Soluble Fiber | The IBS Diet Foundation & Safe Foods | Go!

I grew up knowing one thing about my IBS attacks.

I knew that if my family went to dinner at a restaurant I had to fill up on the sourdough bread basket and avoid the raw green salad.

Eating those rolls first somehow helped me. But eating that salad on an empty stomach would kill me.

What I didn't know for years was WHY.

So I will always remember the day I learned there are two kinds of fiber. Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Suddenly I had the logical explanation for what I'd learned the hard way, through years of painful experience.

I had already figured out WHAT my safe foods were - rice, noodles, peeled potatoes, sourdough bread. But I had never understood WHY.

Now I had the answer.

I'd heard of fiber. You've heard of fiber. You're probably pretty sure you know what it is. I thought I did.

You've probably had fiber recommended to you for IBS. I sure did.

Here's the catch.

Soluble fiber is special.

Soluble fiber is NOT typically found in foods people think of as fiber, like bran or raw leafy greens. If you have attacks like I do when you eat a green salad (or popcorn, or sunflower seeds) on an empty stomach, that's insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber is actually found in foods most folks think of as starches. Not just my beloved rice and noodles, but also bananas, oatmeal, yams, and lots more.

However, soluble fiber differs from starch as the chemical bonds that join its individual sugar units cannot be digested by enzymes in the human GI tract. Hang in here with me. This just means that soluble fiber has no calories because it passes through the body intact.

What you really need to know about soluble fiber is that it is the single best type of food for preventing IBS symptoms.

Soluble fiber is the dietary foundation of eating for IBS. Soluble fiber foods are your IBS safe foods. Now let's get to why.

Soluble Fiber = Motility Stability

Why is soluble fiber so special?

Because it soothes and regulates your digestive tract, which is all smooth muscle.

Soluble fiber stabilizes the gut muscle contractions resulting from your gastrocolic reflex. These contractions, and that reflex, are dysfunctional if you have IBS.

Soluble fiber gets those contractions back into a stable, rhythmic pattern. So soluble fiber normalizes bowel function from either extreme.

This means that soluble fiber prevents and relieves BOTH diarrhea AND constipation. PLUS pain, spasms, cramps.

Nothing else in the world will do this but soluble fiber.

How is this possible?

The "soluble" in soluble fiber means that it dissolves in water, though it is not digested.

This lets it absorb excess liquid in the colon, preventing diarrhea.

Did you know...

The colon is at the end of the digestive process. It's job is to extract water from fecal matter. If your transit time is too fast, your colon can't do the job properly. Now you have terrible diarrhea.

There's a double whammy.

Too much water in your colon, plus the violent contractions of IBS, can create so much pressure you have sudden unpredictable urgency and explosive bowel movements.

Soluble fiber regulates this entire process so that there is no excess water, and no diarrhea. Soluble fiber is suspended in water and fecal matter in the colon to form a gel, which adds a great deal of bulk.

This gel - as opposed to a watery liquid - also keeps the muscles stretched gently around a full colon. That gives those muscles something to easily grasp during gut contractions. This prevents the rapid transit time, urgency, and explosive bowel movements of diarrhea as well.

There's more.

A soluble fiber gel-filled colon - as opposed to a colon tightly clenched around dry, hard, impacted stools - provides grip during the gut muscle waves of constipation sufferers.

This makes for an easier, faster transit time. The passage of this thick wet gel also relieves constipation by softening and pushing through impacted fecal matter.

Picture your colon as a tube that is squeezing through matter via regular waves of contractions. This makes it easy to see how a colon filled with soluble fiber helps both diarrhea and constipation.

The glorious bonus? Regulating the dysfunctional contractions of your colon with slowly fermenting prebiotic soluble fiber - whether your motility is too fast or too slow - prevents the violent spasms that cause crippling IBS pain and trapped gas.

This is why you don't want to eat anything on an empty stomach but soluble fiber. Ever.

This is why those parker house rolls saved me. And why skipping the rolls for that green salad meant my dinner would end abruptly, agonizingly, in the restaurant ladies room.

If you have IBS, the only foods you want to trigger your gastrocolic reflex are soluble fiber. This is the way to keep your gut motility, and your life, stable.

So make soluble fiber foods the foundation of your meals. And try to routinely snack on small quantities of soluble fiber foods all day long, every single day.

Keep your gut filled with soluble fiber 24/7 and you can prevent all IBS symptoms.

There's still more.

Soluble Fiber - Only Slowly Fermenting Prebiotics!

Soluble fibers - like all fibers - are only found in plants. There are multiple types of soluble fibers, including gums, pectins, and beta-glucans.

Many of these soluble fibers are slowly fermenting prebiotics.

This means they create an environment in the gut of short chain fatty acids. For example, acetate, propionate and butyrate are all short chain fatty acids.

These short chain fatty acids stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Then the good guy bacteria keep the bad guys in check.

This is the prebiotic effect.

Another bonus? Oh yes! The prebiotic effect of slowly fermenting soluble fibers can actively reduce bloating and gas. As you personally know, those are often the most difficult IBS symptoms to get under control.

There is also massive and growing research that the gut microbiome - the microorganisms, including bacteria, that live in your digestive tract - is critical for both brain and gut health. Very interestingly, IBS is defined as a brain-gut disorder. Links between IBS and altered gut bacteria have already been identified.

The really good news here is that slowly fermenting soluble fiber creates a healthy gut microbiome.

So the more you eat your prebiotic soluble fibers, the greater the environment of good bacteria in your gut.

But wait! You have to avoid the rapidly fermenting soluble fibers. Why? Because rapidly fermenting prebiotics cause terrible bloating and gas.

Only slowly fermenting prebiotics help IBS.

It really is crucial that you focus on slowly fermenting prebiotic soluble fiber foods.

And it can be even more helpful to add a slowly fermenting prebiotic soluble fiber supplement as well. That will give you greater bowel stability.

And with IBS, the more you stabilize your gut, the better!

Take immediate control of your IBS symptoms with Heather's IBS diet kit...

Keep reading for your comprehensive list of IBS soluble fiber safe foods...

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