LCHF and common digestive issues (“IBS”)

Picture above is not of the email author

Picture above is not of the email author

Recently I received another e-mail from someone who used to have crippling nonspecific digestive issues, irritable bowel syndrome (“IBS”). Here’s what happened when she gave low-carb a try:

Her E-mail


I’m a 34-year-old woman, who has tried just about everything in the way of food, not because I’m overweight, but because I suffer from IBS.

All the doctors that I have seen, who said that I should stay away from fatty food and focus more on fiber, should immediately leave their profession. I’ve followed their recommendations and this has brought abdominal pains from hell, frequent diarrhea attacks and last, but not least, constipation that can make bathroom visits a vein-popping experience. My sick leave from work piled up big time when I followed these recommendations.

One day, by coincidence I happened to find your book as I was googling the internet. I decided to buy it and that’s the best thing I’ve ever done. The only thing that really has worked for me is LCHF. My digestion works so much better. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for helping people like me.


Jane Andersson

Congratulations on your success, Jane!

More on Similar Digestive Problems

The result is so common that it shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone. Fibre and wheat flour is poison to many IBS-sufferers and it’s not uncommon to see a dramatic improvement within one or two days when you change your diet:

Before and After a Year with LCHF

LCHF for Beginners


Of course I asked if I could publish her e-mail and name.

Share your story

Do you have a success story you want to share? Send your information, plus before and after photos, to It would also be greatly appreciated if you shared what you eat in a typical day, whether you fast etc. More information:

Share your story!


  1. Lori Miller
    GI issues were the original reason I tried a LC diet, too. (I had acid reflux.) The 20-pound weight loss and other health benefits were nice side effects.
  2. Megan
    Me too! I was diagnosed with IBS. When I got off the grains my stomach stopped complaining! Gastroenterologist didn't believe me, but I don't care what she thinks, as long as it works! She said I would go back to eating wheat b/c it is too hard to stay on a gluten free diet b/c of IBS. So I didn't go back to her!
  3. Jason K
    If fiber makes a person's issues much worse while removing it improves them, this suggests small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). For people with SIBO, combining LCHF with a low-FODMAP diet will likely be even more effective. SIBO is generally caused by a person's migrating motor complex (MMC) not functioning correctly. MMC is a series of peristaltic contractions that clean out the intestine between meals and at night. Without MMC working properly the small intestine, which normally has very little bacteria, develops an overgrowth of bacteria. These bacteria feast on the fiber and generate harmful byproducts that cause numerous symptoms.
    Reply: #35
  4. alan
    i found something interesting. on a low carb high fat nutrition, no breakfast, supplementing with salt in the morning on an empty stomach, makes me run a few times on the toilet after 10 mins. and very liquid. i thought it was coconut oil, but it is definitely the salt, specifically 1 teaspoon in a pint of water.
    anyone else?
    Replies: #9, #15
  5. Sherry
    Before the change to LCHF,
    I would eat as many whole-grain products as possible:
    bread, pastas, tortillas, & etc.. I would have embarrassing bowel
    noises and 'noxious gas emissions'.
    This is no longer my problem!
  6. Linda
    Alan, I drink sea salt in warm water on an empty stomach also. Yes, it does cleanse the colon. I'm not a big breakfast person anyway. Sometimes I switch it up and drink warm water with fresh lemon juice.
  7. ShannonCC
    I had a lot of digestive issues over the years, including daily diarrhea for (literally - I'm not exaggerating) years, extremely painful heartburn and just gas in general.

    I cut gluten and the diarrhea went away and then I cut grains in general and there went the heartburn. I can eat as many carbs as I want as long as they are not grains and I'm fine.

    I still battle with sugar unfortunately and I'm in no way saying it's good for me but for the record I can eat decent sized servings of candy and ice cream and soda and I have no digestive issues from it.

    I am not knocking LC but I think for some people (quite a lot actually) it's not being low carb that is the key, it's being grain free that clears up so many digestive problems.

  8. Pierson
    Going too low carb causes me to become constipated, so it's a double-edged sword. Regarding acid-reflux and such, I find that a tea of apple cider vinegar and honey seems to be an effective treatment
  9. Suz
    You may have just provided an answer to a problem I have been experiencing for a quite awhile. The very sudden, very liquid emptying of my colon after I eat certain things. I like to add different spices and a rub mixture to different meats that I have with my meals. I couldn't figure out what was causing it. The hot spice, the Brussels sprouts or other veg , the coconut oil? It has to be the rub! It has a variety of spices but also coarse salt. I'm going to experiment to see if the rub is the cause of my sudden trips to the loo.
  10. Mary C.
    what does LCHF stand for? Suggest u write out the words at least once in beginning of article for us that don't know.
    Reply: #31
  11. Walter F
    Low Carb High Fat...
  12. Brad
    I used to have IBS from 19 to 35 years of age. I did everything I could think of to rid this as I was not able to do the most enjoyable things in life like, go camping, fishing, hiking, ride my bicycle... Nothing... I had to be by a toilet always as I never knew when it would hit.
    I had a low grade infection one year and the doctor put me on antibiotics. Before I was finished those antibiotics I was worst than ever. I had bee to the doctor several times over this and they had no idea what it was. They thought food allergies, runner diarrhoea and lactose intolerance.
    It wasn't until my wife brought me a book she was reading. It happened to be the original Atkin's Diet book from the 70s... In there Dr Atkins talked about IBS and what to take and do to get rid of it. He subscribed Olive Leaf extract or Oil of Oregano. Oil of Oregano was suppose to be the most effected with the most side effects. At this point I did not care. Took 6 drops 3x a day for a week then 3 drops 3x a day for the next three weeks. I went through a first rough week and then it was a piece of cake. Never had an attack since and I do what. I enjoy.... Low carb and oil of oregano is the answer to a cure.
  13. NS
    Well, in my sensitive case, fatty foods, even the freshest and healthiest, like avocado, do in fact exacerbate my acid reflux symptoms to a large degree, although not nearly as much as grains. I do not eat grains of any sort and limit fat to small amounts that don't impact my symptoms. The foods that completely prevent my symptoms from arising are limited to nuts, vegetables, fruit, and animal protein and fat in limited quantities. Also, the regular addition of fermented vegetables as well as raw vegetables has been extremely beneficial.

    This may be of help to some:

  14. alan
    @linda@suz, i actually need to take salt. on a vlchf nutrition, if i forget it i get nightly cramps in my ( mostly left ) lower legs and my sleep is affected and a little headache at times. i have tried to search for the solution in the net, but now empirically i am pretty convinced that salt is the cause for me especially when eating higher amounts of fat
    Reply: #20
  15. Murray
    Alan, I discovered the same thing by accident. I had a 500 ml container of sheep's milk feta in brine water. I had been out of the country a week and had the remaining feta. There was a tablespoon or more of white solids at the bottom which I thought was cheese (it is handmade feta at a small dairy, so it did not have not the ultra consistency of factory cheese). It tasted salty, as feta does. But I very soon felt nauseous and within an hour was on the toilet. I presume the longer sitting time in the fridge resulted in precipitate that was some cheese and mostly salt. I was surprised at how quickly it had a GI effect.
  16. LisaL
    I went LCHF after reading Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. My IBS disappeared in two days and never came back. I then suffered the opposite - constipation and hard stools. Meat based broth is often recommended for this but I haven't been able to get an organic version (Australia) so haven't tried that.

    A couple of books I recommend for learning about your gut - "Fiber Menace" by Konstantin Monastyrsky (not well written but some good information) and "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride (published in the UK). I found large doses of probiotics helped me. Not at first though. I was taking them on an empty stomach as often recommended. Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride suggests taking them with a meal and that worked for me. Sometimes it's not about what you take but when you take it, that can make a difference.

  17. SEL
    As a long time sufferer of IBS, I have had 2 colonoscopies and one gastroscopy ( to check for coeliac) and nothing came up- NOTHING!!. If I stray from my usual LCHF lifestyle even for one meal it is absolute agony. I get a lot of bleeding, the runs, pain, shakes, sweating. It is terrible for several days.

    I am in a recovery phase again and will only be consuming my bulletproof coffee ( very quick to clear up the IBS) mostly and some broth and some fatty meat- even the fibre in vegetables causes a major setback to healing. I will re-introduce some vegetables once the IBS subsides again.

    I have never thought of drinking salt water as it is usually a home remedy for getting you to throw up something troubling your stomach. Salt on food and in broth seems a better way maybe?? Unless you are trying to quickly flush out everything.

    Lisa, you can make your own broth and it beats anything you can buy.

    I don't understand the fibre fanatics. It's like taking to the inside of your gut with steel wool.

    Avocados are supposedly a super food- but only for some who can tolerate it. It makes me violently ill if I consume it even in small quantities. Some people can get reflux, or the runs.

    In Australia when I was growing up there was always a big poster on the wall of the classroom of a person made up of vegetables- 'YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT" was the campaign slogan.

    I remember as a kid looking at it and thinking it was wierd. Now I think they had the slogan right and the picture wrong. Seeing as I am protein, fat, water, minerals and salt then I feel safer consuming those things. I feel better consuming them. My body doesn't have to 'deal' with these things, it just knows what to do.

  18. binhang
    Hi author, I was diagnosed with IBS. When I got off the grains my stomach stopped complaining! Gastroenterologist didn't believe me, but I don't care what she thinks, as long as it works
  19. Jacques
    Could GMO be making it even worse?

    "Genetically modified foods such as soy and corn may be responsible for a number of gluten-related maladies including intestinal disorders now plaguing 18 million Americans, according to a new report released on Tuesday."

  20. frewal
    Cramps can be magnesium deficiency as well. Eat foods with high magnesium content (eg, pumpkin seeds and nuts), and take magnesium supplements for a period. Search for information about this. A tasty way to ingest salt is to make a cup of organic broth. The body handles salt differently when eating low carbohydrate so it is important to ensure that you get adequate amounts of salt. If you have constipation so be sure to eat plenty of above-ground vegetables and do not forget to drink water. Flaxseed can help with constipation.
    Reply: #24
  21. Anon
    Well, I wouldn't have brought all this up on my own, but since everyone is telling all, I will tell also. I started the diet to lose weight and I have lost about 7 lbs in the past 2 months. I have also been having terrible flatulence for the past couple years after being on antibiotics several times, I was pounding probiotics and yogurt and having Beano with everything with no recovery, it only seemed to get worse. This was constantly very distressing, I work with lots of people and can't jump up and run to the restroom any time I needed to. I figured if one day, I had trouble walking, I could putt putt around the house under my own power. Also, Pruritus Ani, seems to run in the family. Look it up, it's awfully uncomfortable. And both of these conditions are completely gone!! Truly, it's amazing. I do have some mild IBS type symptoms and this is much better.
    Re: the tsp of salt and pint of water, well, all I can say is, I would seriously recommend starting with 1/4 tsp salt.
    Reply: #25
  22. MerryKate
    A few years back I was diagnosed with gastroenteritis and given a low-fiber diet to follow - the idea being that fiber causes a lot of activity in the intestines and keeps the inflammation going. As I looked over the recommended foods list I realized one could very easily follow a low-carb diet and have the same effect. I haven't had a problem since I went back to low-carbing. From my experience, all the emphasis on fiber is doing more harm than good. People are essentially encouraged to eat lots of fiber to remedy the results of poor nutrition, and it just makes matters worse.
  23. Zell
    I have had mixed experiences w/stomach issues, doing a lchf diet. When I first started eating this way, my Daily stomach issues went way. It was almost like magic. All that daily, (pretty much) drama of stomach pain and diarrhea vanished. Alas, this did not last forever. About a year or so in, (I've been doing lchf for at least a year or two), I started to experience some intermittent diarrhea, and also, ongoing constipation. So, while things have Definitely been better, once I got off all the sugar, the hflc diet has not been a complete panacea for me. Adding in some complex grains and fruit seems to have helped, though. Maybe I will always have stomach issues, though. Just not as bad as they used to be, when I ate a ton of sugar all the time.
  24. alan
    i take magnesium regularly 400 mg. eat lots of salad and veggie. nuts and bone broth when i can.
    i really feel that when i miss supplementing with sodium my cramps appear.
    and yes, on a low cho the kidney retain potassium and let go sodium
  25. alan
    i do not fart anymore. i mean , if i do stay on a low carbs end, otherwise the few times i went out of the box eating sugary, then like a tornado..
    you make me think that when i used to eat lots of biscuits and nutella and large amounts of fruit i was really gas.and it is not the fiber
  26. RandomOrchid

    Is there a difference between insoluble and soluble fibre? I mean what about psyllium husk for example which is soluble? Has anyone had any experiences with this? I'm on the bloating/constipated end of the IBS spectrum, and it's not easy for me to go to the toilet. It doesn't help that stress really effects me in that area. I have just started on LCHF, so if anyone's got any tips that would be helpful.

  27. Katherine
    Is there a post here of samples of a low carb high fat diet? Is it possible to get sample menus or the like. Thank you...
    Reply: #28
  28. Lora
    Unfortunately I was in perfect health before I went on a low carb diet about 15 years ago. My health has gone downhill since then, I'm not sure if that was the cause or not. I had major constipation and pain on a low carb diet. So I eventually went off that to a "normal" diet, a slightly healthier version of a SAD diet. Things were okay but not great after that. Fast forward to 5 years ago, things had gotten much worse over the years. Not so much constipation anymore but a lot of diarrhea with blood, pains, etc. So I switched to a completely vegan diet. Now all the really bad symptoms are gone, but I still have abdominal cramping with some IBS like symptoms. It seems like I just can't win, no matter what I eat or don't eat!
    Reply: #30
  29. erdoke
    Just get rid of any added sugar, all sources of vegetable oils and most grains. Avoid processed foods to the greatest extent you are able or can afford. Include vegetables, fruits and fermented foods as you feel the best. Within those boundaries you still have enough freedom to experiment and to try to listen to your body. That's all.
    As far as constipation is concerned, I always have issues with "healthy whole grains" and red wine. No problems with vegetables and white or rosé wine.
  30. Moose
    Read the site.
  31. Margaret
    I've had IBS all of my life. A long time ago I did a hardcore detox of lemon water for 3 days and a vegetable broth for one week. It was a miracle. Then I fell into usual gas problems, but never had such severe issues with digesting food and insomnia as I did before the detox.
    Ten years later, my stomach cramps and swelling (pregnant with triplets looking) had gotten so bad that I eliminated almost everything and went on a Ketosis diet. That was another amazing miracle though a lot harder to sustain for months. Fortunately I didn't have issues with whey or cheese to help maintain my protein and fat ratios. I did eat a ton of salad and cooked leafy greens to maintain healthy nutrients. After months of that I lost weight and never farted, never bloated, and never cramped.
    Now I'm playing with my diet because keto is so restrictive on carbs. There isn't much info out there on eating a moderate protein with low carbs and what the extra fat will do that I need to make up for calories. I can't seem to much animal protein other than fish, eggs, and whey which is kinda suspect. Chicken gives me diarrhea and beef makes my legs swell. I'll just give up pork as well and be happy that I'm reducing my impact on the environment.
    Giving up gluten and grains are a definite. Grains, especially oats (even gluten free ones), give me crazy indigestion pangs. I have to stay off fruit since that can really cramp my stomach. Apples are poisonous to me and will have my stomach stabbing itself.
    You really need to find the foods that set off your stomach. Doing ketosis diet is pretty much doing an elimination diet, but you absolutely cannot waiver on the carbs or you put yourself at serious health risks. I personally found that I cannot handle: apples, dried fruit, much fruit, swiss chard, raw kale and spinach (I have to boil both and drain the water), unprocessed garlic, raw red onion, grains, oats, corn, yoghurt, milk, and quite a few more things.
    Keep in mind that no matter what diet you are on, you need to eat enough protein for your activity level and to heal your gut, and enough fat to maintain your hormones.
  32. Margaret
    Oh yeah, I can't do caffeine even from tea, decaf and chocolate. My stomach will start banging a few hours later. I also had to give up beer and cocktails, other than vodka on the rocks. So yep, life through food feels like it's over. Which brings up a good point that when giving up a lot of food fun you need to create other good habits and find ways such as working out, reading books, poetry nights, rock climbing, whatever to fill the void of these things. I now work or read on a Saturday night as I can't eat the food or drink to be merry.
    Reply: #34
  33. San
    Caffeine and chocolate are absolutely terrible for my IBS! Within a few hours the bloating, cramping, sweating and weak feeling start. It's like an allergy. I get really itchy all over my body too and start sneezing. It's a bummer because if I'm really tired I can't use any stimulants to perk me up
  34. Mike
    Any chance the DietDoctor team can come up with some low FODMAP, LCHF recipes?
  35. Ryan
    Thought I would chime in with a question...

    I have been suffering with bowel issues ever since I was a kid, but I was able to manage with a few painful bouts of diarrhea a week , otherwise it was normal. My diet growing up was not the best (fast food, soda, pizza, etc..) top that with a few surgeries (i.e. Antibiotics) and drinking formula instead of breastfed. Started to get into body building in HS, this helped me "clean" up my diet. But I was literally forcing food down my throat in pursuit of gains! Bowel movements where amazing in the morning, yet I had horrible gas all day... To combat this I tried my first probiotic supplement which spiraled me down a life altering path of IBS-C. I have tried everything... Paleo, keto, GF/DF, rotational diets, elimination diets, high carb/low fiber, high fiber, SIBO treatment (Botanicals mainly comprised of Berberine, oil of oregano, allicin) probiotics, magnesium, Iberogast-motility agent, probiotics, fiber sups, prebotics, fasting, low protein, vegan, there is probably more but you get the picture. Most of these protocols have been at least 1-2 month trials, some longer (gluten free/dairy free multiple bouts of 3-6 months at a time). Still have issues. I am active and love to exercise and play sports but I cannot seem to handle a lot of volume due to the GI restrictions. Being 26, I know that something has to give... this condition is the bane of my existence and has become an obsession of mine (probably not healthy as I am sure I am causing stressing myself out over the issue). I am at a point now where I am living with little restrictions and honestly, the results are about the same. Would love to hear some tips/tricks that have worked for anybody out there. I am over playing the "buy these supplements" game as I have spent thousands of $ on things that did not work but I am open to suggestions. Much love :)

  36. Donald
    One of the confusing things about reading comments is discerning who the representative is for Diet Doctor. I don't know the staff by name so just putting your name on the reply does not help much. The graphics are confusing. Why can't you put Diet Doctor reply (name) and then write your response. Or put your logo in front of the name. Something to set your reply off as easily identifying you as a part of Diet Doctor.
  37. Donald
    I have been on LCHF for one month and now after a light breakfast of 2 eggs and a small sausage, I am having indigestion. I typed in indigestion in the search and nothing came up. So I guess I am the only person out of the hundreds of thousands of followers that have indigestion. It must be rare but I still have it. Can you help?

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