Where Goeth my Gas?

I don’t know how to put this delicately so I’ll come striaght to it:
Something strange has happened to my air biscuits. They’ve gone missing.

I used to suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Bloating and sharp pains in my gut was a regular occurrence. Bowel movements came in every state matter can assume at random intervals. Weapons grade gas happened.

A few years ago I dabbled in raw. The consistency of solids improved. But the amount of gas reached industrial proportions.

There was clearly a direct correlation with the fibre in my diet: more fibre = more farts.

I experimented with a few foods, and the major culprit turned out to be the flax seeds. I consumed a lot of ground flax during that time and there was simply no getting used to it. All the literature said that my body would adjust… but the only thing that adjusted was my sense of humour. At first I was horrified, eventually it was just comical. But by then I had become a raw recluse.

Skip forward a few years to my new food regime: high fat – low carb.

Since adopting low carb:

  • I never have ANY gas unless I eat more complex carbs than usual (which is very little).
  • I never get stomach cramps unless I’ve eaten an obscene amount of chilli

Essentially my IBS appears to be gone. I certainly have no symptoms of it. My entire gas production in the last six months has been less than what my daily offering was on raw or my weekly offering on the old “healthy low fat” food plan.

So it seems, the diet adjustments which effected a cure were

  1. Increase Fat
  2. Reduce Fibre and Carbs

Yet this is the exact opposite of all the standard advice: eat more fibre, reduce fat intake.

Is my experience unusual or is the professed wisdom on how to heal the gut based on the same kind of science which recommends low fat and low cholesterol for heart health? IE – something somebody dreamed up and has never really been substantiated but everyone jumped on board. Seems like it.

BTW would it be fair to interpret gas as a sign that the body is dealing with something that it’s having a hard time digesting? Does the absence of gas indicate that my body is better suited to my current diet, or is that a silly interpretation? I’m interested in views on this.

Bottom Line
If the doctor’s advice is not helping your IBS, I definitely recommend a 30 day experiment: drop all the flax, Metamucil and other funny fibres. Reduce your carb intake. Eat more fat.

It’s worth a try. I had IBS for 20 years and now I seem to be free of it.


3 thoughts on “Where Goeth my Gas?

  1. For whatever it’s worth… this has pretty much been our experience, too. On a high carb, low fat diet, we were in serious danger of exploding, I think! Constant gas. Went to low carb, virtually no gas at all, and stomach problems greatly improved. We actually do continue to take things like Metamucil, which don’t seem to cause flatulence for us… so I’m thinking that it’s something about the combination of grains and sugars that’s the issue. Whatever it is, it’s great to clear the air.

  2. I’ve heard stories like yours so many times – dozens and dozens of times – that I sometimes forget it flies in the face of the conventional wisdom. I never had an IBS diagnosis, but I had every variant on digestive trouble except constipation – diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach cramps, belching, you name it. LC completely cleared it up.

    Oh, and since we’re being frank, what little gas I do have now isn’t all that stinky. When I ate a low-fat high-carb high-fiber diet, I was a social outcast. It was worst when I was a vegetarian – I’m surprised I had any friends at all.

    To answer your question about whether gas indicates your body is trying to deal with something it’s having a hard time dealing with – sort of. I believe the direct cause is your intestinal flora feasting on all those complex sugars your body can’t break down by itself. It stands to reason that the more undigested stachyose and raffinose (sp?) you leave behind (NPI), the bigger the bacterial party in your lower GI tract. Is this good or bad? Some people think that this is a good thing, because your intestinal flora support your immune system. I say this is a good time to trot out that otherwise tired chestnut, “Moderation in all things.” I’m happy to feed my bacteria, but not at the expense of making myself miserable.

  3. Same experience here. Now that it’s gone though, I’ve slowly been introducing high-carb foods through trail and error. Some are OK (sweet potato), others are not (beans). I think the difference is that humans didn’t evolve to eat beans or flax, but we have been digging up tubers for a loooooooong time. Your body just doesn’t have any idea about what to do with a new food like flax, so it sends it on down to the bacteria. However, I’ve found it’s not limited to agricultural foods…for me, onions have to be limited too.

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