7

votes

Help! Food intolerances, IBS, SIBO - Do I go zero carb?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 25, 2011 at 10:29 PM

First post here and I'm posting in a bit of a desperate state, looking for help.

Background: Male, 42 years - History of digestive problems that were more or less in a manageable state eating roughly a WAPF style diet. Went relatively high fat Lacto-Paleo about 4 months ago and was astonished at my health improvements - digestive issues, bowel movements, skin issues and general mood. I had never ever felt so good. Around this time I was also going through a lot of personal stress (now over) and I believe Paleo is what helped me to cope as well as I did with it all.

After a couple of months of brilliant health some niggles started to develop. Some itchy hive-like skin issues appeared - I initially thought that it was the eggs so cut them out. It kept recurring though so I suspected the homemade yoghurt I was drinking. I decided to go dairy free for a month once I got a good supply of coconut oil.

In the meantime I started getting bad bloating, pain and wind. Historically I had issues with this but it was originally restricted to legumes, jerusalem artichokes, burdock and similar. But now it was hitting me at my paleo core - first onions, then caulifflower. So OK, I look into FODMAPs and think that's the solution. But then brocolli and now - it seems - just about any vegetable matter causes me distress. I've now been dairy free for 2 weeks which solved my hives problem but obviously isn't contributing to my intestinal distress.

In desperation for carbs I tried small servings of white rice for about a week. I thought I had caught a cold until I realised that it was the rice giving me the sore throat and dead feeling. That made a lot of sense thinking back over recent years and explains why my constant sore throat went away as soon as I went paleo.

So, having googled around a bit and read the excellent Primal Parent blog post about basically going carnivore I resigned myself to giving that a go, at least for a period of time (although being prepared for it to be long term if necessary). I think I can cope with that psychologically and I enjoy organ meats.

So yesterday, what I assume was the low carb flu hit and I felt really bad with zero energy. I ended up panicking and ate a banana and tried my last carb hope in white potatoes. I immediately felt better. Alas, that feeling was temporary and the intestinal pain and wind kept me awake all night.

Now, the reason why I panicked on the low carb flu was not the flu itself - I'm strong willed and can get through that. It is the concern about my weight.

I'm 172cm (5' 8") and have always been thin, around the 62kg (136.6 pounds) mark. Going paleo I dropped weight and came down to around 57.5 (126.7) but felt great. Now I'm down to 56.5 (124.5) and am extremely thin but still feel great except for my intestinal distress. I am not concerned about appearance at all. What I am concerned about is how low my weight will end up going if I go zero carb and what impact that will have on a relatively active (lots of slow moving) life. I don't want to lose my ability to do stuff around the place as we have an acreage that I maintain.

Now at the moment I don't see I have much option but to go extremely low to zero carb. The only other immediate path I can see would be to explore if I can tolerate some grain based carbs like fermented oats or something. But given my current state I wouldn't hold much hope.

It's a bit baffling as to how I ended up here after feeling so good, quite possibly it was the prolonged personal stress I experienced. But I don't want to dwell on the causes.

I want to move forward and am keen to hear your opinions about my concern for my low weight and how that will impact on my life. Will I just be able to be active as per normal, I don't mind looking like a skeleton as long as I'm relatively healthy and have quality of life.

Thank you.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on December 22, 2011
at 06:04 PM

Melissa, thanks for the reminder about CLO and butyric acid. I find that eating wild salmon or herring/mackerel/sardines, and taking CLO helps me. I do all right with Lactaid milk, in small amounts. Low FODMAPS, low fiber, and low starch help keep things calm. Also, reducing the caffeine intake to very low helped.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 28, 2011
at 09:59 AM

Don, I haven't been tested. I've been supplementing vitamin D for the last couple of weeks just in case. But I get plenty of time outside each day so I doubt it's an issue.

427c8cbb9c2492d74b887fc5cf7a8ce0

(432)

on August 28, 2011
at 07:32 AM

I was going to suggest that as well!

11838116de44ae449df0563f09bd3d73

(655)

on August 27, 2011
at 01:13 PM

what's your vit D level?

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 26, 2011
at 06:23 PM

So going all meat and then using dextrose or scallops to kill cravings sounds like the last resort.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 26, 2011
at 06:15 PM

So I guess if starch fails the last option is dextrose? Is that where this is going? I find it bizarre that rice allergies are so prevalent. I really don't understand what's going on here.

04e3b66d5b3ca0aad698f0ea7f88f820

on August 26, 2011
at 12:36 PM

For a long time I realized that eating rice with low fat meats, mostly raw and mostly seafood worked really well for me. (I did drop as low as 100lbs back then.) Eventually I developed a serious allergy to rice. I tried other starches that I'm not allergic to with my same low fat approach. No go. Starches and fruit sugars cause serious digestive problems in me. It is interesting that I thought I had to go low fat. The real problem was the starch. As long as I kept my fat low I could handle the starch but I could not digest the two together. Now I eat an all meat diet with a little sugar.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 05:34 AM

That's what I was drinking. We've got our own goats.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 26, 2011
at 05:14 AM

Why not try raw milk yogurt or raw milk kefir...?

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:31 AM

Thanks Peggy. It's very reassuring to hear that there's that point that you never drop below and that you're super active. Hopefully I'm not too far off my bottom now. It'll be interesting to see how I go with the cravings, I don't know how I'd go with the sugar but maybe I'll find something I can cope with. Your 100% quiet digestion and regularity sounds like a dream to me. Cheers.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:27 AM

Thanks for your reply. I haven't been tested but given the very limited diet I am eating now - it's not hard to see that any vegetable matter causes me distress. Today, for example - nothing but animal products (no dairy) plus steamed carrots. I agree that everything starts with the gut and I've always had issues of some sort or another. But it seems time for my gut to take a break from plants

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Thanks Melissa. I haven't tried simple sugars for a long time but don't have fond memories. I'll see how I go and may try the tonics you suggest, but I'm not overly hopeful. I think at the end of the day there's only one way to see how low my weight will go and I'll deal with it then. Thanks for the tips on the capsules.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:19 AM

Sorry, my original post may have been a bit misleading on the dairy (I meant it wasn't a cause of my intestinal distress). I'm pretty certain the yoghurt is an issue though in causing the hives which is why I went dairy free to test - after I dropped it 2 weeks ago they cleared up. The first things I'll be attempting to reintroduce will be ghee, butter and yoghurt. Although you may be right - if I can put up with the hives it may help me get by.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:12 AM

Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely fine with saturated fat. I have very little doubt abut my rice issues as I have been eating a very limited diet so it's not hard to test foods. I'll be keeping up my seafood intake. White potatoes are no go. I'm sure it's a bacterial issue and am hoping a period of all meat will improve this.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 26, 2011
at 02:34 AM

You'd be surprised at how many folk are deficient. Best to get tested to make sure.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Thanks Peggy. It's very reassuring to hear that there's that point that you never drop below and that you're super active. Hopefully I'm not too far off my bottom now. I like the idea of table sugar if that helps with the cravings. Should I wait through the low carb flu first or can I take the sugar right from the start?

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 12:57 AM

Thanks for your reply. I haven't been tested but given the very limited diet I am eating now - it's not hard to see that any vegetable matter causes me distress. Today, for example - nothing but animal products (no dairy) plus steamed carrots. I agree that everything starts with the gut and I've always had issues of some sort or another. But it seems time for my gut to take a break from plants.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 25, 2011
at 10:55 PM

Thanks for your reply. I've been supplementing vitamin D for the last couple of weeks just in case. But I get plenty of time outside each day so I doubt it's an issue though. I'm eating sardines and mackerel so my omega's should be OK.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 25, 2011
at 10:51 PM

BTW, Sucrose works for me when I need some carbs. The combination of fructose plus glucose is digested better (by me, anyway.)

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10 Answers

best answer

4
04e3b66d5b3ca0aad698f0ea7f88f820

on August 26, 2011
at 12:41 AM

I always drop weight when I go zero carb too. I'm 5'6 and 108lbs but zero carb always makes me drop to 104lbs. I am super active and burn calories like a mutha and fairly muscular. It used to scare me that I would lose weight. And I would weigh myself just to make sure that I'm not going to wither up and die. Not happening. I've been doing this for years and never drop below 104lbs.

My diet consists of zero fiber and that is about my only savior against wind. (eh hem. A little embarrassing.) I can't digest plant food to save my life. I eat a varied diet of organs and all sorts of densely nutritious animal foods, I occasionally eat dairy, I take CLO and a multi mineral sometimes and I feel energetic and peaceful. My digestion is 100% quiet and my bowel movements are daily. (eh hem. I keep saying things to embarrass myself.)

A carnivore diet works for some of us quite well. It has been an amazing transformation for my skin, my bowels, and my disposition.

When converting to low carb I always felt terrible and tired for a few days as well - maybe longer. But it passes. Even once the "low carb flu" passed one thing I never could seem to shake was a craving for carbohydrates - almost a need for them - every few days. I cannot tolerate starches - they give me terrible gas - and I cannot do fruit at all - the same - but I found that I can eat a little table sugar with no problem. Now the occasional cravings that used to make me cheat are totally in check. It's a beautiful thing.

I'm still low carb. I eat sugar (usually with my pemmican or in lemon juice) once per day. Usually around noon. Not more than 25g usually but if I feel I need some more in the evening, I'll go for it.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:31 AM

Thanks Peggy. It's very reassuring to hear that there's that point that you never drop below and that you're super active. Hopefully I'm not too far off my bottom now. It'll be interesting to see how I go with the cravings, I don't know how I'd go with the sugar but maybe I'll find something I can cope with. Your 100% quiet digestion and regularity sounds like a dream to me. Cheers.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Thanks Peggy. It's very reassuring to hear that there's that point that you never drop below and that you're super active. Hopefully I'm not too far off my bottom now. I like the idea of table sugar if that helps with the cravings. Should I wait through the low carb flu first or can I take the sugar right from the start?

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on August 26, 2011
at 02:11 PM

I only eat meat, eggs, dairy, some veggies and limited fruit and occasional sugar at night. Currently no oil except fish oil. I loose weight on low carb. Looking to sub out some dairy for coconut. Trying to add in 85% chocolate as a splurge. This is easy to stay in ketosis on. VLC or ZC very well could help you out.

1
345c1755efe005edd162b770dc6fb821

(8767)

on August 26, 2011
at 12:59 PM

I see some similarities in your story to mine. I also cannot eat white rice, it is and always has been something that creates distress in my digestive system. I've even been told by various gastro drs. that rice is particularly hard on IBS patients and eating high fiber does the same. For me this is true. So I'd stick to potatoes and sweet potatoes, carrots for you instead of rice.

Its hard to avoid FODMAPs and night shades and rice and......but focus on what you can eat, test the foods one by one. I'm sure you can grow your list of foods over time.

Your cravings could be a variety of things, rice can also be 'unclean' so you might be getting gluten or other things unknowingly that are feeding your cravings.

High fat can often cause issues with your digestion but can really help cut your cravings, I suggest if you notice issues here to back off a bit and start upping things in again slowly....even slower than the normal time frame is (usually is every 3 days).

You dont need to worry about weight loss, a 1/2 banana every other day or every day is not much of an issue. I did learn however, that eating a ripe sweeten banana is better for people with IBS than a firm just yellow one. This is from GAPS.

It sounds like you could use some pointers from the GAPS protocol for healing. You also sound very very thin, so don't worry about gaining weight, you need the food for fuel and to maintain your muscle mass. Since you are already quite lean this is where you should turn it around and start feeding your muscles, if you gain it could be pure muscle mass, you'll know just by looking at your body or how your clothes fit.

good luck, feel better!!

1
834ae0f866de9008d4a996de683e7380

on August 26, 2011
at 11:10 AM

Might be worth looking into GAPS/ SCD to heal your gut.

427c8cbb9c2492d74b887fc5cf7a8ce0

(432)

on August 28, 2011
at 07:32 AM

I was going to suggest that as well!

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 26, 2011
at 02:04 AM

I have a similar history.

Scallops work great for killing cravings.

Watch out for extra oil in your meat. That always gets me.

Here's the solution that works for me: Meat: always low oil. Don't eat fat. In order of priority: Scallops, fish, pork, beef. Carbs: I can tolerate white rice. I'm surprised you can't. Are you sure it isn't extra oil? Maybe you're conflating it with some other variable somehow?

Notes on rice consumption - always eat it with meat, around a 50/50 ratio.

You won't drop weight excessively on all meat. You do need to get scallops and fish not just land meats due to nutritional depletion of farmed foods. Eat them daily.

If you indeed can't tolerate white rice mixed with meat, then there are several possibilities: 1. You are allergic to rice. Try white potatoes. Bananas have sugar and aren't safe. 2. You have some kind of bacterial problem in your intestines that can be resolved with a period of all meat, or some inflammation 3. You truly can't tolerate any carbs (which would be very weird).

If you want to gain weight, lift weights according to the formula in Tim Ferriss' The 4 Hour Body.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 26, 2011
at 06:23 PM

So going all meat and then using dextrose or scallops to kill cravings sounds like the last resort.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:12 AM

Thanks for your reply. I'm definitely fine with saturated fat. I have very little doubt abut my rice issues as I have been eating a very limited diet so it's not hard to test foods. I'll be keeping up my seafood intake. White potatoes are no go. I'm sure it's a bacterial issue and am hoping a period of all meat will improve this.

04e3b66d5b3ca0aad698f0ea7f88f820

on August 26, 2011
at 12:36 PM

For a long time I realized that eating rice with low fat meats, mostly raw and mostly seafood worked really well for me. (I did drop as low as 100lbs back then.) Eventually I developed a serious allergy to rice. I tried other starches that I'm not allergic to with my same low fat approach. No go. Starches and fruit sugars cause serious digestive problems in me. It is interesting that I thought I had to go low fat. The real problem was the starch. As long as I kept my fat low I could handle the starch but I could not digest the two together. Now I eat an all meat diet with a little sugar.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on August 26, 2011
at 06:15 PM

So I guess if starch fails the last option is dextrose? Is that where this is going? I find it bizarre that rice allergies are so prevalent. I really don't understand what's going on here.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on August 26, 2011
at 01:42 AM

I know this sounds really stupid, but have you tried simple sugars? They are digested in the small intestine, not the colon where many IBS problems are. For many fiber/FODMAPs/residue sensitive folks, this is the only way to get carbs. You could try some apple cider vinegar and honey tonics, for example, to stay out of ketosis. I also lose weight on low-carb and this helps keep my weight up. But if rice made you feel bad, maybe it wouldn't work.

Another thing you might want to look into is high-vitamin butter oil/cod liver capsules. The butyric acid can help combat inflammation and have done wonders for myself and many people.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:26 AM

Thanks Melissa. I haven't tried simple sugars for a long time but don't have fond memories. I'll see how I go and may try the tonics you suggest, but I'm not overly hopeful. I think at the end of the day there's only one way to see how low my weight will go and I'll deal with it then. Thanks for the tips on the capsules.

D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

(4134)

on December 22, 2011
at 06:04 PM

Melissa, thanks for the reminder about CLO and butyric acid. I find that eating wild salmon or herring/mackerel/sardines, and taking CLO helps me. I do all right with Lactaid milk, in small amounts. Low FODMAPS, low fiber, and low starch help keep things calm. Also, reducing the caffeine intake to very low helped.

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 25, 2011
at 10:49 PM

Have you checked your Vitamin D level? I have trouble with some FODMAPS, but I noticed after about 4 months of Vitamin D supplementation most of my food intolerances disappeared.

Also, are you taking Omega 3?

It seemed that once my body got its inflammation under control, my digestive system started working better.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 25, 2011
at 10:51 PM

BTW, Sucrose works for me when I need some carbs. The combination of fructose plus glucose is digested better (by me, anyway.)

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on August 26, 2011
at 02:34 AM

You'd be surprised at how many folk are deficient. Best to get tested to make sure.

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 25, 2011
at 10:55 PM

Thanks for your reply. I've been supplementing vitamin D for the last couple of weeks just in case. But I get plenty of time outside each day so I doubt it's an issue though. I'm eating sardines and mackerel so my omega's should be OK.

0
Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 26, 2011
at 02:23 AM

If the dairy wasn't an issue for you... why remove it? The fermented dairy you had like yogurt could have been really helping your digestive issues and it seems like your problems got much worse when you removed it...

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 05:34 AM

That's what I was drinking. We've got our own goats.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on August 26, 2011
at 05:14 AM

Why not try raw milk yogurt or raw milk kefir...?

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:19 AM

Sorry, my original post may have been a bit misleading on the dairy (I meant it wasn't a cause of my intestinal distress). I'm pretty certain the yoghurt is an issue though in causing the hives which is why I went dairy free to test - after I dropped it 2 weeks ago they cleared up. The first things I'll be attempting to reintroduce will be ghee, butter and yoghurt. Although you may be right - if I can put up with the hives it may help me get by.

0
04e3b66d5b3ca0aad698f0ea7f88f820

on August 26, 2011
at 12:43 AM

I always drop weight when I go zero carb too. I'm 5'6 and 108lbs but zero carb always makes me drop to 104lbs. I am super active and burn calories like a mutha and fairly muscular. It used to scare me that I would lose weight. And I would weigh myself just to make sure that I'm not going to wither up and die. Not happening. I've been doing this for years and never drop below 104lbs.

My diet consists of zero fiber and that is about my only savior against wind. (eh hem. A little embarrassing.) I can't digest plant food to save my life. I eat a varied diet of organs and all sorts of densely nutritious animal foods, I occasionally eat dairy, I take CLO and a multi mineral sometimes and I feel energetic and peaceful. My digestion is 100% quiet and my bowel movements are daily. (eh hem. I keep saying things to embarrass myself.)

A carnivore diet works for some of us quite well. It has been an amazing transformation for my skin, my bowels, and my disposition.

When converting to low carb I always felt terrible and tired for a few days as well - maybe longer. But it passes. Even once the "low carb flu" passed one thing I never could seem to shake was a craving for carbohydrates - almost a need for them - every few days. I cannot tolerate starches - they give me terrible gas - and I cannot do fruit at all - the same - but I found that I can eat a little table sugar with no problem. Now the occasional cravings that used to make me cheat are totally in check. It's a beautiful thing.

I'm still low carb. I eat sugar (usually with my pemmican or in lemon juice) once per day. Usually around noon. Not more than 25g usually but if I feel I need some more in the evening, I'll go for it.

0
427c8cbb9c2492d74b887fc5cf7a8ce0

on August 26, 2011
at 12:41 AM

Have you been tested for food allergies? Since I started on the gluten free wagon 5 years ago, I add to remove several foods (and even food families) from my diet. Soaking and GF fermenting grains was not enough for me and about 6 months ago I felt like my body was caving in on itself. I had some kind of leaky gut (some foods like grains weren't digested at all), I was always bloated, my stomach felt constantly nervous and my muscles (esp around the neck) were constantly tense. I felt really miserable. My food choices were very few. I thought I had an issue with oxalates and felt better after removal but it was not that. A food allergies test revealed things I had already guessed and removed from my diet but I had no clue I was allergic to casein (I had raw dairy several times a day). I removed the dairy (after a few days my stools where back to normal), healed my gut with fermented foods and bone broths. Supplemented my diet with propolis, bee pollen, bone meal, transdermal magnesium, fermented cod liver oil and pasture butter (Butter and cream are low in casein and I can tolerate them, I can even have a bit of raw cheese once in a while). Today I've reintroduced the majority of the foods I had to remove from my diet but I still have to test some (I find pulse testing pretty accurate even for temporary intolerance). And the enamel of my teeth has almost completely regrown (2-3 years ago my teeth were starting to get transparent and the dentist told me it was impossible to regrow enamel) and I have recalcified my bones in the process (my facial structure has changed). Hang in there, you can reclaim your health...Everything starts with the gut! Regarding your carb problem, there might be gut disbiosis/candida involved...

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 04:27 AM

Thanks for your reply. I haven't been tested but given the very limited diet I am eating now - it's not hard to see that any vegetable matter causes me distress. Today, for example - nothing but animal products (no dairy) plus steamed carrots. I agree that everything starts with the gut and I've always had issues of some sort or another. But it seems time for my gut to take a break from plants

0e9ddbd345ed53954d2c3eb4edc954c9

(203)

on August 26, 2011
at 12:57 AM

Thanks for your reply. I haven't been tested but given the very limited diet I am eating now - it's not hard to see that any vegetable matter causes me distress. Today, for example - nothing but animal products (no dairy) plus steamed carrots. I agree that everything starts with the gut and I've always had issues of some sort or another. But it seems time for my gut to take a break from plants.

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