Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The IBS diets (4): the low carbohydrate diet

edit 15.02.2012: Be sure to read about the results I got with the low carb diet! click here.

I thought I was done with the diet series, but the truth is, I can't spend a single week without stumbling upon a very interesting one. The one I got you today is a pure gem: written by recognized doctors, and not that hard to follow. Something else? Oh yes, they show proof that they can cure Crohn's disease thanks to it.If it works for Crohn's,. I say it's worth a try for IBS.

The book


Life without bread: How a low carbohydrate diet can save your life is written by Christian Allan and Wolfgang Lutz. Mr Lutz is a practitioner in Austria, where he has been applying low carbohydrate diets to patients for over 40 years, analysing the results. Their findings in the book are incredible: they were able to cure 80% of their Crohn's sufferers patients, and 70% of them with Ulcerative Colitis! Keep in mind that these two conditions are considered chronic by modern medicine, involve worse symptoms than IBS, and can lead to heavy surgery, even in some deaths. So this must be considered as an enormous breakthrough.

The Diet


The diet in itself is very well-known for people who want to lose weight. But I actually could not find a lot of IBS sufferers trying it out.
The principle of the diet is quite simple, and reminds me of the Specific carbohydrate diet (I'll go back on that later): As a species, we were not designed to eat a lot of carbohydrates. Most of the carbs we eat nowadays come from cereals, be it bread, pasta, or rice. Thanks to agriculture, we are able to grow them and process them into wheat. The truth is, the body can generate its on needs of carbs by using proteins. We could live without eating a single carb!
So the only restriction in the diet is quite easy: no more than between 60 and 72 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Now, how can we attain such a number? I think, for IBS sufferers, there are two easy ways:
  • Start a low Fodmaps diet, and limit your intake in rice, potatoes, corn. This way you get the benefits of the FODMAPs diet, and at the same time you might start curing yourself from IBS
  • Start the specific carbohydrate diet, with minor adjustments, be careful with everything that contains fructose, and limit the intake of high carbs like lentils.

Why it can work for us IBS sufferers


Now, why would we want to try such a diet? In the last few years, a theory for the origin of IBS and other bowel disorders has been that bad bacteria proliferate in your intestines, creating mucus and damaging the intestinal wall. These bacteria feed on carbohydrates, because they are poorly digested. 
If you're a regular reader of this blog, this might sound familiar: This is the exact theory that Ellaine Gottshall explained in her book Breaking the vicious circle, and led her to test the specific carbohydrate diet!
There are a few fundamental differences between SCD and low-carbohydrates diet though:
  •  Gottshall emphasizes the fact that the SCD should be followed religiously.
  • The low-carb diet just tells you to limit your intake, so it is easier to follow.
  •  The SCD allows some high carbs, and you can eat as many of them as you want. The reason is that these carbs are simple sugars and therefore generally correctly digested before reaching the intestines.
But the approaches are quite similar. In fact, I was always bothered by this "severity" behind the SCD. It may make sense for Crohn's sufferers, but if the theory of bad bacteria holds, just limiting the amount of carbs that are hard to digest should make a lot of them starve to death. It should be slower than strictly following the SCD though. 
 

My experience with the low-carb diet


Right now, after having experienced tremendous relief with the low-FODMAPs diet, I am a big fan of curing through nutrition. As I had stated, the Fodmaps diet eliminates almost every symptom of IBS, but these tend to reappear as soon as I make a side step from the diet, or when I am under a very stressful situation. Moreover, the FODMAPs diet does not cure you, so it does not address the very origin of IBS. And I must say that I still hope to be able to eat a normal diner in a few years time.
So on saturday, I started following the specific carbohydrate diet, limiting my carbs intake as well, and avoiding everything heavy in fructose, as it is a known IBS trigger.
Results until then have been quite interesting: I have the feeling the body empties itself, and have stomach pains. It seems to be normal, because bacteria release toxins when they die. If you experience this too, try drinking some green tea, it is known to help the body flush toxins.
Is it going to work better than the FODMAPs diet? I guess we will have to wait a few weeks before answering this question.

5 commentaires:

James H said...

I have also tried this diet, it works!

Here is my doctor's website, she has helped me more than I could have imagined with her diet tips and ideas: www.ocgastrodoc.com

Guillaume said...

Hello James, Yes it does work, I'm really feeling better every day, I highly recommend everyone to try it!

sai krupa said...

It is an effectual info on the preferable diet for the Irritable Bowel Syndrome which may control, Thanks for the shared info along with your experiences.

Anonymous said...

I have been doing SCD for 3 years. I just had a SIBO test and it looks positive.
I am thinking of doing exactly what you are talking about. I too have read Life without Bread and BTVC.
So how are you doing?
Are you in ketosis?
Any tips or learning?
Thanks
David

Guillaume said...

Hello David,
I am still limiting carbs to 72g a day. I got much, much better in the first few months, and then I stalled. So my opinion is that low-carb won't provide a real cure for me, but still, it gives so much more freedom it's worth following it. I really need very stressful situations nowadays to have symptoms.

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