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Irritable Bowel Syndrome and High Protein Diets: Understand the Dangers of a Low Fiber Diet — an article on the Smart Living Network
April 23, 2009 at 8:56 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and High Protein Diets: Understand the Dangers of a Low Fiber Diet


Irritable Bowel Syndrome - what is a "syndrome?" A syndrome, according to Webster, is "An aggregate or set of concurrent symptoms together indicating the presence and nature of a disease." The reason Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is labeled a syndrome is because of the many symptoms involved, some of which are bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, lack of energy and nausea.

Millions of people suffer with IBS on a daily basis. The cause of IBS has not been determined. It is believed to be the lack of communication between the brain and the intestinal tract. There are many things including stress, hormones, immune system, and chemicals called neurotransmitters that interfere with the messages between the brain and the bowel. It also appears that IBS is more common in people whose family has a history of IBS. Even though there may be times when it is not as debilitating as others, the suffering still goes on. Richard Weisiger, a gastroenterologist at the University of California says that stress causes IBS flare-ups. There are many factors that can cause stress among which is diet. It depends a lot on how strict you are and how stressful the diet is.

Diet for IBS

Diet seems to be important especially for those suffering from IBS. The problem is that the same diet used by one suffering with IBS may have a different affect on someone else with the same symptoms. Studies have been done to determine if high protein, high carbohydrates and/or high fat diets have any affect on IBS. If you experience constipation you should gradually add fiber to your diet. If you experience diarrhea you should eat a moderate amount of fiber. The best thing to do is start a symptom journal because as mentioned early what works for one may not work for another. It has been proven that high protein diets can cause increased heartburn which is a symptom of IBS.

Perhaps though, it is the increased levels of fat and not the protein that cause the heartburn. Fat slows the digestive system which means that food stays in the stomach longer. Research does suggest that a diet high in fat can cause IBS symptoms to worsen. However by reducing our fat, we need to be sure that there are no unforeseen effects. We need fat for our cell membranes. Our brain is 70 per cent fat. We should therefore be very careful that we get the necessary fat that our body requires to stay healthy. There are different types of fat: trans-fat, saturated and unsaturated. Trans fats are commercially produced and are not natural. They do not metabolize like saturated fats and therefore stay in our bodies. They can significantly increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fat is usually from animals. An excess of these fats may raise cholesterol. Unsaturated fat comes from plants and a few animals (fish). These types of fats may reduce cholesterol. Some of the vitamins needed for a healthy body are fat-soluble and can only be digested and/or absorbed with fat. We need some fat so that our skin and hair stays healthy. We also need fat for energy. While many people, for the sake of loosing weight, remove fat completely from their diet, it is very unhealthy to do so. Many dieters are cutting back on carbohydrates and eating more high protein foods instead. Most are not aware of the impact that it has on their digestive system. Another important matter is people who do not eat fat at all are more likely to acquire brain diseases.

IBS is a real disease and needs to be treated as such. The one thing that we can learn is that we need to eat sensibly and completely digest our food. When our digestive system is not working properly we will definitely see a result in increased IBS symptoms.

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