The problem with Dietary Fibre and IBS
We are often reminded about the importance of consuming fibre, which is not only for gastrointestinal health but also for reducing cholesterol. So, when new research indicates that dietary fibre may not be such a good idea for individuals suffering from IBS, there is a lot of confusion about what we should be doing for our health. Let’s first discuss what the term “dietary fibre” means. When you consume fibre, your gastrointestinal enzymes go to work breaking down the fibres of your food.
What is not broken down is referred to as insoluble fibre or roughage. The roughage travels through your digestive system, absorbing water along the way, which forms the feces that you eliminate. Dietary Fibre refers to the nutrients in your diet that are not digested (also known as roughage). Don’t mistake insoluble fibre, roughage or the coined phrase “dietary fibre” as a negative. Your body relies on dietary fibre/roughage to help the movement of unwanted foods through your digestive system, which keeps your colon cleansed and healthy, feeds the good bacteria in your gut, helps control blood sugar and helps remove cholesterol. The process of consuming both soluble and insoluble fibre works well for most individuals. However, if you suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), the consumption of insoluble fibres may worsen your symptoms. Why is that? By definition alone, IBS’ meaning, “irritable bowel,” may help explain why some types of fibre can be irritating. Due to the sensitive nature of IBS sufferers, anything that irritates the gut can worsen symptoms. One of the problems that make it more difficult for IBS sufferers is that no two people’s experiences, symptoms or causes of gut irritation are identical. One person may be able to consume dairy without any adverse reactions, while another may experience gas, bloating and diarrhea. The situation is the same with different types of fruits and vegetables, and most definitely the same applies to the consumption of dietary fibre.
Introducing the new FodMap Diet and Fibres
One common denominator with IBS sufferers is that their negative gastrointestinal symptoms are most often triggered by the foods they consume, which has led to the introduction of the Low FODMAP diet. FODMAPS are a group of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine (by IBS sufferers) and if not eliminated through your feces can ferment in your intestines, causing an adverse gut reaction. Some FODMAPs prevent stool from firming up by drawing excess water into the digestive tract, causing diarrhea, while others cause overfermentation (sort of like grapes turning into
champagne). Please note: FODMAP type foods are not necessarily bad for you and are required as part of a balanced diet, so unless you believe they may be one of the causes of your IBS, you should not consider reducing or removing FODMAP foods from your diet. Also, it is not necessary to eliminate every FODMAP food from your menu as the diet restriction of FODMAP suggests. You may want to start with full elimination and slowly add these foods back into your diet to better determine which ones are exasperating your symptoms. Some examples of foods that are considered high FODMAP are wheat, rye, barley, onions, garlic, savoury cabbage, artichokes, legumes, milk and dairy, honey, apples, pears, watermelon, mango, stone fruits, mushrooms, cauliflower, high fructose foods, sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and mannitol. Circling back to fibre. IBS sufferers can be sensitive to insoluble fibre; therefore, consumption of suitable dietary fibres tends to decrease with individuals suffering from IBS. The decrease in fibre consumption is counterproductive to a healthy colon, healthy heart and all the other great benefits of fibre. Products such as Natural Factors Low FODMAP Organic Relief fibre provide a non-GMO source of dietary fibre to help improve bowel regularity, including constipation and diarrhea and relieve symptoms associated with IBS, including bloating, flatulence and dyspepsia. Every serving provides 5 grams of Low FODMAP fibre, and it comes in unflavoured or tropical flavour. If you suffer from IBS, consider other supplements that function to heal and support your gut health. Natural Factors IBS Relief Biotic helps support a healthy gut microbiome, and in turn helps reduce IBS symptoms. Natural Factors CurcuminRich Double Strength Theracumin can improve symptoms of IBS and further support digestion by reducing the inflammatory response. Natural Factors Micronized L-Glutamine can help support the tissues found in the intestines and restore healthy gut permeability for IBS.
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