IBS Low Starch Diet

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

ibs-low-starch-dietThe Low Starch Diet is a prescribed treatment option for IBS.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract resulting in recurring abdominal pain and discomfort, alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation (or a combination of both), usually over long periods (months or years).

IBS may affect as many as 20% of people in the UK at some time in their lives, and reportedly 10%-20% in the USA have been diagnosed with IBS.

Females represent over 70% of IBS sufferers. Recent findings suggest that the colons of IBS sufferers react to stimuli that do not affect normal colons, and their reactions are far more severe – irregular or increased GI muscle contractions producing lower abdominal pain and cramping (often severe), extreme diarrhea and/or constipation, gas, and bloating.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not the same as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which refers to two chronic diseases causing intestinal inflammation: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, although IBS and IBD have some common features.

Carol Sinclair’s IBS Low Starch Diet

There are a number of dietary approaches to the management of IBS; Carol Sinclair’s IBS Low Starch Diet differs from most in two respects:

  • She herself is an IBS sufferer who has successfully overcome IBS pain through her own efforts to identify foods that contribute to the problem
  • The main focus of the diet is the elimination or reduction of starch

Carol Sinclair’s book The IBS Low Starch Diet details her years of struggle with IBS without any answers until she heard a doctor talking about the theory that among other chronic conditions, IBS was caused by food intolerance. It was stated that eliminating wheat flour from the diet could eliminate the symptoms!

She promptly gave up wheat in her diet with immediate relief from her symptoms, and for about a year remained totally free from pain and bloating. When the symptoms returned, she set out on the task of identifying problem foods, spending many years researching and refining her diet as a virtual ‘walking laboratory’.

Her eventual discovery that starch was the cause of her IBS symptoms has resulted in her book ‘The IBS Starch-Free Diet’, the complete guide to a starch-free lifestyle. There is a chapter on each of these topics:

  • Her years of advice from doctors to no avail
  • Explanation of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Behavior of normal digestion
  • What starch is
  • Effects of eating starch and the reasons for those effects
  • Foods containing starch
  • Recognition of starch in food
  • Managing the Sinclair Diet System (IBS Starch-free Diet)
  • What can be eaten
  • Nutritional safety of the diet
  • Side-effects of a starch-free diet
  • Eating-out guide
  • Shopping suggestions
  • Over 200 recipes for:
    • soups, starters and fish;
    • main courses of chicken, rabbit, turkey, pork, beef, lamb;
    • everyday meals and salads;
    • desserts, baking, sauces, candy, relishes, drinks, snacks.

A sample menu, starch-free of course:

  • Starter: Scallops
  • Main Course: Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Salad
  • Dessert: Pavlova
Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.

Validity of starch effects in the diet

Significantly, two recent developments have given impetus to the starch-free, or a low-starch, diet.

  1. There now appears to be a connection between IBS and the arthritic condition known as Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) – diagnosed in 1 in 200 adults – with the discovery that IBS and AS are often the same autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are chronic degenerative and/or inflammatory conditions resulting from abnormal immune reactions to compounds absorbed from the environment. One of the defence mechanisms of the body is to mount an immune response by launching antibodies against foreign substances in order to protect itself from potential harm.

    It does this by recognizing what is ‘self’ in order to respond to ‘foreign’. In autoimmune diseases there is a failure to recognise some part of self, with the result that antibodies attack the body’s own cells. This destruction may be restricted to a single organ, a localized region or the whole body. The consequences may vary from minimal to catastrophic, depending on the extent to which the body is affected. In the case of AS, it has been found that a particular bacterium normally resident in the digestive tract is the cause of AS in persons uniquely susceptible to the disease.

    Proliferation of the bacteria cause the immune system to manufacture antibodies, which help destroy the ‘invading’ substance, but appear to also attack body cells. So the bacteria are not the cause of damage to tissue, rather the body’s own defenses become the problem. A diet low in starch reduces the primary food source of this bacterium, lowering the population of the species in the digestive system, with marked beneficial results. The low-starch diet has been extensively and successfully employed in treating AS sufferers at the AS Clinic at London’s Middlesex Hospital.

  2. An Australian immunologist has discovered a link between starch foods that trigger, in people who have a particular gene (the HLAB27 gene), a range of symptoms such as gut pain, back ache, foot pains, eye pains, acid reflux, stiff back, stiff neck, sciatica, achilles tendinitis and frozen shoulder.

It is possible that a simple blood test can diagnose your symptoms, and that a low-starch or starch-free diet may improve your health.

What about starch foods in other IBS diets?

The apparent paradox – soluble fiber is most important dietary aid for preventing Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms initially as well as for managing the symptoms of IBS. Soluble fiber prevents and heals diarrhea and constipation, unlike anything else.

Since it dissolves in water and soaks up excess liquid in the large intestine it stops diarrhea, or cures constipation by softening faeces for a smooth transition through the colon. Trouble is, soluble fiber is NOT typically found in foods usually considered to contain fiber, such as bran or raw leafy green vegetables; this is insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is found in starchy foods, though soluble fiber, but is different than starch because it can’t be digested by the human body. Soluble fiber passes through the human body without releasing calories.

Insoluble fiber as well as fats stimulates the human digestive system and this of course isn’t good for IBS sufferers! But you can, and must, eat insoluble fiber foods, though always within the IBS dietary guidelines: never eat insoluble fiber on its own or on an empty stomach, but always with a larger quantity of soluble fiber, ensuring you cook, peel, chop, seed, dice, and/or puree all fruit and vegetables to remove the toughest insoluble fiber and break down the remainder before you eat it.

So what about the starch in insoluble (therefore digested) fiber foods?

Fiber Foods for an IBS Diet

At the top of the list are common foods that many can eat everyday and ones that most people have success with, but if you adopt the starch-free diet, check out how to remove starchy insoluble-fiber foods from your menu. Note that the recommended daily soluble fiber consumption for a ‘normal’ person is 5-10 grams.

Serving Soluble Insoluble
Rice (brown) 0.5 cup cooked 0.1g 1.6g
Rice (white) 0.5 cup cooked 0.0g 0.2g
Rice cereal 1.0 cup cooked 0.0g 0.2g
White Pastas 0.5 cup cooked 0.4g 0.5g
Pasta, whole wheat 0.5 cup cooked 0.5g 1.8g
Oatmeal 1.0 cup cooked 1.8g 2.0g
Barley 0.5 cup cooked 0.9g 3.3g
White Bread 1 medium slice 0.4g 0.3g
Flour tortillas 6″ 0.2g 1.1g
Soybeans 0.5 cup cooked 2.3g 2.8g
Corn meal 1.0 cup cooked 0.0g 0.4g
Carrots 0.5 cup cooked 1.1g 1.5g
Sweet potatoes 0.5 cup cooked 1.4g 2.4g
White Potatoes 0.5 cup mashed 0.9g 0.7g
Rutabagas (Swedes)
Parsnips
Turnips
Beets 0.5 cup cooked 0.7g 0.8g
Squash (butternut) 0.5 cup mashed 0.7g 1.0g
Pumpkins 0.5 cup mashed 0.5g 3.1g
Mushrooms 0.5 cup cooked 0.2g 1.6g
Bananas 7″ long 0.7g 2.1g
Applesauce 0.5 cup cooked 0.4g 0.5g
Mangoes (medium) 1.5g 2.2g
Chestnuts
Papayas
Avocados 0.5 cup cooked 0.4g 0.5g
    References:

  • Sinclair, C. S. (2004). The Ibs Low-Starch Diet: Why Starchy Food May Be Hazardous To Your Health.
  • King, T. S., Elia, M., & Hunter, J. O. (1998). Abnormal colonic fermentation in irritable bowel syndrome. The Lancet, 352(9135), 1187-1189. abstract
  • Dobson, B. C. (2008). The small intestine and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): A batch process model. Medical hypotheses, 71(5), 781-787. abstract
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: September 11, 2015. Disclaimer
  • Ashling

    I love this diet, I suffered really badly with all the symptoms of IBS and suffered with sickness to the point were I didn’t work for two years. I tried this diet and within 3 days I was feeling fresh and well rested and my skin completely cleared of all breakouts and spots, I couldn’t beleive it. I was like a different person. ^_^

  • Jonathan

    Sounds very similar to my condition, ie. Celiac Disease. another autoimmune disorder. Im curious is there any of your relatives diagnosed with a similar condition to yours? These tend to be genetically linked.

  • mags

    would like to know if this starch free diet has worked for anyone with spondylitis?i have suffered for 5years and have just been diagnosed,ill try anything and if anyone has any other information that helped them.thanks.x

  • Mandy

    Answer to “Mags” question
    I also have ankylosing spondylitis, and a starch free, lactose free and refined sugar free diet works. I’ve been on the diet for 4 weeks and i can notice a great improvement. Best of luck. There’s a book out there for AS. If you just look up ankylosing Spondylitis diet you can find this guys website. It’s only $34 and worth it. Gives you the basics and then you can do your own research and add food to it. A fantastic alternative to flour(starchy) is “Almond ground” or “almond flour”

  • debby

    wondered if anyone can help. my mother is on starchfree diet for 4 weeks now and no improvement. We are hoping this diet will help for Ankylosing spondylitis, we have heard it should. wondering why its not helping as heard normally after a few days should be improvement. my mother is rather dispondant as very uncomfortable and in pain with no movement hardly.shes still quite young too. I would appreciate any experiences of others on this. many thanks.

  • Lucy

    I am on a starch free diet for ankylosing spondylitis and have found i got worse when i went off the starch but then its gets better within a few weeks to the point where I feel like new! I also find if I don’t excersize each day like my doctor advised I feel worse. I also started losing weight straight away which I had heaps of trouble doing, I lost a dress size in 3 weeks!

  • John

    I have been on a no starch diet for Ankylosing Spondylitis and it does work….. the only downside is that I’m 5’9″ cant get my weight above 140 lbs because my diet doesnt have many calories

  • Deane Shaftoe

    I have started the no starch diet and its been about a week now. How long till I start to feel some real change.
    I suffer fron A.S. and really battle at night with back pain.Is this one of the things that will start getting better.
    Please advise and if you have any other tips I gladly welcome them.

  • Ruth

    IBS stands for IRRITABLE bowel SYNDROME. That means that it is diagnosed by symptoms alone. It is not an autoimmune disease and is not suspected of being an autoimmune disorder at all.
    It is VERY different from IBD and AS both of which are autoimmune diseases.
    The HLA-B27 phenotype referenced is common to patients with autoimmune diseases such as IBD and spondyloarthropothies (like AS,), and Ueveitis. There is NO blood test for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, only for elimination of diseases such as IBD or infection.
    So I’m confused about whether this diet is recommended for IBD or IBS – two vastly different diagnoses. Coincidentally, I have tried the no starch/low starch diet with a soluble fibre additive for Crohn’s Disease (IBD), to no avail.

  • Jennifer

    I am very interested to read this book. I have suffered with IBS for almost 20 years and only recently (in the past year) started to realize it might be related to starch. As there is no clear test for this like gluten, lactose, bacteria (of which I have tested negative for all)…its been hard for me to figure out. So I am pleased to see a reference to guide through food consumption.

  • Sally Margetts

    I too have suffered with IBS for over 20 years.I am also lactose intolerant but was disappointed to still have pain and bloating, lethargy and depression even after giving up dairy. I’ve played with various depletion diets (wheat, gluten etc but never considered starch as the culprit. For 3 weeks now I’ve been starch free and BOY what a difference?! I feel like a new person – no gut pain, no bloating, energetic and a happy peaceful positive frame of mind. Thank you – I think I have finally sussed it! I’d love to share with fellow sufferers.

  • Carolyn Ching (Carol Sinclair)

    I am the author of The IBS Low-Starch diet, and am dismayed to discover that the information above is only partly true. While the info. about the diet is correct, my book is not out of print and is presently available through Amazon.co.uk, or Amazon.com and also through bookshops. The information about soluble fibre and grain and cereal foods is not from my book, which includes over 200 recipes and ideas for a diet that does not include any grains or starchy vegetables. All recipes are also gluten-free. Many are lactose-free.

    • ted

      Thanks for the update Carolyn, we’ll fix that.

  • Paul Harts

    I might be speaking too soon, but I’ve been on the no-starch diet for two weeks – and for the first time in 19 years I have spent three pain-free days. I have been diagnosed with AS – and the advice I am following is to test EVERY food you eat with Iodine solution. It’s either a coincidence or that the starch-free diet is working – though I’m trying to research the side-effects of a starch-free diet as it is listed as a major and important food product. Watch this space.

  • John

    Can anyone tell me where I can purchase regular iodine in order to test for starch in foods? My regular pharmacy does not carry iodine solution.

  • Katy

    Hey there
    I am going to try the low starch diet, but as a personal trainer and very active person I get very hungry on low carb diets and can never sustain them. is this a problem for anyone else? how can i eat enough carbs to satisfy my appetite with a low starch diet?
    thank you

  • shelly

    I also have AS (17 yrs.) to point that I HAVE to try something, no quality of life at 45. I need help with what food I CAN eat, I have spent lots of time on internet and can not find site that just plain tells you what foods have no starch. Can you have some starch? I just need to know snack type of foods, I work at a job that I am walking 10 miles a day, funny hu when I have AS, I cry most nights. I need carbs so that I am not shakey or feel funny at work. HELP!!!!!!!!

  • Carolyn Ching (Carol Sinclair)

    Would like to respond to Ruth, March 10th, 2009, re her advice about IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME. Ruth is right – IBS is only a diagnosis of symptoms, not of a disease. And if she read my book she’d find this information. The thing about the HLA-B27 gene is that I didn’t know I had it when I wrote my first book, which was how the Low-Starch Diet had eliminated my symptoms of IBS. I didn’t know that the underlying cause of my IBS symptoms was AS, which causes inflammation all over the body, also in the gut. I was desperate to find some sort of treatment for my IBS, but used to control my arthritic symptoms with cortisone injections and medication. My AS pain was variously diagnosed as repetitive strain injury etc. But the Low-Starch diet eliminated my IBS, and all my arthritic symptoms faded away, and it wasn’t until 1999 that I discovered I actually had AS. I have tested positive for the HLA-B27 gene – members of my family have it – and I had all the other AS symptoms – even iritis – but I have controlled the symptoms for over 25 years with the Low-Starch Diet. Many people who have bought my book for their IBS have had the blood test after reading it and have discovered they also have the HLA-B27 gene. This is particularly true for women – who usually consult a GP for their gut pain and bloating symptoms and are never asked if they also have arthritic pain, and are therefore never sent to a rheumatologist or given a blood test for AS. HOWEVER – even if you do not have the B27 gene, if you have gut pain & bloating which has not been diagnosed as any other recognised gastrointestinal disease, such as ulceritive colitis, it is very likely that it will be caused by bacteria in your gut which lives on starch, causing fermentation and thus the IBS sumptoms. Cutting down on starch will relieve your symptoms. I’ve had many letters from people who have proved negative for the B27 gene test, and who swear that the Low-Starch Diet eliminates their symptoms of pain and bloating. And here’s an exciting piece of new research – SCIENTISTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS HEALTH SCIENCE CENTRE SAY THEY MAY HAVE FOUND THE CAUSE OF COLIC. THEY BELIEVE IT COULD BE THE RESULT OF INFLAMMATION CAUSED BY A SINGLE BACTERIUM, KLEBSIELLA, IN THE GUT. A study is published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Colic is the medical name for IBS. Babies get it. Horses get it. (They shoot horses, don’t they?) I urge everyone whether you believe in my book or not, if you have symptoms of IBS, IBD (a serious diagnosis) or AS, to try the Low-Starch Diet. Now it’s being tested on people with Crohn’s disease and proving extremely successful, even for people who can’t tolerate any medication. Crohn’s people do not usually have the HLA-B27 gene, but always have anti-bodies to Klebsiella. The Low-Starch Diet is being talked about in recently published books (I can give you a list). All my starch-free recipes are completely Gluten-free, as well. If you’ve found that other low-carb diets leave you feeling hungry, I promise you that my Low-Starch Diet will not do this as long as you have a good breakfast of, say, bacon & eggs which will give you a long, slow energy release (as opposed to carbs which give you rapid energy release and then your blood-sugar levels dip, leaving you craving carbs) You can eat chocolate, ice-cream, meringues, cakes & biscuits made from ground almonds (almond flour) drink tea, coffee, wine, even beer – and many other things. You don’t have to eliminate all carbs – just starch. You have to be inventive, but my 200+ recipes will give you a starter.

    One other small comment re the Low-Starch Diet and what foods to eat. My book does give lots of information about this, but the ONLY RELIABLE WAY TO FIND OUT, is to test food samples with Iodine. A drop of iodine onto any food will go dark blue/black if it contains starch. Test bread to see the result. If food contains no starch the iodine drop will remain a dark rusty brown colour, or even paler. If you live in the UK you should be able to get original iodine. Either tincture of iodine or aqueous solution. There is a new type of colourless iodine available in Australia & New Zealand, called Povidine. This is being stocked now by pharmacists because it is more expensive and more profitable. IT DOES NOT WORK AS A TEST FOR STARCH. If you can’t get the original iodine, there’s a cough medicine called BETADINE manufactured by F.H. Faulding & Co. Ltd., which contains original iodine and works as a test for starch.

  • Lisa

    Katy, have you tried eating a lot of raw nuts or peanut butter? I’m not particularly active, but I feel great on a diet of nuts, meat, vegetables, and fruit.

  • Lisa

    Oh, same for you Shelly, almonds are almost (if not completely) starch free and walnuts only contain starch in the skin. They make great snacks! Almonds are like chips for me. Try them with dried blueberries, makes a great snack. Actually, dried fruit in general might be a good snack idea for you too. Cashews, chestnuts, and sunflower seeds are high in starch though. And peanuts have starch too, so I guess I should recant the peanut butter recommendation.

  • L. B.

    I’m starting the low-starch diet. Not good at it yet. Don’t really know what I have. I don’t have the gene HLA-B27. I have constipation. Recurring anteria uveitis. Swollen ankles. Stiff neck. Tender sore heals. Severe back and rib pain mostly at night and lower hip and back pain that feels like it’s out of socket. Those are my only symptoms. Oh and high blood levels of C protien and sediment something. My eye doc says AS. One Rheumy said AS. Two Rhuemys said reactive but I never had food poison that I know of nor clymedia I think it’s called. Nor do I have finger nail problems nor swollen digits. But who knows? So I am trying low starch diet. I have the book. I haven’t bought iodine. But I lable read. I also take plaquinil I think it’s called. I think I am getting better but the other day I had a flare up for no apparent reason. I was doing so well. I’m doing well again. My husband thinks it was some thing I ate that had starch in it a week before and it just hit me. Who knows. I’ll follow it for a year. About how long it will take me to get the diet down pack and see if I get better. I never have time to cook or by speciality ingridents to start the recipes yet. So my diet has been yogurt. Meat. Veggies. and Fruit. That’s it. I have tried to expose my doctors to Carols diet and but these american doc seem to prefer drugs only and will say no diet helps. They are just theories. I don’t believe that. I wish I had some help to ask questions but I have her book. That will have to do. I’ll keep everyone informed.

  • Duncan

    Shelly check the kickas site – there is a forum that lists the starch content of most foods. The link is http://www.kickas.org/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=0&Number=146875&an=0&page=0#146875

  • Cheryl

    I have been on this starch free diet for 6 months and the arthritis in my sacrilliac joint and hips has pretty much completely disapeered. The IBS symptons only flair up if I eat dairy. So I really need to do the no-starch, no-dairy and no- refined sugar, or the Klebsiella bacteria take off again. The problem is will-power because I’m O.K. for a little while (2-3 days) but then they build up and I notice it first with lethargy and mild depression, before my body actually starts feeling pain. The issue seems to be that I need to focus on everything I CAN EAT—rather than the stuff I can’t eat.

  • Heather

    I have never heard of spondylitis. I have been battling IBS-C for 8 years now. Someone up there said IBS is not an auto-immune disease but I disagree. I think it is. Whenever I go through a particularly bad period I get an Iritis flare up. It scares me to death that someday I might lose my eyesight. I was fine for about a year and now for the past two weeks I am back to not ‘going’ at all, very bloated, insomnia is back, and I keep getting flu like symptoms. I am afraid I will wake up one morning with the Iritis. I have no quality of life in this state as I am too sick and bloated to even leave the house. I worry I’ll lose my job. I already know I cannot eat refined sugar and dairy..don’t eat any grains either. Usually. But I crave those things for some reason and give in sometimes.
    I am going to buy this book.

  • deb

    I have just started this diet and the improvement has been amazing! i feel fantastic.. i hope i can sustain this diet..so far so good!

  • margie

    I bought Carol’s book, tried the diet and felt relief from the horrible pain that racked my bdy each night, not to mention the IBS-diarrhea. I then went to my doc who did the gene test re my request, but it came back negative, so I went back to eating wheat potato, rice etc, on the docs advice, everything in moderation. The problem was, I was so many food groups I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Now thousnads of dollars later on physiotherapists, chinese acupuncture, chiropractic, I realise I was right to follow Carol’s diet. This followed my trying the Specific Carbohydrate Diet which does not allow grains. I felt better but then the problems returned. But I knew I was on the right track. I got terrible headaches and problems with honey, which is the only source of sugar in the SCD diet. I also wasn’t doing to good on the yoghurt load. So I figured it must be fructose thats the problem. Next a fructose free diet, boy was that a mistake. My back was so bad I had to crawl out of bed and head for a hot shower to straighten up. I knew it was purely inflammation as the pain eased when I moved around. I had the breakthrough when I was cooking biscuits with almond meal and bananas to sweeten them. What a result, an hour later, pain everywhere. STARCH. I had already cut out pumpkin, potata and carrot because I knew they were linked to the pain. Suger does still cause problems, so I minimise this especially lactose and the diarrhea had gone. I think Carol’s blood should be bottled. My question is, that I tested negative to the HLA-B27 gene but do have an enormous level of antibodies in my blood. My ANA is over 1500 and increasing. What does this mean. Are they to the Klebsiella bacterium. How do I find out,or should I stop here and just accept the fact that starch is the problem?

  • james

    hi everyone, i was diagnosed with AS after testing positive with HLA-B27, but i am not sure if i really have this condition, although my back to my neck is stiff, my conditions and symptoms are far away from the testimonies of people with AS all over the internet. How can I know if this is really AS, its been 3 years since i first felt abnormality with my back and it never recovered to normal until now that i have stiffness from low back to neck area, but still i can do almost everything just except sports that include heavy running and jumping, my back is still straight.. Is this just an early stage of AS? To those who still remembers their early years of AS, Please advise me on this before i start a non starch diet.. TIA

  • MANOJ GUPTA

    For AS I cant eat wheat and rice this is the staple diet in india,, can anyone tell me alternate of these two foods ????

  • J’s Mom

    I’d like to point out that I have seen several doctors for IBS symptoms and several of them have discussed these as part of an autoimmune disorder. Ruth’s entry seems to indicate it as incorrect, but I have seen about ten docs in 20 years time and just about half of them have discussed this as autoimmune based. I was on a starch reduced diet nearly ten years ago, and I did feel more energy, lost 18 lbs without exercise, and saw reduction in pain. I did not see the digestive problems subside, so after four months returned to “regular” diet. Everything also went back to normal, aches, weight gain, low energy. Anxious to read the book, and hope others post their news as they do. Very helpful to hear from other “life researchers” living with similar issues. Good luck one and all.

  • Megan

    Can someone give the citation to the studies cited in the Validity section? I want to read the research myself.

  • Peter

    I am also on a low starch diet. Before this, i will feel tired all the time, didn’t have a good night sleep no matter how long i slept, diarrhea, bloating, gut pain. I have seen the doc for many, many times to check for stomach ulcer, followed a more veggies diet. But the key really is cutting starch. By cutting starch, i mean replace starchy carb. with non-starchy carbs. Eat fruits and veggies instead of rice, wheat, etc. I am so grateful that i found it out early.

  • Shirley

    Will IBS low starch diet help diarreha too?

  • Kelly

    This diet mskes IBS worse. A high soluble fiber vegan diet with some insoluble fiber foods helps. I’ve had severe IBS for over 10 years now.

  • jeanie

    “So what about the starch in insoluble (therefore digested) fiber foods?”

    Insoluble fiber is also NOT digested. The above article is using information about soluble fiber being good for IBS which is touted by Heather Van Vorous, advocating “soluble fiber foods” for IBS. The “safe” foods listed are mostly starchy foods and would be incompatible with the no starch diet advocated by Carol Sinclair. Most of the “safe” foods advocated by Heather have little to no fiber, soluble or otherwise. As indicated by the chart above, many of these “safe” foods have more insoluble than soluble fiber, however miniscule that may be. It’s obvious that the person writing this article has no understanding of the difference between starch, soluble fiber, and insoluble fiber. Further, it would be impossible to follow both the no starch diet and the soluble fiber diet, since, for the most part, they are mutually exclusive.

  • Ingrid

    There seems to be a major mistake in the info in the article–the author says that IBS has been linked to ankylosing spondylitis. What I understood was that it was IBD–specifically Crohn’s disease, but perhaps also ulcerative colitis–that was linked to it. IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) is not at all the same thing as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)–symptoms of IBD are rectal bleeding, ulcerative sores in the digestive tract (anywhere from mouth to anus for Crohn’s) and can be bad enough to be life-threatening. Treatment can get as extreme as surgical removal of all or part of the colon/ intestines. This theoretically works for ulcerative colitis, but only works temporarily for Crohn’s, yet people opt for it anyway.

    Quote from a site on ankylosing spondylitis (by an M.D.):

    “All people with ankylosing spondylitis have changes in their intestines that look like a disease called Crohn’s disease in which they develop bloody ulcers in their intestines and sometimes terrible cramping and diarrhea.”

    I have been diagnosed w colitis, but now have symptoms along the whole digestive tract, which indicates Crohn’s, and have just started trying the no-starch diet. I also understood that lactose (milk sugar) and other sugars were to be avoided, according to the original “Specific Carbohydrate Diet” that recommended removal of starches for treating this and other diseases. I’ve been “low-carb” for years now, but this is NO starch, not low, and I hardly know what I can eat. I read that nutmeg is starchy! Is a sprinkle of it in my eggnog too much for this no-starch diet? What about tofu? I’ve been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for a long time, would really prefer not to have to start eating meat. I used to eat tofu regularly, now hear that it contains starch–I always understood it was very low-carb. Actually just heard about it having starch after finishing a big bowl of tofu-vegetable stir-fry…

  • Graham

    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and was wondering if anybody has any information as to whether or not a starch free diet would be beneficial in relieving the pain and inflammation caused by this disease.

  • martin

    I have just recently got info about this low starch diet. This is my first day to start it! I am excited to see the future difference, but for me to lose more wieght would be tragic. I am 6.2 feet and weight only 11 stones or 154 lbs!
    is there any way to gain that just eating proper (low starch food)?
    thanks

  • fancymom

    I was diagnosed with IBS about 8 years ago and have found that a GLUTEN FREE DIET works beautifully for my gas, bloating and constipation!!

  • Juanma

    I just been diagnosed AS, and I did wait a minute to start the non-starch diet. today its the 3er day and I feel better of my back, but my knees still are inflamated. i hope that in a couple of day more i could feel completly healtly.
    I am 29 years all i an expect to continue playing football.

  • yvonne

    I have not yet started the diet but feel much better in the morning if I have fruit salad (non starchy) and almonds with a cup of white tea.If you soak almonds overnight in water they lose a great deal of their starch and they are easier to digest. Rinse it off in the morning before you eat them.

  • Chris R.

    I have had IBS for over 26 years, and started this no starch diet just over a week ago. All my symptoms are basically gone with the acception of the diarrhea. Even if that does not improve I will keep up with this diet Because I feel better then I felt when I was 20 years old. 1 small tip I was told is a few glasses of Cabernet wine helps to kick start the healing process. I noticed it got worse the night I drank the wine but it got some what better the next day.

  • john

    The cure for everyone on here–> just take anti-diarrhea medicine before meals. I have awful IBS/diarrhea and the anti-Ds allow me to function normally. Problem solved. Only trouble is your body builds up immunity to them so you’ll have to cycle the pills on and off.

  • Derek

    I eat whatever the hell I want and my IBS still comes and goes. It sometimes goes away for 3 months then suddenly for a couple weeks comes back then gone again. I say just eat what you like.

  • Frances

    I stumbled upon this after noticing that following a low-carb diet removes my minor IBS symptoms completely. I would not say I suffer severely with IBS but had got fed up with gas, and with needing the toilet about 5 times in the morning before I could leave the house. Always needing to use about several wads of toilet paper! Sorry TMI. However as soon as I put myself on a low-carb diet the symptoms cleared up completely. No gas, nice straight-forward once only BM. I went back to eating carbs after not losing weight after three weeks low carb and immediately the symptoms have returned. Therefore I am staying low carb regardless of weight. It just suits my system better.

  • Linda Lee

    I was diagnosed with Crohn’s and Spondylitic arthritis a couple of years ago. I was also diagnosed with severe destructive Ulcerative colitis, but I know believe that I have only spondylitis and microscopic Crohn’s. I am telling you all that this is the only help I have had in ten years. This diet does not just help, it cures. I was going to the bathroom 15-20 times day and getting worse and worse. My daughter found this diet book on Amazon and I am telling you it is a miracle. First let me say that if you have these conditions and go on the Celiac diet it WILL KILL you. It nearly killed me. My gastroenterologist told me to try it and all the starchy pastas and breads gave me the worst flare I have had to date. I nearly bled to death. The colors of my eyes even faded. If the Celiac diet helps you then you need a new diagnosis, because you cannot have this and consume starch! STARCH IS A KILLER! This diet gave me back my life. I had reconciled myself to dying and did not think I could go on much longer. This diet reduced my trips to bathroom to one normal one a day. My heartburn and bile stopped, my joint swelling is minimal compared to what it was. It used to take me 30-60 minutes to get out of bed in the morning, I did not even realize I wasn’t having any trouble getting out of bed until I was in the kitchen one morning and it was 30 minutes earlier than when I usually enter the kitchen!! I cried for an hour. I work in my garden now, instead of just watching my husband do it. I plant flowers and walk in the mall. I can go on trips and not have to chart my day by the number of bathrooms I have access to (and that took me a long time to get over! I was still so paranoid that it was months before the anxiety left me!) and I enjoy all my food. You will be surprised at how little you miss the starches once you are away from them, they truly have very little flavor of their own, they are simply the carriers of flavor that comes from thickened sauces and meat juices. I still miss potatoes and once in a blue moon I have a boiled one and it , so far, doesn’t seem to bother me. I am careful though to make sure the moon is blue and not blue again for many weeks! So give this a try and good luck. Stick to your guns and do your research on the computer , look up starch-free recipes and use them. There are thousands out there. Grab hold of your life and take it back from this horrible condition. I was becoming only a walking disease, not anymore! I am becoming me again. I may get a little stooped, but it will be in my old age. I may have a flare or two in the years to come, but it will not define or confine me. This woman and Dr. Ebringer handed me my life for a few dollars to cover the cost of publishing. What a gift! What a heavenly gift!

  • Natasha

    I have severe IBS constipation and find that eating mainly solble fiber foods helps only my cramps sometimes nd that’s it! I don’t know what to try next I’ve been trying everything. Pilss, fiber, probiotics, stool softeners, magnesium, exercise. Nothing will help ! I’m so scared and in so much pain.

  • Casey

    I have been on a no starch diet for 3 years now. Before that i had so many symptoms from A-Z and am thankful I don’t have to put up with the pain anymore. the trouble is i am lactose intolerant as well so this virtually leaves me nothing to eat and have lost a lot of weight as it’s hard to have this type of diet with our modern lifestyle. Is there something you can use i.e. to digest starch>?>

  • Deborah

    I have thought about this diet because I have Ankylosing Spondylitis but I am not eating meat(may have lamb once a month), dairy, allergic to eggs, beef, and chicken and on a gluten free diet right now. I drink boost or ensure and make protein drinks. I wonder what I would have left to eat if I got rid of the starch in my diet. that would only leave fruit and veggies for me because I am sure my protein drinks have starch as do meal replacement drinks.

  • Marja

    Hi everybody,

    First I’d like to remind that our bodies are all unique in their functioning, so not any precisely the same diet works for everybody. Secondly, for those who are saying there’s nothing left to eat if you can’t eat starch and dairy products I would say that there’s still lot of possibilities to eat good food. I have done that for 2 years now and know it’s possible. for breakfast I blend (with water or wheat grass juice) green veggies like spinach, kale, celery etc + sprouts and avocado. For lunch I eat salad made from buckwheat or quinoa with tofu and all sorts of veggies. For dine something like mildly steamed broccoli+tofu+garlic and soya sauce. As a snack I eat almonds, walnuts etc. I also take protein supplement and Omega 3. Of course with this kind of diet I have to say NO to many things this modern world offers to us to comfort us, but rather than thinking what I cannot eat I concentrate all the healthy food I CAN eat and how good it makes me feel!
    The reason I started to follow this kind of diet was that I simply felt so ill and fatigue all the time that I had to do something on my own and not trust the doctors who keep saying there is nothing wrong with me!!!

  • julie graham

    Hello,
    I,m Julie aged 50 and diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at aged 25years. I flare every 3-4 years getting more frequent, currently on balsalaside and colofoam since january, getting slowly better. Various side effects from medication. In between flares I have what I call I.B.S (morning urgency, bloating sometimes get the 8 months pregnant look, general malaise and still bone tired not releived by sleep)but my Consultant says this is just my colitis.I think Doctors, although well meaning, are not really interested in a cure but only in releiving your symtoms. I got to this site because in desperation searched Colitis and Starch on the net. I put this search in because about 12 years ago I,d been ill for over a year (still working full time, 2 kids and husband, loo 4-6 times daily, never feeling quite right, bone tired, joint pains, etc,tolerable but very wearing)clutching at straws and once again wondering whether it was something I was eating but never being able to conclude what it was, I had a kinetic food test done. I was completely sceptical as it was a little bit like magic and I found it all hard to beleive, but the results were that I was reacting to a list of foods as long as my arm. Without boring you with the whole list, the main culprits were the starches listed as white flour, wheat, maize, oats, cous cous, rice,(I realize that some of these are one and the same but thats how they were listed) but I was ok to eat potato but not too much as ‘I could develop an intolerance’. I got home and looked at the list and although sceptical was desperate enough to give it a try . As I thought it was impossible to cut out all the starches, i decided to cut down to only one small portion a day no more than 1 slice bread am only,I seem to be worse with starch in the evenings, and have potatoes with another meal if I wanted).I found it difficult as sticking to any diet is and cooking for a family as well but lo and behold I was better in a month.By better I mean all bowel symptoms gone,joint pains gone, In fact I felt like a different person. I was waking up in the morning(without several alarms) feeling refreshed, and had energy for the first time in years and I no longer felt that everything was an effort (dusting could seem like a massive task)and that I was dragging myself through every day, the only way I can describe it is that I had been in a fog and that suddenly it was lifted and the sun had come out. Strange I know but it felt great. People at work told me how good my skin looked and that I was glowing.

    However, my own doubts and scepticicm about this miracle took over and I began to look on my ‘recovery’ as just co-incidence, how could just removing some foods from your diet make such a difference?, and everytime I told someone especially in the medical profession of my ‘cure’ I was sure they looked at me as if I was mad and thought I was a crank so gradually I slipped back into old ways and settled back into accepting that the cycle of illness was just something that I would have to live with. Until recently when I have been sick of my life again and put that search into the computer and discovered that there are people out there that know that reducing starch does work.

    So the moral of my story (a true one)is that if it works for you, put aside all the reasons that other people are giving you about why it shouldn’t work, don’t try to work out the science behind it, its too confusing for us mere mortals, and concentrate on the fact that it makes you feel well. Ignore the fact that some people sneer, they are not the ones on the loo 10 times a day, I,m sure their view might change if it was.

    Anyway, today, after reading about Carol Sinclairs book I am begining my starch limited diet again and hope that I am going to be well again. I look forward to waking up one morning in a couple of weeks feeling raring to go and looking forward to the rest of my life.

  • Casey

    quinoa etc has starch in it doesnt it? i get cold sores as well so thats my problem. but i found you can keep the weight on if you eat regularly (and im exercising regularly too) i eat a lot of fish, meat ( i think its hard to live without meat ) , and if you are lactose intolerant too like me. dried fruit is great for those quick fixes. and keeping up your protein. i am trying hemp protein powder is my next buy and have tried cooking with coconut cream. and i eat a lot of the vegetables raw as they are starch-free when they are not cooked. ones that are safe starch free are asparagus and spinach silverbeet etc. i guess as being on this a while is theres things to play with like play with Texture like i made this thing that was similar to a keish but just using veges etc and to play with tastes like having sweet healthy things etc. and using herbs too:)

  • Ruth

    Hi, if you read Carol Sinclair’s book there are some things in it that are not nutritionally correct (understandable since she is not a nutritionist). I suffer from IBS and Ankylosing Spondylitis and my nutritionist recently referred me to a book called ‘The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan’ by Monica Reinagel who is a nutritionist. It basically takes a far more detailed look at the idea of food causing inflammation and was a real eye-opener for me. You can read my summary on my blog http://www.bonappetitreview.blogspot.com. I’ve only been trying it for 3 days so it’s too early to know if it’s working yet!

  • Prakash

    i am diagnosed for Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and suffer from Chronic pain for last 10 years. Recently i learnt that starch free diet can help reduce the pain. Can someone pls advise a starch free diet list?

  • Ruth

    I posted a comment a couple of weeks ago about
    Monica Reinagel’s Inflammation-Free Diet Plan. I am still incorporating what I learned in that (i.e. wild salmon is highly anti-inflammatory but farmed salmon is highly inflammatory) but I am also now including what I learned in another fantastic book – The Body Talks, Judy Cole.

    Cole explains in a really clear way how food is digested and used throughout the body. It strongly recommends eliminating food intolerances and following a low starch diet as the only way to heal your body (not just IBS and arthritis but also high blood sugar, headaches, psoriaris and other illnesses).

    This book advocates a similar diet to Sinclair’s but it explains all the nutritional science behind it – in a very easy way so we can all understand. From this I have been able to understand various foods (protein, fat, carb and starch) so that I can combine them correctly and healthily.