Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Low carb diet for IBS: A list of foods

The low-carb diet still works incredibly well for me. I am getting used to living without IBS symptoms. As I stated before, you must try it out!
In order to help you starting out, here are a few lists of foods that are low/high carb.

Count everything
First and foremost, it is important to understand that a low-carb diet is not like the low-FODMAPS or specific carbohydrate diet. In those two diets, you have lists of foods you may eat, and lists of forbidden foods. This is not the case with the low-carb diet: You may eat what you want, but you must count every carb of it. Of course, a whole plate of pasta will be too much, but if you really love them, a very small portion should be ok. Check everything you eat, look on the packaging, make a heavy usage on google.
For example, this site should be helpful: http://www.fatsecret.com/calories-nutrition/

As for the amount of carbs allowed per day, it's your decision. I chose 72g as a limit, because I read it in Dr Lutz's book life without bread. My advice would be to choose a number between 50g and 72g a day. The lower you get, the faster your cure should be. But moving below 50g a day is very hard, because you will have to avoid vegetables, which is not very healthy. Some people do more extreme versions of the low-carb diet, like the Atkins diet (less than 20g a day), of the no-carb diet (0g a day!). No carb should not be followed long-term. If you want to lose weight, the Atkins has a good reputation, so you may want to try it out.

One last thing before the lists, be sure to take some multivitamins/nutrients, I found out after a few months that a low-carb diet could trigger joint-pain because of some deficiencies.

Not recommended foods

Maybe the best way to start this is to give high-carb foods, which should be avoided. A carb is basically any form of sugar. Some of them are obvious to us (real sugar, fructose), some less (cereals).
  • The biggest provider of carbs are cereals. Get rid of everything with corn, wheat, rice, and any other cereal. This includes the derivatives, like flour and any sort of bread. Most probably the most difficult ingredient to avoid.
  • Flour based  foods should be strongly limited as well: pasta, gnocchi, bagels, doughnuts...
  • Potatoes are high carb too.
  • Of course, no sugar in your coffee or tea. Avoid juices and sodas as well, unless they are "light": light sodas generally don't contain any carb.
  •  Fruits contain huge amounts of fructose, which is a carb.
  • Lentils and dry beans are relatively high carb, so be careful with the amount you eat.
It may not seem much, but it's actually most of the food we eat in a standard diet.

Compatible foods

So, what can we eat?
  • Every meat, loads of them! Careful with breadcrumbs or bacon, they contain extra carbs.
  • Eggs. They were thought to increase cholesterol, but recent studies showed that two eggs a day do not.
  • Vegetables contain carbs, but not enough to be a problem. For example, 150g carrots contain 14g carbs, whereas 150g pasta contain 45g.
  • Cheese is also excellent. If you are lactose intolerant, only take the cheese containing 0g of carbs. In fact in milk products, the carbohydrate is lactose, so it is easy to avoid it.
  • Some fruits like cantaloupe, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and lemons. Be careful with the amount though.
For people who do not want to lose too much weight:
  • Avocados are your new best friends. Good fat, no carbs.
  • Use lots of oil or butter for your cooking
  • Nuts and seeds are very high in calories, but do not contain much carbs.

My typical day

In order to give you an idea of how a low-carb diet looks like, I will detail what I eat on a daily basis. 

Breakfast is probably the most difficult part to adapt, we want to avoid bread, croissants and cereals. So I switched to an English-like breakfast: Two eggs, a sausage, and a slice of soft cheese. That makes an almost carb free breakfast.
For lunch I generally have a salad with a tomato or cucumbers, and I add lots of ham, salami, and cheese. I also eat some nuts for dessert. This gives 15g of carbs.
Around 16h I allow myself a small portion of 50g of rice or potatoes with meat and vegetables. That makes 20g of carbs.
For dinner I'll have any meat with any vegetable, I have to count individually to avoid exceeding 20g of carbs. Tomatoes, carrots, green beans, peas, salad... I may also had dry beans or lentils in small quantities. After that I'll add 30g of cashew nuts to have some extra calories. I will also have half an avocado. So that makes 20g of veggies carbs and 3g of nuts carbs.

Summed up, this gives 15+20+23 = 58g. Let's make it 60 for all the small amounts of carbs in meat. 

As an extra, I allow myself 20g of chocolate, for 10g of carbs. That's my weakness, of course I could get rid of it, but I think one must have some treats in order to follow such a diet long term. Choose your own!

I hope this article clarifies things a bit on how to follow a low-carb diet. It may seem too restrictive, but it is not very hard once you get used to it.

8 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your great blog. I'm just wondering. Do you still take L-Glutamine?

Guillaume said...

thanks for the kind words! I just hope it helps. I stopped taking l-glutamine when I changed my diet ( first FODMAPs, later low-carb). I felt so much better that I didn't need glutamine anymore, in fact I was getting constipated because of it. But I think, for someone with very severe symptoms, it should be possible, and very efficient, to do a diet and take l-glutamine at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I have a loved one that also suffers from IBS, It disrupts her life in many, many ways.
I recently became a doterra consultant. They have a 100% all natural, certified pure theraputic grade oil that is amazing for those of you that suffer from IBS. It is called digest zen. I have posted some information on my site if you are interested in learning about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm heard red meat is bad for sufferers of IBS? So I've been sticking to white meat turkey, certain types of fish & chicken. Have I been misinformed?

Also, last night I had an awful attack. For dinner, I had toasted white bread with turkey, lettuce, pickels and may. Wow, I was up all night suffering with terrible pain....What did i do wrong here?

Guillaume said...

Regarding red meat, it is not a common trigger food, but everyone is different. On the other end, gluten is a very typical one, so I guess the toasted white bread could be the culprit for your attack... But anyway, to reduce attacks to a minimum I'd recommend no gluten, no lactose, and low-carb foods, except for white rice, which should be quite safe.

Anonymous said...

I have been encouraged by your article and agree. I have been suffering from IBS since high school, main symptoms being excrutiating pain,constipation and being bloated like a toad. I have started the low carb diet in Feb this year and it took me a while to see some success (3 months )but am still not over it. Its a matter of not giving up. I am at the moment filtering through looking at how I prepare my meats and not to eat cured sausages, smoked meats and staying away from hot and spicy. Nuts and seeds for some people can be a problem and its worth trying to eliminate for a while.

Ten10 said...

Veggies and Fruits are my trigger foods.Even lettuce I am doing Atkins and still I am bloated. My weight has not changed I work out every morning no results yet.

copy check said...

Great article author. Thanks for writing on IBS. Its hard to find all the low carb foods in a single page. I just found a page where everyone can go through the list of all low carb foods.
Here it is : Low carb foods

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