach and eggs for protein.

  • Frittatas are usually well-tolerated by those with IBS.

Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • Brussels sprouts are low FODMAP and high in fiber.

  • Roasting maintains flavor while using less added fat.

  • Serve with quinoa or brown rice to increase soluble fiber.

Chicken Carbonara with Turkey Bacon

  • Lean chicken and turkey bacon provide protein without excess saturated fat.

  • Farfalle pasta is low FODMAP in servings under 1/2 cup.

  • Parmesan cheese adds savory flavor.

The Bottom Line

Bacon can be problematic for IBS due to its high amounts of fat, salt, and preservatives. However, plain bacon is low FODMAP, and small amounts may be tolerated, especially if you choose leaner varieties. Cooking bacon in healthy recipes can help maximize the benefits while reducing the drawbacks. Pay attention to your own symptoms, and avoid bacon if it seems to make your IBS worse. With the right approach, bacon can still have an occasional place in an IBS-friendly diet.

Best & Worst Foods to Eat with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) | Reduce Risk and Symptoms of IBS


Can I have bacon on a low fodmap diet?

Bacon is low FODMAP. However, this does not apply for all products as some have added high FODMAP ingredients, such as onion and garlic powder and celery juice. Sometimes high FODMAP ingredients can hide under the term ‘natural flavorings’. As bacon is usually high in fat, opt for products with lower fat content.

What is the best breakfast for IBS sufferers?

You can not beat oats as a breakfast option when you have IBS – low FODMAP, high fibre and so versatile. You can add any type of milk and you can add a protein powder to increase the protein content.” Add to basket.

What meats should you avoid with IBS?

Lean meats are high in protein, making them easier to digest, and won’t cause gas. Those with IBS should avoid meats like sausage, bacon, pepperoni, and salami.

Can you eat bacon if you have IBS?

Can you eat bacon if you have IBS, and are following a low FODMAP diet. Bacon isn’t actually listed on the Monash University app of FODMAP friendly foods, but some low FODMAP recipes contain bacon. The real answer is that it depends on the bacon. Bacon is made from pork, and contains protein and fat, which would make it low FODMAP.

Can you eat low FODMAP bacon if you have IBS?

Even though you choose low FODMAP bacon, you should be mindful when eating it. Bacon usually contains more fat, which can trigger IBS symptoms. Learn more about IBS symptoms here: What are the symptoms and causes of IBS? Fat affects gut motility by prolonging the time through the intestines. People with IBS experience this as ( 2 ):

What foods can cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D)?

Beans and legumes (such as chickpeas, soybeans, lentils, navy beans, and kidney beans) are good sources of fiber but are also on the list of high FODMAP foods that can trigger IBS-D symptoms if you eat too much. If you have diarrhea, it’s important to know that certain foods can encourage painful intestinal spasms and loose stools.

Which foods are making my IBS symptoms more uncomfortable?

Many people notice that avoiding some common IBS triggers — including dairy, alcohol, and fried foods — results in: Keep reading to find out which foods could be making your IBS symptoms more uncomfortable. 1. Insoluble fiber Dietary fiber adds bulk to the diet and helps keep the gut healthy.

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