Why Keto/Paleo/Low-FODMAP Could Be Making You SickOct 19, 2022
Many of our burned-out clients come to us with gut issues - and many have put themselves on restricted diets to try to address their bloating, diarrhoea, reflux, etc.
There has been something that has been bothering me a lot, and I feel a very strong need to address it officially to our community.
Here are some thoughts I have about certain long-term RESTRICTIVE DIETS - i.e. keto, paleo, low FODMAP, etc.
Grains, legumes, fruit making you sick?
Almost every second day I’m reading yet another post from influencers/nutritionists/foodies/functional medicine practitioners/etc how frustrated they are over the modern grain-based diet, and how they believe that grains are making us all sick. (But it’s not just grains that are being demonised, it’s also legumes and fruit and potatoes and nightshades and carbs in general).
It’s a common script I’m reading from other “experts”: how grains and legumes are full of lectins and how hard they are to digest, and how they can cause leaky gut, and lead to inflammatory health issues such as joint pain, chronic fatigue, depression, and IBS. How fruit is “bad” because it’s full of sugar and will feed candida. How nightshades are inflammatory because they are high in alkaloids. How potatoes are going to make you fat because they play havoc with your blood sugar levels. How the old-school low-fat diets are bad, which now means low-carb diets are better.
Now, I have nothing but respect for many of these people saying these things, but I disagree with him that grains/legumes/fruit/potatoes/nightshades are making us sick. Now, let me explain why...
My thoughts about diets that restrict fibre.
First, a disclaimer:
I feel that these diets such as keto/paleo/low FODMAP have a place (in fact, I often prescribe these ways of eating in *SHORT-TERM* healing protocols, depending on the client, and the imbalances we are trying to recorrect).
After all, high-fibre & higher-glycemic foods such as grains, legumes and fruits can lead to bloating and joint pain and eczema and blood sugar imbalances and other inflammatory symptoms - even seizures!
So don’t start throwing eggs at me if you don’t share the same opinions as me. You know I’ve always been 100% authentic with you…lol ;)
Living on a restrictive diet long-term will only ever make things WORSE. It breaks my heart when we have a new client join us, who has been living on, say, a low FODMAP diet for the last 10 years of her life because every time she tries to eat lentils or watermelon she bloats up like a balloon. The truth is: the longer you stay on a restrictive diet, the more you trap yourself into a corner. Overtime, you begin to react to more and more foods, and you’re left tolerating only chicken and broccoli, or some other sad combination!
Long-term restrictive diets will starve your microbiome
Why does this happen? Because limiting fibrous foods will starve out your beneficial bacteria. (And yes, I have seen this on many MANY comprehensive microbiome lab tests in clients who have been on a restrictive diet long-term like Keto - the clients are always shocked at the state of their microbiome, even though they have been eating “healthy” for many, many years). These critters in your microbiome regulate your overall health. When you starve them off, your gut will become further dysfunctional, leading to more symptoms in other body systems. Personally, I believe that high-fibre, fermentable carbohydrates are absolutely key to optimal health!
I urge you to look at what you’re currently eating. Instead of going with the fad of the day (because your friend or a blogger told you it is ‘healthy’), consider the damage you could be doing by eating a low-carb diet. And if you’d love to eat more fibre, but your gut just can’t handle it, seek out help with someone like us who can help heal your gut , and even your neural pathways that are sending signals to “react” to the food you are eating, and guide you to moving towards a more varied diet.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to shame you. I was there once too, completely confused about what I should and shouldn’t be eating! It’s taken many years, and lots of gut and nervous system work, to find a healthy balance of foods that my body loves.
Helpful resources to dive deeper into this topic
Oh wow, I sure am on a roll today! Let’s end off by super-charging this post with value for you.
Instead of engaging in restrictive dieting, what about listening to these value-filled podcasts/webinar from some of my past Functional Medicine mentors? This will help you understand what I’m talking about, when I say that long-term restrictive diets will only band-aid your symptoms :)
- “Introducing the Microbiome: Its Function & Dysfunction in the Human Body” (webinar) by my original Functional Medicine mentor, Dr Kalish (AMAZING! This method of treating the gut has greatly influenced our own gut healing protocols).
- “Feeding the Microbiome with Dr Will Bulsiewicz” (podcast). Dr Bulsiewicz is a highly regarded gastroenterologist who used to practice the usual allopathic way of treating the gut, until he got sick and couldn’t ‘fix’ himself with scopes and medications. Great interview with one of my other Functional Medicine mentors, Dr Jacobi.
- “Meet Your Microbiome with Dr Jason Hawrelak” (podcast with Jo from Quirky Cooking). Dr Hawrelak has multiple PhD’s in the microbiome. I am certified in his microbiome courses. He is always filled with knowledge bombs!
Have a great week ahead. Stay amazing and start eating foods that your microbiome will love…Or if you can’t tolerate them yet, please feel free to get in touch! We’d absolutely love to help you start healing your wonderful gut so you can move towards nourishing your microbes - and your overall health!
Filipa Bellette is Co-Founder of Chris & Filly Functional Medicine. She is an accredited Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner. She is also a Ph.D. thought-leader, award-winning writer, and regularly published as a guest blogger & in the media. Together with her husband Chris Bellette, Filipa has worked with over 2,000+ busy, burnout clients in the last 10+ years, and specialises in producing healthy, balanced, and happy Mums & Dads...or as she calls it, a Power Parent! Filipa’s own passion for producing high-performance Power Parents came from her own personal experience of Mummy Burnout, after having babies and juggling the demands of business, family, and her failing health.
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