A recent WSJ story called “When Everyday Foods Are Hard to Digest” describes the Specific Low Carb Diet, also known as the low-FODMAPS diet (described below), for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In IBS – Free at Last, dietitian Patsy Catsos describes the diet and its treatment.
It’s very clear that for some conditions, food works as well as prescription medicine, and in some cases, better. For many people with IBS (and for everyone with Celiac disease…do you have it?) it’s the difference between feeling well and feeling sick.
- Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans)
- Disaccharides (eg. Lactose), Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose) and
- Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)
Some people who make the change find that their IBS diarrhea stops within 7-days…for the first time in years.
Eliminating most complex carbohydrates from grains, starches, and table sugar can reduce symptoms dramatically: only monosaccarides (simple sugars) are easily digested. In Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Raman Prasad makes it delicious.
If you’re not sure whether food makes a difference to your condition, try an elimination diet. This is best done with a physician who can look for drug-food intersactions, and make sure it’s safe to do, and perhaps determine whether you have vitamin, protein or other deficiencies.
But the basics are simple: first, rate your symptoms on a scale of 1-10. Write them down, with their scores, and put the paper in a drawer. Then, eat nothing but innocuous foods for a month. Rate the same symptoms after a month.
Then, try add a few foods back, one at a time weekly, while listening carefully to your body and re-taking your symptom quiz.
Many people with IBS have trouble absorbing certain carbohydrates in their small intestines. Large molecules of those foods travel to the colon, where they are attacked by bacteria and ferment, creating gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.