Foods to Avoid with Diverticulitis – Do You Know Your Food Sensitivities?

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Many experts believe that there are specific foods to avoid with diverticulitis.  This article is meant to educate you on ways to quickly and scientifically find out which foods may be causing your diverticulitis.

As people get older we sometimes develop small bulging pouches or pockets in the lining of the large intestine.

The pouches are called diverticula and they lead to the condition commonly known as diverticulitis. Inflamed pouches in the intestines can become very painful and bring on chronic bouts of stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, bloat, fever, constipation, and diarrhea.  And many experts believe that

Food is the root cause of this condition.

About half of Americans over 60 have diverticulitis. And getting to the root cause of your diverticulitis can take time and effort.

However, most people suffering from diverticulitis have not heard of the recent advancements in affordable and easy at-home testing for food sensitivities and food intolerances.

Companies like Habit and Everlywell now have simple, inexpensive tests that you can administer at home that will provide you with your personalized food sensitivity readings.

These tests are evaluated quickly at laboratories and within a couple of weeks, you can know which foods your body is intolerant to. I’ll tell you more about these tests later in this article.

High-FODMAP foods

Recent studies have indicated that limiting FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) can help prevent frequent bouts of diverticulitis. These foods include:

  • apples, pears, and plums
  • milk, yogurt, and ice cream
  • fermented foods, such as sauerkraut or kimchi
  • beans
  • cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • onions and garlic

However, figuring out which of these exact foods are causing your diverticulitis can take months of elimination diets and unnecessary pain and discomfort. In this article, I’m going to tell you how to quickly find out which foods to avoid with diverticulitis.

One simple at-home test can look at your body’s sensitivities to all FODMAP foods and quickly provide you with information about which of these foods that could be causing your diverticulitis.

What about Gluten?

If you have a history of IBS, acid reflux, heartburn, bloating or gas, you should probably avoid gluten. People with gluten sensitivity who continue to eat gluten have an increased risk of diverticulitis.

Research has shown that avoiding gluten offers most people with diverticulitis significant symptom relief while reducing the risk flare-ups. Gluten sensitivity is often a major culprit in many digestive disorders. Most at-home food intolerance tests can quickly tell you if your body has a sensitivity to gluten.

Millions of Americans suffer unknowingly from gluten sensitivities and most live undiagnosed for years or often decades.  A simple and affordable at home food intolerance test from Habit or Everylywell can tell you how your body reacts to gluten.

Gluten can show up in many foods including:

  • Pasta:
    • ravioli, dumplings, couscous, and gnocchi
  • Noodles:
    • ramen, udon, soba (those made with only a percentage of buckwheat flour) chow mein, and egg noodles. (Note: rice noodles and mung bean noodles are gluten-free)
  • Bread and Pastries:
    • croissants, pita, naan, bagels, flatbreads, cornbread, potato bread, muffins, donuts, rolls
  • Crackers:
    • pretzels, goldfish, graham crackers
  • Baked Goods:
    • cakes, cookies, pie crusts, brownies
  • Cereal & Granola:
    • corn flakes and rice puffs often contain malt extract/flavoring, granola often made with regular oats, not gluten-free oats
  • Breakfast Foods:
    • pancakes, waffles, french toast, crepes, and biscuits.
  • Breading & Coating Mixes:
    • panko breadcrumbs
  • Croutons:
    • stuffings, dressings
  • Sauces & Gravies (many use wheat flour as a thickener)
    • traditional soy sauce, cream sauces made with a roux
  • Flour tortillas
  • Beer (unless explicitly gluten-free) and any malt beverages (see “Distilled Beverages and Vinegar” below for more information on alcoholic beverages)
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Anything else that uses “wheat flour” as an ingredient


A typical diet that’s high in sugar and low in fiber could likely be a factor in diverticulitis. Your body breaks sugar down into smaller particles known as glucose, which we use for energy. However, the Mayo Clinic has reported that sugar, especially when eaten in abundance, can cause diarrhea.

Many experts believe that people with diverticulitis could have sugar sensitivities that are causing diarrhea and contributing to diverticulitis.  Millions of Americans are living with sugar intolerance and sensitivity.  Diarrhea and nausea are often symptoms of this intolerance.

A simple at-home food intolerance test can quickly let you know if you have a sugar sensitivity.

As you probably know, many of our favorite snacks and drinks are high in sugar including:

  • cake
  • cookies
  • sweet breads like bananna bread and cornbread
  • ice cream
  • packaged snacks
  • candy bars
  • soda
  • lemonade
  • sweet tea

Can I Eat Red Meat?

A recent study by Harvard researchers and published online Jan. 9, 2017, by the journal Gut suggests that eating red meat is associated with an increased risk for developing diverticulitis. Men who consumed more red meat per week (about 13 servings) were 58% more likely to develop diverticulitis during the study period, compared with men who ate the least red meat per week (1.2 servings).

The link was strongest for steak and other unprocessed red meat. The study also found that the risk for developing diverticulitis was 20% lower for subjects who substituted poultry or fish for one serving of unprocessed red meat each day.

Food Sensitivity Testing

Over the past decade, there have been major strides made at understanding and measuring the impact that food has on our bodies.  Each of us has a unique chemistry process food differently.  The complexity of our body’s circulatory, nervous and digestive systems is unimaginable.

A food that might be 100% tolerable for one person could be just the thing that is short-circuiting someone else’s gut.  The amazing thing is that now we can easily find out which foods are giving us problems.

Food sensitivity tests are now widely available.  I’ve personally taken the Habit and Everlywell tests.  My full reviews can be found at

My personal struggles with acne, headaches, and IBS have been virtually solved by eliminating four specific foods that were identified as problem-foods for my body. Focusing on gut health has changed my life.

Final Thoughts

Diverticulitis is a painful and life-altering disease affects millions of Americans.  While there is no clear proof that certain foods cause diverticulitis, most experts agree that food is the most obvious link.

Most agree that there are definitely foods to avoid with diverticulitis.  While certain theories like the link with nuts and seeds have been debunked, many other food-based theories are gaining scientific backing.

Also, the recent Harvard University study linking red meat as a probable contributing factor to diverticulitis, cannot be ignored.  Most experts believe that a high fiber diet can certainly help prevent diverticulitis.

But, what about the dozens of foods that could be triggering this painful disease?

While many Americans will attempt to pinpoint their own triggers through elimination-type diets, there are now easier ways to find out which foods trigger your own sensitivities.

Simple and affordable tests from Habit and Everlywell can quickly and easily give you insights regarding your unique chemistry and how your body reacts to dozens of foods. You might be amazed at what you find out.  Furthermore, it could change your quality of life.


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