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Is Couscous Good During an Ulcerative Colitis Flare?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of irritable bowel illness. It can result in painful irritation, sores, and ulcers all through the liner of the big gut or colon.

People residing with UC expertise episodes of each flares and remission of the situation.

Symptoms of a flare embody ache, bloody stools, diarrhea (with mucus), weight reduction, and fatigue. And throughout remission, these signs reside (1).

Diet suggestions differ relying on whether or not you’re in a flare or remission. And a distinguished distinction is within the kinds of grains and carbs you eat.

This article dives into whether or not you may eat couscous if in case you have ulcerative colitis, recommends carbs to eat and keep away from, and explores when you ought to use a low-FODMAP weight-reduction plan to handle your signs.

No grains are inherently off-limits for individuals with ulcerative colitis (UC), together with couscous.

While couscous could resemble rice, it’s a kind of pasta. It is a small, spherical processed grain created from semolina flour from durum wheat (2).

Couscous is excessive in gluten and subsequently not thought-about secure to eat for individuals with Celiac illness or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

However, it could be a very good carbohydrate alternative throughout a UC flare due to its low fiber content material.

One cup of cooked couscous offers (3):

  • Calories: 176
  • Carbohydrates: 36 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams

Fiber doesn’t get damaged down or absorbed within the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber, which is discovered primarily in entire grains like wheat, composes the majority of the stool and may have a laxative impact (4).

These are undesirable qualities when you’re already experiencing belly ache and diarrhea.

In addition, the colon could also be particularly infected throughout a flare-up, limiting the diameter of the tract. An enhance in stool quantity might probably result in a blockage within the massive gut (5).

Therefore, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation recommends avoiding insoluble fibers and selecting refined, processed grains as a substitute. And that may embody couscous (5).

Once the flare passes, chances are you’ll start slowly including some types of insoluble fiber again to the weight-reduction plan. And couscous can proceed to be consumed, if desired, throughout remission.


Couscous could also be low fiber grain option to eat throughout a UC flare. Once a flare passes, chances are you’ll start slowly including some types of fiber again to your weight-reduction plan.

While well being professionals usually advise consuming primarily entire grains, that doesn’t apply when you’re going by means of ulcerative colitis (UC) flare (6)

Choosing refined grains over entire grains can assist handle signs and soothe intestinal misery throughout a UC flare as a result of they include much less fiber.

There are three elements to a grain kernel: germ, bran, and endosperm.

Whole grain merchandise include intact kernels with all three elements. Most of a grain’s insoluble fiber is within the fibrous bran, and the germ is wealthy in nutritional vitamins and minerals.

Refined grains are processed and milled to take away the bran and germ, leaving solely the starchy or carb-rich endosperm. At that time, they’re fortified with some vitamins misplaced in the course of the milling course of, like B nutritional vitamins, magnesium, and iron.

In addition to couscous, different good carbohydrate sources throughout a UC flare embody: (5, 7)

  • White pasta
  • White bread (no seeds)
  • Crackers (made with white flour)
  • Sourdough
  • French bread
  • Cornmeal
  • Oatmeal

While oatmeal is taken into account a fiber-rich meals, it has primarily soluble fiber. Soluble fiber kinds a gel-like consistency within the intestine and slows the passage of meals by means of the digestive tract fairly than rushing it alongside (4).


Refined carbohydrate meals low in fiber like white rice, white pasta, and crackers are advisable over entire grains throughout a UC flare.

To keep away from aggravating your signs, it is best to keep away from carbs excessive in insoluble fiber throughout lively ulcerative colitis (UC)-related flares.

Even throughout some remission durations, your physician could suggest you retain concentrated sources of insoluble fiber, like entire grains, off your plate in favor of extra digestible fiber decisions.

More digestible decisions embody meals excessive in soluble fiber or fruit and veggies (probably cooked and with the pores and skin eliminated) (7).

Avoid these sources of carbohydrates throughout UC flares.

  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Millet
  • Bulgur
  • Quinoa
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat berries
  • Spelt flour


Whole grains and carbs excessive in insoluble fiber could exacerbate UC signs. A low fiber weight-reduction plan isn’t advisable for durations of remission, however some medical doctors could suggest a low-insoluble fiber weight-reduction plan for longer.

Carbs may be excessive or low in FODMAPs (fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols). Foods excessive in FODMAPs could enhance watery stools and the manufacturing of fuel (8).

FODMAPs could also be difficult to soak up for some individuals — notably these with compromised digestive tracts. So a low FODMAP weight-reduction plan cuts again on these probably poorly absorbed sugars.

A low FODMAP weight-reduction plan eliminates: (9)

  • Fructans: Garlic, barley, broccoli, cabbage, wheat merchandise
  • Lactose: Dairy merchandise
  • Fructose: Honey, peaches, apricots, high-fructose corn syrup
  • Oligosaccharides: Nuts, seeds, beans, asparagus, kale
  • Polyols: Sugar-alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol)

Since couscous is a wheat product, you can not eat it whereas on a low-FODMAP weight-reduction plan.

Some analysis signifies {that a} low FODMAP weight-reduction plan could also be helpful in managing signs throughout a flare in individuals with irritable bowel illness — together with ulcerative colitis (UC), though it could not lower irritation within the colon (7, 8, 10)

However, it’s not a long-term resolution. Low-FODMAP diets normally solely final 4–8 weeks earlier than slowly including the as soon as eliminated meals again into your weight-reduction plan separately to see the way you tolerate them.

If you wish to strive a low FODMAP weight-reduction plan, it is best to search recommendation and steerage from a dietitian or medical skilled to offer help and steerage.

UC remedy plans usually contain drugs and weight-reduction plan alterations, and your care group could wish to observe your signs if you make a change (7).


A low-FODMAP weight-reduction plan could also be an acceptable short-term method to assist handle ulcerative colitis signs throughout a flare with help from a dietitian or medical care group. Couscous doesn’t match right into a low-FODMAP weight-reduction plan.

There’s no one-size-fits-all method to managing ulcerative colitis (UC) signs. Foods that be just right for you could irritate another person’s infected digestive tract.

You can eat couscous if in case you have UC, however it is best to keep away from it when you can’t eat gluten or actively observe a low-FODMAP weight-reduction plan.

You ought to keep away from meals excessive in insoluble fiber throughout a UC flare, like entire grains. Couscous accommodates little or no fiber per serving, making it a sensible choice to eat throughout a flare, though you can too eat it in remission.

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