There are quite a few special diets which some people find helpful with IBS. Some may purport that “such and such diet” is the cure. I am not entirely sure that everyone’s IBS can be controlled on diet alone. Radically adjusting your diet could be harmful to your health both mentally & physically. You may become very frustrated with finding foods that meet the requirements of your new diet or become depressed in the loss of your ability to eat foods you once loved. It would also be terrible if this new diet didn’t actually improve your IBS symptoms. This isn’t to say that these diets don’t help people or that you won’t find success with them, but it’s best to take it slowly and perhaps speak with your doctor or a trained nutritionist before making a radical change.
Wheat/Gluten Free Diet
Celiac Disease is where a person has an intolerance to wheat gluten(a protein built into wheat/barely & rye). Celiac Disease can cause all sorts of digestive problems. You can get tested for it via a blood test or during a colonoscopy via biopsy. The blood test alone may not be a definitive result, even if it comes back negative. So if you’re planning on getting a colonoscopy ask your gastric doctor if they can check for Celiac.
Some people may not have Celiac disease specifically, but just have an allergy to wheat. You can become allergic to all sorts of foods & it can happen practically at anytime.
A wheat/gluten free diet is where one abstains from eating ANY wheat or gluten based product. This is an all or nothing proposition and is a MAJOR lifestyle change as so much stuff out there contains wheat or gluten in it. If you are going to try this diet out, you really need to be committed and make sure that the others in your household are committed to your success as well.
Yeast are a living organisms that break down sugars and releases gases(carbon dioxide) into their surroundings. Humans have been using yeast for quite some time to make bread rise. Some feel that since yeast is a living thing that can grow and multiply, some people(or all people) may have an over abundance of yeast in their system. This could possibly lead to all sorts of health problems, which sound eerily similar to IBS.
Usually these diets involve avoiding yeast products entirely, as well as taking probiotics & vitamins to combat the yeast overgrowth. Again this will take some commitment as yeast is all around us.
Low Residue/Fiber Diet
Low residue diets are meant to reduce the amount of indigestible food a person consumes. It is probably not something someone should be on for great periods of time as it can lead to malnutrition.
Information: Wikipedia – Low residue diet
Unfortunately I could not find a whole lot of books on this diet. Eating for IBS: 175 Delicious, Nutritious, Low-Fat, Low-Residue Recipes to Stabilize the Touchiest Tummy has “low-residue” listed in the title, but having read this book myself, I feel this is inaccurate. Maybe it’s more of a “reduced residue” diet, but I wouldn’t call it low residue. Replacing insoluble fiber with soluble fiber doesn’t equal low residue.
Soluble Fiber Diet
Soluble fiber diets promote eating a large quantity of soluble fiber foods(e.g. wheat, rice, potatoes) with any insoluble fiber foods you eat as well(vegetables, meats). You also need to avoid trigger foods as well. The theory is that insoluble fiber is a trigger to the gut and eating it alone w/o any soluble fiber”padding”, will cause digestive upset. I have noticed this from time to time myself as leafy salads were never really my friend(it didn’t help I’d douse them with dressing).
You may notice that this diet is the opposite of what someone on a celiac/wheat free diet should be eating. So it’s important to take that into consideration.
- Eating for IBS: 175 Delicious, Nutritious, Low-Fat, Low-Residue Recipes to Stabilize the Touchiest Tummy
- The First Year: IBS
Low or No Carbohydrate Atkins Diet
Low or no carbohydrate diets are meant to reduce or eliminate the carbohydrate intake of a person. Carbohydrates include mainly starches & sugary foods, which includes things like wheat or even fruits & vegetables. Instead it’s suggested the person increase their intake of protein & fatty acids. This diet is essentially the opposite of the “Soluble Fiber Diet”.
The diet is well known for being somewhat of a fad in the mid 2000s, with everyone jumping on the low-carb bandwagon. A lot of those companies are now bankrupt. Dr. Atkins himself was not necessarily a pillar of health himself, as he did have a heart attack in 2002, though this was attributed to ‘coronary artery disease’. The American Heart Association suggested it was due to his diet, the Atkins camp said it was unrelated to the Atkins diet.
There are some concerns regarding low/no carb diets as far as getting proper nutrition is concerned. However, some people have found success with IBS by reducing their carb intake. As with all things, it may be worth a shot.
Specific Carbohydrate Diet
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet(SCD) is similar to the Atkins Diet & wheat/gluten free diet, though the goal is somewhat similar to a Yeast free diet, in that the goal is to reduce excess sugars which feed bacterial overgrowth. At least that’s the theory. There has not been a lot of research done on the SCD, but some have reported success with Celiac, IBS, IBD, Autism & other ailments.
- Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet
Hopefully you’ll find this information useful in your digestive journey. If you have comments about these books, please leave them below.