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So, what if you’ve tried the low FODMAPs diet?  What if you don’t have IBS with diarrhea?  There are other options.  Today, let’s look at another option for people who struggle with chronic constipation.

celery

Is Adding Fiber Actually the Answer?

Low Fiber Diet for IBS

This diet goes against the classic recommendation– fiber!  Add more fiber, you’ve been told.  But then it didn’t work (for you– it does work for some people).  This is the direct opposite.  Eliminate the fiber.

A few years ago, a few research studies about chronic constipation were published that trialed no fiber or low fiber diet (<10 grams) for chronic constipation. It worked pretty well for the participants who managed to stay on the diet.  Many of them had the constipation resolve, or at least improve.  (See one 2012 publication here.)

What can I eat on a low fiber diet for constipation?

This involves eliminating many of the foods that we’ve been taught are healthy, like whole grains and beans. It’s a big change for many people. Here are some examples of what to eat and what to avoid.

Eat:

  • white rice, white pasta, and white bread
  • fruit and vegetable juice without the pulp
  • strained vegetable soups
  • meat, poultry, and eggs
  • milk, yogurt, and cheese.

Avoid:

  • fruits and vegetables with skins or seeds
  • beans
  • whole grains
  • nuts and seeds.

What does that mean long term?

Like the low FODMAPs option, the goal is to stabilize symptoms and work on liberalizing your diet to include more fruits, vegetables, and nuts.  High fiber foods like beans may or may not start constipation– but avoiding all potential foods with fiber over a longer time means you miss out on key nutrients.  Personalizing the way you eat is essential to staying healthy over a lifetime.

Why don’t more people talk about this?

Many people with constipation do respond well to adding soluble fiber.   Fewer people seem to respond well to insoluble fiber, like bran.  Constipation has different causes, so different types of chronic constipation seem to respond to different nutrition approaches.

Other people end up working with medications, stress reduction, biofeedback, or other methods.  Staying on a low fiber diet long-term can lead to nutrient deficiencies, though, so it’s advisable to work with your health care providers.

Could this work for me?

It’s always wise to chat with dietary changes with your health care providers, especially major changes.  Start the conversation if you think it might be an option at your next appointment.

Still have questions?

Contact me to request a short call to discuss how I can help you feel better.  If I can’t help, I’ll refer you to someone else who hopefully can.

 

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