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Most successful diets for IBS forbid all grains, and this is because it is well known that all grains contain antinutrients called lectins that not only interfere with digestion by inhibiting digestive enzymes but can also cause gut inflammation and Leaky Gut.

All of the following diets make basic assumptions about what is wrong with us. The problem is, we usually don't know ourselves what the problem is. It might be just bacterial imbalance; it could be SIBO but with lowered stomach acid production as well. It could be a problem digesting starches, due to a lack of amylase enzyme. It could be post-infectious IBS where there was no pre-existing IBS until a sudden bacterial infection.

Regardless of the underlying reasons for your IBS, the safest foods are generally the simplest. Meat, fish, low FODMAP and low starch vegetables (very well-cooked if need be) and low fructose fruits. This is a very hard diet to stick to but I have found it completely reduces IBS symptoms if completely followed.

THE DIETS:

Paleo autoimmune diet allows high FODMAPs like cabbage but out of all the diets is probably the best one to follow. Just restrict the high FODMAP vegetables, at least in the beginning. High FODMAP vegetables are very healthy, in someone who doesn't have SIBO. The idea is to gradually reintroduce high FODMAP vegetables once your gut inflammation has healed. The Paleo Autoimmune Diet is the only diet that specifically forbids lectins.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet. This diet was formulated before the FODMAP theory was devised, and so knows nothing about fermentable vegetables such as cabbage, brussel sprouts etc. This diet also allows certain lectin-containing foods like lentils after a certain time.

The specific carbohydrate diet lists an introductory diet for very sensitive stomachs which is chicken soup with carrot, cooked for 4 hours. Very long cooking is a good way to gradually introduce more fibre into your diet.

Low FODMAP diet seems to assume that we only maldigest fermentable short chain carbohydrates but that we do digest starch OK (not resistant starch, which is a fibre). This diet allows for all non-gluten high starch food like white potatoes and "breads" made from potato and tapioca flour. If you have SIBO this will make your condition much worse, as bacteria feed mainly on starches and sugar. Potato also contains lectins and this vegetable is considered a poison by some.

GAPS diet is an offshoot of the Specific Carbohydrate diet but allows lectin-containing foods like nuts & legumes as well as high FODMAP vegetables.

Paleo diet has several differing viewpoints. The Paleo viewpoint generally forbids grains, but some allow corn. Some paleo diets allow lectins such as dairy & nuts, others forbid them. Paleo in general allows high FODMAP vegetables.

Low fibre - low residue diet. The basis of this diet is that your diet is "low residue" and therefore less likely to feed bacteria. The problem with this diet is that high starch, inflammatory foods like white bread is recommended. White rice might be a safer choice, as it lacks the high levels of lectins that brown rice has, however as white rice is still a grain, it might be safer to eliminate all grains at the outset and reintroduce white rice once your symptoms subside. Again, this diet assumes that you don't have SIBO. If you do, the overgrowth of bacteria in your small intestine will feed on all starches such as white bread and white rice.

The general rule regarding any diet for IBS is never eat anything inflammatory. The more chronically inflamed your gut is, the less likely you can digest high fibre without making your symptoms worse. The remedy is to try to tackle your IBS symptoms as soon as they occur by reducing all grains, legumes and nuts. If you have always been able to tolerate vegetables, gradually increase your vegetables so that you can eat them without generating a lot of gas or cramping. If you have a severely compromised gut, you might need to gradually reduce the amount of bread you eat, for instance, with a corresponding amount of very well-cooked fibre.

Low insoluble fibre diet. The theory is that soluble fibre is more gentle on the colon however I have found that my symptoms were reduced by increasing insoluble fibre, particularly salads. If you have SIBO or a bacterial imbalance, it's important to know that the only carbohydrate bacteria don't eat much of is insoluble fibre. I generally have a fair amount of insoluble fibre for lunch is the form of salads, eaten with a fatty meat. I usually have cooked insoluble fibre vegetables like green beans, mashed sweet potato and pumpkin. Most vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.

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Everyone here will have their own level of tolerance to vegetables. If you tackle your IBS before you allow your gut to become chronically inflamed, then you should be able to gradually increase your levels of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre is also recommended for Crohn's Disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

The best diet I've found is the simplest. Just meat, fish, vegetables (that you can tolerate), and limited amounts of fruit. If you need extra dietary guidance or a more scientific explanation, the Paleo Autoimmune diet is a good place to start.

Meds might hinder your chances of success. It is important when experimenting with diet, especially a tough diet like this one, that you are able to identify good and bad foods without the cross-messaging from meds. I believe you can't go far wrong with a simple diet like this but you need to keep working, introducing suspect foods, banning known problem foods etc. It can take many years to perfect this process. You don't want anything else getting in the way.
 

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Hi tummyrumbles

You have found the exact diet to follow and it has helped me a lot. Thanks a lot for that

But I have a small doubt that our problem of leaky gas is only linked to the food we are eating.

Let me explain why I'm saying this. Let's say I wake up in the morning and i don't eat anything, I have an almost good bowel movement

and then go to work. I will be smell free for couple of hours. Later I will skip lunch and not eat anything or drink all day. Around 3pm even if i didn't eat i will start smelling bad and having leaky gas.

What I'm thinking is that the problem is when the colon start moving things around that's when the smell starts. That's why when we drink coffee or drink alcohol the smell is so bad.

I believe that that digestion triggers movement in the intestine and colon which leads to the smell, because of the movement causes muscle contractions. If the food we eat are well digested and causes less gas, then the movement is more smooth and the fecal smell is lower.

But hey its just a theory...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hello InvestigatorLG

I believe the food we eat and how we eat it is crucial for reducing IBS symptoms. I don't know if diet is enough to completely eradicate SIBO. There is always stool in the colon. The more you evacuate in the morning, the less stool there is in the lower colon, but there is still food higher up in the colon. During the day, peristalsis moves food through in waves, regardless of whether you eat that day or not. You will still have food in your colon from yesterday and maybe a few days before. The problem with us is that if we malabsorb carbohydrates there is usually gas with the stool. In my case the more gas I have the more broken the stool. So for those of us who malabsorb carbs complete evacuation is the most important thing to aim for. If I stick to the low starch, low lectin, low FODMAP diet I don't get any gas until late afternoon, and I guess this is just due to the normal peristaltic action moving things down.

Normal people get constipation but don't have IBS symptoms. This is because they absorb their carbohydrates and don't produce the gas in the first place.

I find eating when I'm not hungry and overeating causes gas as well. Normal people overeat & get reflux but don't seem to get the gas, or if they do it's not as bad. I just assume I've got SIBO as I know a SIBO diet reduces the gas.

Bacteria feed on starches, sugar & soluble fibre (to a lesser extent). If any of these foods escape complete digestion for any reason they will feed bacteria.

The problem with all the different diets is they all make different assumptions. The best thing to do is be aware of all the problem foods: lectins, starches, FODMAPS and I think it saves a lot of time and effort to just eat meat, fish, cook in saturated fats like olive oil or coconut oil and eat plenty of insoluble fibre like raw salads, green beans, carrots if you can handle them. If you can't you might need to gradually introduce them. Bacteria don't tend to eat these foods.
 

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Hello Tummyrumbles!

So I have read quite a few of your posts, and I just want to tell you I really appreciate the time and effort you've spent on them. I feel I have much to learn from your approach. Starch does seem to be very troublesome for me, and to my great surprise green beans seem to be just fine. I am going to keep testing stuff. Being chronically constipated I suspect I am sensitive to the opioid peptides, so milk, wheat, chocolate are out of my diet. Having trouble quitting the coffee, though. Want my daily mid morning cup of black heaven =P

One thing that doesn't fit in with all of this, though, is that I've been supplementing with PHGG (guar gum), a SOLUBLE fiber that ferments very slowly, hence causing little or no gas. I have been taking it for a while now, and it helps immensely with constipation. The effect is the same since I started a few months ago, and it is a life savior for me. It is the only thing that keeps me away from the weekly water enema. But maybe, with your approach, I can normalize my bowel function and stop this supplement (which is way too expensive anyway).

FYI, i suffer from SIBO with methane producing bugs, so that is totally constipating me as well. BUT my BIGGEST ISSUE is without a doubt the flatulence, which is insane. So I will keep on trying out your way of doing things, and hopefully I will have as much success as you have had.

Anyways, thank you again for all your writings, they have given me new fresh ideas on how to handle this whole pain in the ass IBS/SIBO shit.
 

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Hello Sofia and thank you for your comments, they are much appreciated. I'm basically against all meds and supplements because it makes it too hard to work out which diet is best for you. Guar Gum can cause a lot of flatulence for people according to this site.

http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-guar-gum-locust-bean-gum-and-more/

If you want a source of good information try Paleo Mum as she explains the science side of things really well.

http://www.thepaleomom.com/

I think she's terrrific and I also like her stance on insoluble fibre, which I agree with. Things changed in a big way for me when I changed to salads for lunch and mostly insoluble vegetables for dinner, with either meat or fish. Canned salmon is easy to eat at work and is high in omega 3, which helps heal the gut. A lot of people here have problems with insoluble fibre and it could be that they already have an inflamed colon. Those of us whose main symptom is too much gas probably have a less severe form of IBS, especially if we can tolerate vegetables. But basically we all need to gradually add these to your diet if we're not used to them.

I believe we're more sensitive to lectins in wheat and all grains (including corn), legumes and nuts, as well as nightshades like white potato and tomato. I don't think it's wise to try to reintroduce these foods later because we're not genetically predisposed to digesting them. Dairy also has lectins but not as bad. You need a fair amount of saturated fat on this diet to fill you up so I eat fatty meats and add butter to veges like green beans and eat full-fat fructose-free yoghurt at the moment. I tried coconut yoghurt but it's very expensive and I just didn't like it. I'm also gradually adding certain high FODMAP vegetables like mushrooms as these foods aren't harmful to your gut. It's just that while you have SIBO they increase gas production. You'll find a Paleo autoimmune diet will drastically cut out the gas.

The other aspect to all this is that some of us are also prone to constipation. The only food that directly helps constipation is insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre is also the only carb that bacteria don't eat much of so it makes sense to try to gradually increase insoluble fibre while cutting out all grains and other foods that cause intestinal permeability.

White rice, even though it's believed to be low in lectins is constipating for me. I just do best on keeping to animal protein and vegetables mainly, and trying to keep to a minimum anything else. I also make sure I've completely evacuated in the morning.

Don't give up your coffee, just have it black. I have my tea black and I need this to help me go in the morning. Let me know how you go.
 

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Tummyrumbles, it is amazing how two completely people from different countries can come to very similar conclusions. I think you are spot on for your recommendations and I am also following a similar diet in almost every respect. I do think we need to provide our body with the nutrients it needs to heal so it is important to have enough veggies to meet micro nutrient needs.

I have been reading up recently on the water solubility of most FODMAPs so it may be possible to tolerate higher FODMAP foods if they are soaked or boiled first. I know Monash has found that canned beans are significantly lower in FODMAPS.

The big question is probiotics. It is a controversial subject but both Allison Siebecker from Siboinfo.com and Natasha from GAPS have stated that if started gradually that they have seen a lot of success. Siebecker specifically deals with SIBO yet has said they have been exclusively beneficial for her patients. If the probiotics add the bacteria you need to digest food better then they may be essential to healing.

Another similarity we both have run into is over-consumption of protein. From my reading the recommendation of .08 per kg is too low, 1.2 to 1.4 per kg seems to be the best recommendation but this is still only a 4-6oz portion of meat/fish per meal (if eating 3 times per day). Finding a good fat to add to your meals so you are getting enough calories is therefore essential.

The other thing to be aware of is histamine in meat and histamine liberators + salicylate + oxalates in vegetables. Most of these are dose dependent so if you have a large of variety of vegetables and smaller portions its unlikely to be an issue (unless you are eating spinach/rhubarb for oxalates). An interesting article was posted on Weston Price discussing the various toxins in plants to be aware of: http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/plants-bite-back/.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hello Denis, I replied in the other post that I emailed the Monash university asking how boiling affects FODMAPs but didn't get a reply from them. I know a few IBS-D people here boil their vegetables for a long time but I think this is because their guts are more inflamed than those of us with constipation issues and their problem could be more to do with fibre tolerance. I have a fairly good tolerance for fibre as long as it's low FODMAP and I would never eat vegetables like broccoli raw. I eat salad every day for lunch at work, usually with tinned salmon or some salami and if I completely evacuate that morning there's very little gas.

Yes, I know about toxins in plant foods and I've posted a few times on this. I don't eat grains, legumes or nuts at all because these are all "seed" foods and contain antinutrients that block digestive enzymes and can cause Leaky Gut. Most of my information is from reading blogs by people such as The Paleo Mum, who is a scientist with IBS / constipation. She is my favourite on the web.

http://www.thepaleomom.com/autoimmunity/the-autoimmune-protocol

I like this lady too:

http://www.holistichelp.net/blog/candida-sibo-or-h-pylori/

Just mentioning this as I'm not an expert, just an IBS sufferer still coming to grips with my diet. Probiotics are very contentious, and I think for an introductory diet when you just want to reduce all the gas it does no harm to just exclude them for a few days. What we want more than anything else is to find a diet that doesn't cause gas and IBS symptoms. Even if you just have a lot of healthy bacteria growing in the wrong place (SIBO) then probiotics will increase the bacterial population and make symptoms worse. Most of us don't know what our underlying condition is, so I just assume I've got SIBO, Leaky Gut, Candida etc and try to reduce all foods that ALL bacteria feed on, with the exception of vegetables that don't seem to produce a lot of gas as I'm guessing these are absorbed reasonably well. This introductory diet is meant to be temporary but the biggest problem is sticking to it. Probiotic yoghurts are generally dairy or coconut based and have some sort of sugar, even if not lactose. If you have Candida you shouldn't have any sugars at all. Dairy is banned on the autoimmune diet as it is believed to cause Leaky Gut, although I couldn't find any studies to confirm this. You might have heard of Jeff Leach, founder of the American Gut Project. He doesn't eat probiotics at all and favours prebiotics and believes in feeding bacteria through loads of vegetables, especially high FODMAPs. He's the person who thinks we all need more resistant starch but he doesn't have IBS and there are a lot of rebuttals on the web from people who do have IBS. This is one reason why I find the most helpful people on the web are actually people with IBS with some credentials behind them.

If probiotics cause more gas then I'd say don't ingest them. High FODMAPs are healthy too, for normal people but if they could gas, don't eat them. Get your diet right first, so you get to a stage of hardly any IBS symptoms at all, and then gradually introduce high FODMAPs and probiotics, but wait until then.

Histamine can be a problem if you have Leaky Gut, and we probably all have this to some extent. I'm trying to reduce the amount of meat protein I eat and to add more vegetables to my diet. Vegetables, especially salad vegetables, tend to be very low in calories which makes things hard because no diet will work if we're hungry. Histamine is in seafood but seafood is high in Omega-3 which helps heal the gut. None of this is easy.
 
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