After 10 months of low-carb, I can say the following: It works very well, it cures you a little (I could not eat beans or lentils before starting it), but I had the impression it was not enough. I'm still convinced that, by returning to a more severe low-carb diet, I would eventually get cured. But I want something faster, so I decided to switch once again.
The SCD intro Diet
An evident choice for me was the specific carbohydrate diet. It's very well known among IBS sufferers, well established, and I hadn't tried it until now.
This diet relies heavily on fructose, and since I cannot digest it, I must stay away from it until I feel better.
The first step consists in a so called introduction diet, that is incredibly restrictive. You may eat:
- meat and eggs
- carrots (or zucchini if you can't support them)
- Farmer's cheese (careful, some people are intolerant to dairy)
- Grape juice, cut with water (not for fructose intolerant people)
Carrots must be cooked. As it is so restrictive, it must not be followed more than 5 days. After that, one can switch into the normal SCD.
The aim of this intro diet is to provoke a massive die-off of bacteria in the gut, and let the digestive system rest, by eating easy to absorb, very low-carb foods. On this aspect, I must say I am pretty impressed, I had the usual die-off symptoms (headache, general feeling of being ill, light fever), which surprised me, since I had been under a low-carb diet for so long.
Right now I have just transitioned into the SCD, but without any fructose containing food. It is pretty hard to follow, and is very low-carb (I must eat something like 30g of them a day).
As for the results, I'm very satisfied: all the symptoms that had come back were gone within two days. It's even better than before, since I don't have one bout of foul smelling gas. I used to think these were normal, but I guess I was wrong. Moreover, I found out I can better digest bananas.
I'm just at the beginning, so we'll see how it goes.
Now, I still think the low-carb diet is enough for most of IBS sufferers. Try it out, and if all your symptoms disappear after 3-4 months, that's all you need. Take the gas into account, it may not be the most problematic symptom, but it is nonetheless one.
For very problematic cases, like me (I've had IBS since I was a kid), you may want to give this intro diet a chance, for a few days, and then transition to SCD. Although it's quite hard to follow, I have the impression it is really efficient.
An important point about the SCD is that it needs to be tweaked. You may be fructose, dairy, egg, nuts... intolerant. The only way is to start with sure foods (meat, vegetables), and add ONE problematic food for a few days. See if some symptoms come back. This is actually quite hard to do, I found out that I wanted to introduce lots of foods as fast as possible, but I need to resist.
Let's see how it goes in the next few months!