My IBS symptoms have lasted for years, eventually morphing into food intolerances, leaky gut, bacteria and candida overgrowth and fibromyalgia. Carbs have always seemed to be the enemy. The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, a restrictive elimination diet for autoimmune sufferers, helped me identify that "yes, carbs were/are my problem" because I lack many of the enzymes necessary for their digestion.
Now, I believe I have found something that actually helps reduce my symptoms. It's called the "fermentation potential" of carbohydrates. The molecular bonds in carbohydrates are quite complex and depending on how complex may cause them to be absorbed or poorly absorbed. Those malabsorbed carbohydrates are what I called food intolerances. They result in fermentation and bacterial overgrowth, and cause unpleasant symptoms.
What I am calling the "fermentation potential" diet is based on the book, Fast Tract Digestion IBS: Science-based Diet to Treat and Prevent IBS and SIBO without Drugs or Antibiotics by Norman Robillard.
The diet builds on the science behind the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), FODMAPs, Paleo and GAPS eating plans. Many of the foods, allowed on these diets, are too high in fermentation potential (FP) for individuals like me with SIBO and candida. FP is based on glycemic index, net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber), sugar alcohols, dietary fiber and types of sugars.
The book includes FP tables which list foods, serving sizes, glycemic index and FP. You select foods to eat based on a low fermentation potential. The goal is to have a total low FP for the day of beween 20 and 30. A low FP for a single meal would be 0-7.
Yes, getting the FP that low can be challenging. It requires a food scale to weigh carbs to get the correct amount to prevent going too high on total FP. I have been trying to stay between 20-25 total FP to get my symptoms under control.
Here are some examples of vegetables with low FP:
bok choy, 2.8 ounces, FP 1
zucchini, 2.8 ounces, FP 2
leafy lettuce, 2.8 ounces FP 2
celery, 2.8 ounces, FP 2
spinach, 2.8 ounces, FP 3
cauliflower, 2.8 ounces FP 3
chard, 2.8 ounces, FP 3
Many of the foods I had been relying on (e.g. winter squash, carrots, coconut flakes, coconut flour, coconut butter, kale, avocado) are too high in FP. Along with focusing on FP, I also am working on trying to elevate my stomach acid through the use of HCL-pepsin supplements, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in my water.