Got digestive problems? Take it easy on the veggies.

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A couple weeks ago I wrote an article called FODMAPS: Could Common Foods Be Harming Your Digestive Health? I described how certain classes of foods, known as FODMAPs, are poorly digested in certain people and can lead to gas, bloating, pain and changes in stool frequency and consistency. Studies have shown that conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are associated with FODMAP intolerance, and that a low-FODMAP diet offers relief in a substantial percentage of people with IBS.

Today I’ve got another tip for those of you with digestive issues, including IBS, constipation, diarrhea and acid reflux: eat fewer vegetables.

Yep, that’s right. Fewer vegetables.

How following mainstream advice to eat 6-8 servings of vegetables a day could hurt your gut

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Vegetables (as well as some fruits) are often high in insoluble fiber. While soluble fiber can be soothing for the gut, consuming large amounts of insoluble fiber when your gut is inflamed is a little bit like rubbing a wire brush against an open wound. Ouch.

Vegetables that are high in insoluble fiber include:

  • Greens (spinach, lettuce, kale, mesclun, collards, arugula, watercress, etc.)
  • Whole peas, snow peas, snap peas, pea pods
  • Green beans
  • Kernel corn
  • Bell peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Celery
  • Onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, garlic
  • Cabbage, bok choy, Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
The vegetables that are high in soluble fiber, but lower in insoluble fiber (and thus tend to be safer for those with gut issues) include:
  • Carrots
  • Winter squash
  • Summer squash (especially peeled)
  • Starchy tubers (yams, sweet potatoes, potatoes)
  • Turnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Parsnips
  • Beets
  • Plantains
  • Taro
  • Yuca
Another helpful tip is to reduce the variety of vegetables you eat at any given meal. Instead of stir-fries with 6 different veggies, have a single steamed or roasted vegetable as a side dish. This works better for most people with gut issues.

But won’t I become deficient in nutrients if I don’t eat tons of veggies?

First of all, I’m not suggesting that you don’t eat these foods at all if you have digestive problems. I’m simply suggesting that you limit them. There are also steps you can take to make these foods more digestible and less likely to cause problems. They include:

  1. Never eat insoluble fiber foods on an empty stomach. Always eat them with other foods that contain soluble fiber.
  2. Remove the stems and peels (i.e. from broccoli, cauliflower and winter greens) from veggies (and fruits) high in insoluble fiber.
  3. Dice, mash, chop, grate or blend high-insoluble fiber foods to make them easier to break down.
  4. Insoluble fiber foods are best eaten well-cooked: steamed thoroughly, boiled in soup, braised, etc; avoid consuming them in stir-fries and if you do eat them raw, prepare them as described in #3 above.

Second, although fruits & veggies are high in certain nutrients, animal products like meat, organ meat, fish, eggs and dairy are as high and sometimes higher in those nutrients. For example, the chart below compares the micronutrient profile of beef liver and beef with blueberries and kale, two plant-foods often referred to as being particularly nutrient-dense:

chart comparing nutrient content of liver, beef, kale & blueberries

It’s also worth pointing out that most traditional cultures only ate a few vegetables and fruits that were available seasonally. They couldn’t walk into Whole Foods and buy every vegetable on the planet at every time of year.

I have nothing against vegetables. In fact, I like them quite a bit and I do think they’re beneficial. But the advice to eat 6-8 servings a day is not based on solid scientific evidence, and may cause unnecessary distress in people with gut problems.

Fermented vegetables: a better alternative?

Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kim chi, sauerruben and cortido are excellent alternatives for people with gut issues. First, the fermentation process “pre-digests” the vegetables and makes them easier to absorb. Second, fermented veggies contain probiotic microorganisms that help heal the gut.

Although sauerkraut and kim chi contain cabbage, which is high in insoluble fiber (and a FODMAP to boot), I’ve found that many patients with gut problems can tolerate it quite well. FODMAPs are sugars and sugar alcohols, and fermentation breaks down sugars. This is probably why fermented FODMAPs are better tolerated than non-fermented FODMAPs.

If you’re new to fermented vegetables, you have two options:

  1. Make them yourself. Check out this page for a great primer. It’s really quite easy, and cheap.
  2. You can buy them at a health food store. Make sure that it says “raw” on the jar, and they’re in the refrigerated section. The sauerkraut you can buy in the condiments section has been pasteurized and won’t have the same beneficial effect.

Now I’d like to hear from you: have you tried reducing your intake of vegetables high in insoluble fiber? Did that help your digestion? Let us know in the comments.

P.S. Next week I’ll be presenting at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Boston, and thus may not be able to post an article to the blog. I look forward to meeting those of you that will be there.

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Digestion

Comments Join the Conversation

    • Chris Kresser says

      Some people are sensitive to fat rather than fiber, and dietary changes are only one possible intervention with gut issues.

      • Caiti says

        I also have problems with 24 7 bloating / distention and cannot figure out what the issue is. + loose stools. ive tried all kinds of things and am still experimenting and experimenting…

        • Taieb says

          Hello Caiti
          I am sorry to hear that, because i had the same problem for a year and It was very frustrated. Indeed, after spending tone of money on supplement and protocols, nothing has worked for me, even with following the perfect diet I was still feeling bloated and tired and even lost 10kg in 8 month.
          Recently, thanks to God ‘I cam across a very good diet (paleo Diet) which after only tow days i felt
          like have again 90% of my health back and I was seeing improvement day after day and almost all my allergies start to call down. do some recherche en this diet to have more details. Good luck

          • Robert says

            I had my GI doc test for celiac disease. He was hesitate and told me “this celiac disease is now the latest fad ‘illness’” There is no PROOF that it exists.

            • Gayle Saunders says

              Cannot believe some people in the medical field. Believe me Celiac is a real disease……and anything but a “fad disease”. There is proof that it exists. I was diagnosed last yr. @ 60 yrs. old. I had to go to several Dr.s before finding my problem. I have found the ones that are ignorant of the Disease …are not educated and don’t believe any diseases exist beyond what they were taught in Med. School. When one has this closed mind set I would run as quickly as I could from that Dr. If I had not been correctly diagnosed I think I would have died quickly. Gluten Free has made a believer out of me. My family saw how ill I was and going GF has sure been my answer. It has taken close to a year for me to see the improved results. It did not happen quickly for me because of the inflammation in my upper intestine. I know I will have to be GF for the rest of my life. I would not wish this disease on anyone………but I would like to see some of these “fake Drs.” have it. They need educated on some of the auto immune diseases that do exist. Just because there is MD. in their title it does not mean they are always a good, smart and qualified one. I would recommend you see a different GI Dr.

              • Medinah Kazeem says

                You do not havr to be GF for life. U can cure ur celiac. Have u heard of the GAPS diet? My severe gluten and dairy eczema sensitivities/allergies have gone in 3 months. I’m still on the diet and there are so many testimonies out there on how it cures many gut problems from celiac to crohns to IBS to alzheimers to autism to constipation and the list goes on..

          • Anna says

            You need to be careful with these. I took a lot of probiotics and enzymes. I ended up with a large build up of d-Lactate and SIBO to boot.

            • Matt says

              Curious Anna, I understand SIBO can be tested for, but how did you determine D-Lactate was part of the problem? What sort of symptoms or testing revealed that? Thanks

        • Lars says

          I have had gutissues my whole life basicly, bloating, loose stools.. Couple months ago i started intermittent fasting, and my stools are finaly normal, (and only once a day) bloating is pretty much there though

      • Sean says

        Indeed! I’ve been eating 6lb butter / month (kerry gold, unsalted) for the past 6 months, and suffered increasing bloating throughout this experiment… Stopped butter, added more coconut oil… Bloating cut in half within a few days; but still not back to normal after 3 weeks :( … I’ll try clarifying butter, once I rid myself of distension.

        • Beth says

          I have the 24/7 abdominal bloating and distension as well. I recently realized that I have candida. Eating a low carb/no sugar/no yeast diet helps some, but I’ve done some research and will be trying a few other things soon (adding in xylitol and doing a colon/parasite cleanse). For those that are experiencing the bloating and distension, you may want to research the symptoms of candida overgrowth and see if they apply to you.
          Sean, you may want to try cutting down on the coconut oil and see if you get some more relief. As much as I love coconut oil, I have a feeling that it contributes to my bloating somewhat.

          • Betsy says

            I had that 24/7 distention too… for 6 years. I got rid of it this summer by fasting for a week on only water and green tea. It was extreme, but it worked. Now I just watch my fiber intake, eat according to the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, and keep it pretty low carb (avoiding most fruits). Hope this helps someone.

        • DianaVP says

          Not all butters are the same, I discovered. I was eating and enjoying KerryGold, but that butter does not sit well with me. Try switching your butter, or using clarified butter (ghee). See if that helps. But as Chris pointed out earlier, some people have issues digesting fats, so butter could be problematic for you.

          • DJ says

            I use Earth Balance – soy free, dairy free, gluten free. It is excellent and the only kind I use now.

        • Bob says

          Coconut oil is not a healthy oil! Unlike other oils (olive, walnut etc.) Coconut oil is SOLID at room temperature which means think what that can be doing to your arteries. Just my thought.

          • Malaena says

            It is a healthy oil, your blood should be 98 degrees at the least, which means no solidifying oils. Not even saturated fats from meat solidify in your body unless you are suffering from hypothermia. Also, your digestive system breaks oils and fatty lipids down into simple forms that do not cause build-up on arteries. And fun fact, animal fats do not cause all those horrible problems that anti-meat activists try and foist off to people who do not have any awareness in nutrition and physiology. Olive oil is more beneficial, however, so cook with that. :)

            • Anna says

              I’ve heard from a ton of sources that “cooking” with olive oil is not the best idea because of its low smoke point. Saturated fats are supposed to be the best for cooking.

          • MatthewGrace says

            I second Anna’s thought on cooking. @Bob: Coconut oil, though solid at room temperature, will become liquid from heat if even held in hand, let alone from the warmth of guts. Furthermore, I doubt this means anything about what it does in arteries.

      • jake3_14 says

        My aunt Sue said that I’d catch a cold if I didn’t bundle up before going out in cold weather, but that doesn’t make it true. I give about the same credence to doctors’ commentary on diet, due to their miniscule training on the subject.

        • Caty says

          So basically you don’t trust a doctor because you don’t trust yout aunt. :) OK…A doctor’s “training” on diet is better than yours anyway

          • jake3_14 says

            My aunt Sue has about the same training in nutrition as most MDs, so her and the doctor’s opinion about the effects of diet are about equal in importance. I’ve had much more training and self-education than most MDs about nutrition, so my opinion about the effects of nutrition is far more trustworthy.

            • Caty says

              That is your opinion. My opinion is that google and internet searches does not count as “training” in nutrition. Or reading some diet book… You are entitled to believe whatever you like.

              I have an example for you: I saw some guy I know posting in another forum. The thread was about nutrition for the athletes. He basically recommended the Paleo diet. And he stated that he is an athlete on Paleo for 2 years now. Well, in reality this guy only goes to gym from time to time, smokes 2 packs of cigarettes per day and he drinks a bottle of wine everyday. (I don’t need to tell you that he is not an athlete.) Some little details he forgot to mention :)

              • Marina says

                Unfortunately, training in nutrition does not always provide all needed info either.
                Doctors are not trained in nutrition at all, actually. Unless they have its own interest in it and very few will “prescribe” a diet. All we hear you can eat what you want…
                And whose with a degree in nutrition are often leaning towards (s)he beleives: so you have to find a nutritionist who is “right” for you…That is the problem.

                • Caty says

                  @Marina: Now that you mention it, I remember when I was sick (emergency sick) that the doctor from the emergency room prescribed me a diet. It was 3 meal/day. Unfortunately, I don’t remember more.

                  On the other hand, I believe that in order to lose weight you have to cut the carbs and also the sugar and grains. I know is true, but come on, this is not some big news.

                • Ray says

                  Caty- Sorry but cutting carbs might actually NOT work for weight loss. For the obese most definitely. For people that are fit and work out frequently I would disagree. Actually if you’re lifting heavy weights frequently low carb might be a really bad idea for your health.

              • Alicia says

                And attending some classes and reading some studies does not make an expert either. Why is your opinion right and the last person not? This is not a forum for disagreeing with what others say, this is for Chris to see what people have done and what has worked or not worked. Best regards!

          • Sara says

            It’s true, doctors are not required to learn anything about nutrition during their studies; if you need help with your diet you should probably ask a nutrition professional, a registered dietitian

            • Alicia says

              Which they all have their own opinions and may or may not work for you, so keep looking and trying until you are satisfied with your health outcome.

          • Berny says

            I have worked for doctors for years and my father is a doctor. I have witnessed many of them consume what I would consider terrible diets- lots of microwave meals, soda, “junk food” etc. No, I do not think doctors are very versed in nutrition… especially since a lot of the information coming out now was not even available during their training…

        • Ra says

          Ya ur right Jake, paleo diet works for me. I think what IBS does is flip a switch in ur gut to make it revert back to the paleo age, weird as it sounds. When I cut out agricultural produce, i can keep my IBS under control. Chewing on mint leaves also helps. Most doctors are clueless when it comes to chronic disorders, which is why these are called chronic or recurring ;-)

          • DAniel says

            I agree. Doctors are pretty clueless when it comes to chronic conditions. Otherwise they wouldn’t be chronic. I’ve started paleo this week and already seeing positive benefits. Will keep going and note any improvements.

            • Robert says

              If you have a specific illness you go to a specialist. If you are having tummy issues go to a GI Doctor.

              • Lisa says

                GI doctors have no training in nutrition either. They just do a scope and prescribe meds< which don't work, but that's about it. I self-diagnosed my problems and reversed them, all from reading this website, Mark's Daily Apple, and Perfect Health Diet. Feel better than I have in 25 years!

      • Beth says

        That’s very interesting. I got an anal prolapse after doing low carb Paleo too! :(

        When I was on Paleo, my bowel movements were very slow and I was sometimes constipated. The straining and slower bowel movements are what led to it.

        After I started eating more starchy carbs, it has helped things somewhat, although it’s still a problem. I wish I had never gone so low carb or tried any special diets like Paleo. I probably would have done just fine eating gluten free and keeping it at that.

        • Allison says

          Wow, thanks Beth! Please tell me what your eating that has helped you have quicker bathroom breaks? I’m talking to my doctor about surgery but it still takes me forever to go and I’m not low carb nor do I ever have dairy. I just need to find some key foods that will make the difference and if they should be raw or cooked for best results? Please share what’s working for you…

          • Mary Ann says

            After years of having trouble going to the bathroom with added pain I was tested positive for Celiac Disease on 10/2012. Going gluten free and taking a probiotic daily has totally changed my problems in this department. About ten minutes after waking up I am regular without the pain. What a blessed relief!!!

            • HazelK says

              Without testing but working with an experienced and sympathetic holistic doc, I’m much better off gluten foods and starches, eating a higher level natural fat (would never believed that could help until it did). Had diverticulosis for 40 years but haven’t had infection for four years while off gluten and starches. Inflammation low-to zero, 50-fat pounds slimmer, have energy and motivation because I feel so much healthier. I’ve been very strict with myself–no chips, no desserts–very little wine–no beer–5 gram portions of green leaves as veggies (usually cooked)… majority of food is meat/poultry/fish/eggs/cheese with their natural fats. Many days I have one meal per day, and 2 whey-protein shakes (with water and heavy cream). For whey-protein I prefer Twinlab 100% Whey Fuel Nutritional Shake, 25 grams protein per scoop. 1 scoop is 1 serving.
              Prefer Vanilla Rush. I’m a buyer not a seller.

          • Lorraine says

            Hi Alison, Hopefully you have gotten some help before now but just in case you are still struggling I will share what has helped me have “quicker bathroom breaks”. I give myself at least 2 hours before leaving the house in the morning. I drink a full glass of water upon rising and do a little yoga before cooking breakfast. I find standing over the stove cooking helps to stimulate my gut. I cook all my food in 1-2 T of fat (coconut oil, bacon fat, lard, chicken fat or ghee). I eat 3 times as much vegetables as protein food – this has been really key for me as has eating enough fat. Also check out Sean Croxtons you tube video Poopin 2.0! Good luck and Happy Pooping

        • DianaVP says

          Paleo is not one size fits all. Each person needs to learn how to read his/her own body. What fuels it and what fails it. Eliminating bad seed oils, processed foods and grains, does not make a person ill. That’s the basis of paleo. Get rid of the junk food. Then learn what nourishes your own body. Doctors are not going to know. Take ownership of your own health.

      • Guy says

        You don’t get a prolapsed rectum because of your diet. It amazes me that people post something as fact when they repeat something “they heard.” I also like how people become self proclaimed medical experts because they read something on web md or got their graduate degree on wikihow.

    • says

      I did paleo for a long time and couldn’t figure out why I had 24/7 distension, but I figured it out: meats, cheeses, fats, nuts and the other non carb staples of the diet are high density. It is taxing on the system to break all that mass down. What’s not digesting is rotting, a disgusting thought, but there you go. #Iwasthebloatmonster.
      Cath

    • says

      Try cutting out onions in all it’s forms (spanish onion, brown onion, shallots, leak and the dreaded “onion powder”) If I a package lists “spices” this is an indication that the product includes onion powder – which is the Number 1 problem for people with Fructose malabsorption – a common reason for digestive issues. Also stay off the wheat, that also has a big impact.

      • says

        You are so right Joey. Onion in all its forms turned out to be a huge problem for me, and the fact that it is ‘hidden’ under the ingredient called ‘spices’ is so annoying. It isn’t a spice, after all!

    • nancy says

      please consider having the non-invasive blood test for CA-125 to aid in early detection of ovarian cancer, just in case, as nothing else has eased your bloating. if that is negative, consider going to a gastro-enterologist to rule out chronic diseases, or to treat them while still in the early stages.

    • Medinah Kazeem says

      Try the GAPS diet by Dr Natasha Campbride!! Would work God willing. It cures so many diseases!!

  1. jamie says

    Yes I totally have done this. I no longer eat even steamed chinese takeout because the vegetables are still too hard.I love vegetables but not raw unless its a bit of mixed greens and herbs. When I caught the stomach virus even yuca was too much fiber for me to handle. I think vegetables are overrated, and have found if I need more green things I just juice my cucumbers and drink them or have liquid chlorophyll or spirulina in a smoothie. People who have gut issues should def. Not be forcing themselves to consume vegetables…

  2. Emm says

    THANK YOU Chris…. I’ve been feeling guilty about eating all meat, eggs, and fats lately and no fruits or veggies due to gut issues. Now I know I can take my time reintroducing them and not feel like I’m gonna drop dead!

  3. Elizabeth says

    I read in another FODMAPS source that coffee has a surprising amount of insoluble fiber. At the time I learned this, I had reduced “typical” FODMAPS with no real change in my digestive discomfort. Stopping coffee, however, produced a next-day and on-going HUGE improvement. This makes me very sad, since I love(d) my coffee (like I used to love my wheat!), but having a happy tummy is worth it!

    • Renee says

      Have you tried Teechino coffee replacement? Not sure though if your gut would still be happy as it does contain chicory, but maybe worth a try if you really miss coffee.

      • Kathryn says

        I tried to come off coffee several times…love my coffee so hard to give up. The alternatives with chicory really tore my system up.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Coffee has a lot of fiber – if you eat it. I can’t see how filtered coffee would have a significant amount of fiber. However, coffee has several other compounds (like tannins) that can irritate the gut.

      • Laura says

        I tried cutting out coffee a few months ago. I did it mainly as an attempt to cut out dairy, because I love the taste and texture of cream in my coffee. However, my gut was very unhappy – it locked up solid for the entire week! I did not get headaches, but it seems that I am rather dependent on the coffee anyway. I have recently turned up a local source of grass fed dairy, however, and I use the cream in my coffee – I swear I can taste the grass.

      • Janis says

        Hi Chris,
        Thank you for the great information. Great timing too as we had fresh green beans from the garden in a Thai style stirfry last night and I had the classic symptoms! Wondered what it was…….as far as the tannins in the coffee, I guess this goes for certain wines as well?? Please say it isn’t so!!

      • says

        Thanks for pointing this out! Coffee really messes with my gut. It helps with constipation but for me it’s impossible to have a ms. Ideal when drinking coffee! It’s why I’m now only drinking tea. :)

    • Janis says

      Thanks Elizabeth for your comment. I too was wondering about the coffee since I’ve been having a little bit of well, you know, discomfort. I think I’ll go back to drinking green tea in the morning. It’ll make me very sad as well!

    • loma says

      Coffee also contains proteins which cross-react for gluten, so if you are gluten-sensitive coffee will set off those typical symptoms :-(

      • Kt says

        I was hoping to replace coffee with dandelion tea too but apparently not good if have fructose malabsorption :( running out of alternative options!!

  4. Stephanie says

    Yes, I have been doing this for awhile now. I don’t eat many veggies, finding I don’t have much appetite for them (because they aggravate my gut), but when I do they are well cooked. I still enjoy fruits but I try to limit them to in season berries and melons. Veggies that I ferment myself have been really beneficial for me.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Vegetables don’t have vitamin A. They have beta-carotene. Sites like Nutrition Data make the mistake of saying they’re the same thing. They’re not. Beta-carotene is the precursor to the active form of vitamin A (retinol). Only a small amount of beta-carotene gets converted into retinol in most people.

      • Marina says

        That is why it is a good idea to take those with animal fat: normally carrots will be eaten with sour cream in old world…or with onion cooked in chicken or duck fat…

  5. says

    Ever since I switched to a Paleo/traditional diet, I’ve eaten fewer vegetables and can really tell which ones don’t agree with me. There are many on the first list that I can’t tolerate. Choosing seasonal veggies is good advice: besides the fact that it’s healthier and more eco-friendly, the things that you’re sensitive to become apparent.

  6. says

    Chris:

    This is an awesome post. Thank you. So useful.

    Here’s a coincidence – about a week ago, I just happened to switch from eating A LOT of greens to eating carrots, cucumbers, and celery – and I’ve felt so much better (not really knowing why, until now that I’ve read this post).

    As for the celery – I guess I’ll eat less. I’ve heard, though, that if you peel the stringy side (as you’d peel a carrot), it’s more digestible. Is that true?

    All along I’ve been eating radishes and ginger – because it’s my understanding that they’re good for the gut. Is that true?

    As for fruit, it would be great if you’d post the ones that are high/low in insoluble fiber.

    Thanks, Chis. Great info.

    Susan

  7. says

    Thanks, this is good advice for those with Crohn’s disease with strictures or high inflammation that could lead to partial or even full bowel obstructions if they ate too much insoluble fiber vegetables and fruit.

    I often recommend skinning, de-seeding, well-done cooking, and/or juicing. But hadn’t known that insoluble might be easier to digest than soluble.

  8. says

    Bubbies pickles and sauerkraut are great for people who are new to fermented foods. The Bubbies brand is pretty easy to find at health stores or online.

  9. Katya O says

    agreed. Russian folk wisdom says no fibrous veggies if you have an upset stomach, and more well-cooked ones, preferably with broth. Thanks for the article! : )

  10. Margo says

    For me, raw nuts cause the most digestive trouble. If I soak/roast them they’re fine, but I also had my gallbladder removed a couple years ago (I wish I had known about the paleo diet when I started having trouble) so I don’t know if that factors into it. As long as I stick to low glycemic foods, meat, fish, and eggs I seem to have no significant gut pain/problems and no joint pain – which is amazing after years of feeling awful. :)

  11. Mel says

    I have celiac and also cannot have dairy or soy. Six months ago, I was also diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorbtion . It’s been a tough concept to get used to, the idea of limiting my vegetables but it has actually done wonders for my digestive health. I am also very FODMAP sensitive.

  12. Hannah says

    Yes!!! So glad that word is getting out on the FODMAP diet. I was plagued with terrible bloating my whole life until I discovered this about a year ago now. I had been trying very hard to solve the bloating issue once and for all as I was at my wits end with finishing every day looking 6 months pregnant and I had noticed that certain foods very obviously caused bad bloating and gas, these being onions, apples, garlic, potatoes, peppers and ginger and looking up information on the internet about intolerance to these lead me to the Fodmap diet.
    Since then, my life has been transformed! I actually really don’t eat any fruit or vegetables anymore. I can tolerate a little green salad and the odd banana, but don’t make a point of eating them. I make sure I get all my essential nutrients from a varied healthy diet and it really is very easy to do without including the fruit and veg.
    I’ve never felt better, my skin and hair are fantastic and I’m full of energy. It is frustrating to look back and realise how brainwashed I was into think fruit and vegetables were so healthy. It just didn’t occur to me that they could be at the root of my problems. The 5/6 a day message is so deeply ingrained. THANKYOU for shining a spotlight on this issue!

    • Ali says

      Oh Hannah :-)
      What do you eat for meals and snacks? I’m you, before you cut the trigger foods out, and I’ve been vegan for 20 years thinking this will help -constipation if I just get vegan down right :-(
      If your not eating produce, is it just meats and eggs? Do you get enough food w/o produce?
      Please share….

      • Franki says

        I am both of you too!! bloated 24/7 until I severely restricted veggies. Something ingrained in me still tells me i need some greenery…. I just dont feel right without something green on my plate. It is important for your acid/alkali balance to include veggies to balance out all the acidic meats etc, or so i’ve heard.

        • Kristin says

          MEEE TOOO! I am paleo(only the best foods) Blood type Diet ( foods healing or toxic for my O blood type)/ Metabolic protein type( macronutrient portions) and very low carb. This combo is my ticket to healthy bowels. The Blood type foods that I’m to avoid ALWAYS give me trouble if I try to eat them. The Protein Metabolic type says my plate should be 1/3 veggies and that always goes against the grain but always gives me troubles when I over eat them. I now eat 2 oz good protein with a handful of recommended veggies with some healthy fats 4x a day. I eat celery, carrots and onion and artichokes in small amounts on a small handful of chopped spinach or on a romaine lettuce wrap. At first this seemed like a measly amount of food but after just a few days, my entire systen thanks me. It is actually more satisfying than any larger meals. Too many veggies make me hungry and bloated which is a horrid combo to live with. IN the end, The Blood Type foods with the metabolic portions is the way to better stomach health for me.

  13. Marina says

    Hi, great info. It is very individual, but it is the best to cook them nicely, so they soft or even very soft and take away skin if one finds it aggravates the condition. As the gut heals one may try some additions – watery raw vegetables, no skin first, cooked vegetables with some skin if desired.
    Fermented veggies due to the process are predigested so it is much easier for body to work on them and they full of enzymes…
    Yes, it is very true – we did not have Whole Foods around and somehow well survived on much fewer vegetables and, for sure there were no greens for us on the market except for early spring salad greens that were actually always very very tender. And we did not have cucumber and radish all year around, tomatoes included… The life was more “structured”, a regimen was more bold and while still stress, somehow it was different and society respected person’s needs to take care of food, life, etc beyond the office. It does not mean people would not get sick. But rest so much needed for body to heal was always taken vs. times we live now.

  14. Tyler says

    Hey Chris,
    Is it possible to create food intolerances by restricting the diet to say only fats and proteins? I have heard that if you restrict your food too much you can become more intolerant of the foods you normally could eat. Is that possible? Or is it just an awareness and your senses being acutely more fine tuned to see what you were intolerant to to begin with. Also after you build your gut back up can you reincorporate more raw veggies, dairy, or even grains and legumes? Is it temporary if you have IBS or permanent? Thanks I am just worried about restricting my diet so much that I soon become intolerant to anything except meat….seems like all food is out to kill us really. Everyday there is a new “Hey don’t eat this anymore” in the blogosphere and I am kinda sick of it.

  15. Tyler says

    Even the oft touted fermented foods (supposedly natures magic) are not recommended because I’ve heard they are high in argenine, tyramine and histamine and may cause GI distress…see my point?

  16. says

    I’ve never much liked veggies anyway, so when I learned a few years ago (thanks to Dr. Eades’ blog post about fiber) that I don’t even really need the fiber, because it is such an effective gut irritant, I stopped worrying about not eating veggies. I can go weeks at a time without touching one, and my gut has been much happier for it. I eat a lot of grass fed beef and pastured egg yolks (not even the whites, because they are irritating). I eat starchy stuff for my carbs, mostly white rice and potatoes, and a little squash when it’s in season. I’m also lucky that I have an outstanding source of raw dairy, although I seem to tolerate all dairy pretty well.

    I do occasionally eat some fruit, mostly dates and bananas, but that is a few times a month at most.

    I worked rotating shift work for several years, and that did considerable damage to my already very finicky digestive system and underperforming metabolism (or are those one and the same?). It’s unlikely that I’ll ever be able to eat lots of fibrous anything ever again. I’m glad that I never developed a taste for veggies.

    Actually, none of the food sensitivities I’ve discovered or developed have really been bothersome to me long-term (once I discovered them and eliminated those foods) but I would just about kill to be able to eat chocolate again! Theobromine really, really does not like me. :(

  17. says

    Chris:

    Just found this FODMAP list that you linked to in a prior post.

    Note the differences between it and your lists here, i.e. celery, spinach, and lettuce are on the O.K. list.

    Will you please clarify? Also, radishes and cucumbers aren’t on any list I’ve seen, so I’d like to know about them, and also, whether cucs should be peeled (I’m already seeding them).

    Thanks so much.

    Susan

  18. says

    Chris,

    I want to know why we have low digestive acids as we grow older and not just in older people it seems as today there are more and more younger people with low stomach acidity.
    What is the actual cause of this funtionally? Carbs to seem to be a problem for low stomach acidity. But in the first place………..what is the actual cause?

  19. Bonnie says

    I limit the number of veggies. Have been doing this for the past year. Also no longer consuming dairy or wheat and my guy issues are resolved! I’m a much happier person!

  20. says

    Thank you! I changed to a low-FODMAP after seeing your earlier post, and it made a big difference. My gut seems to work better with *some* vegetable fiber, though, and it is harder now to find non-FODMAP, non-nightshade veggies containing the right kind of fiber. I see, though, that some of my favorite root vegetables are on the “good” list here, and I will certainly give them another try. I was already thinking of doing that, and your latest post is just what I needed.

  21. Kim says

    I’d like to see a comparison between the nutrients in veggies and those in a non-organ meat, since most people don’t eat organ meats on a regular basis. I have to say that I love your take on diet…no gimmicks, no rigid rules, just reason and science! I should mention that I’m probably one of the few vegetarians who are a fan of your site…I’ve been over twenty years without meat, but now have come to believe it’s an integral part of a healthy diet. I haven’t returned to eating meat, as I now have a huge psychological barrier to eating it, but that’s my personal issue–you keep on doing what you’re doing–the truth has no agenda! : )

    • Chris Kresser says

      In the graphic above, the micronutrient content of beef is listed, along with liver, kale and blueberries. You’ll see that red meat is higher in most micronutrients than kale and blueberries, with some exceptions.

      I eat vegetables myself and think they are a healthy and important part of the diet; my purpose here was simply to point out that certain types of veggies eaten in certain ways are more likely to cause gut issues.

      Thanks for your support! I was a vegetarian (and even macrobiotic vegan) myself for some time. I have respect for that as a choice, it just didn’t work for me and there are some serious limitations/challenges to those approaches.

      • Alicia says

        I have read a lot of information on your site and Solving Leaky Gut’s site and still not sure how to start. I can do pretty good for two days and then I go back to what I used to do. I cannot seem to get past it. Lots of brain issues along with gut issues.

  22. Margo says

    Hi! I’ve been on Paleo for over 3 months now and it works miracles, there’s jut one thing I had some tests done last week and my creatinine is a bit too high. I’m worried about my kidneys. Could that be too much of meat consumption?

  23. says

    I’m very glad to see some numbers on what I had already suspected was true for a long, long time!

    I would love to know, though, where those numbers came from, and if you have any thoughts and/or data on whether naturally pasture-raised meats would be even more nutrient-dense than the beef shown above.

    Thanks!

  24. Kristin says

    Great read! Funny thing though I do SO much better with insoluable. I eat mostly lettuces, but not big hardy ones, they don’t work, celery, artichoke, carrot, onion and tons of steamed broccoli . I can’t digest any starch of any kind. Either it’s the stomach or I get extremely tired. I don’t know what that’s all about. I do Paleo with some Blood Type foods, the ones that actually work. I only eat a cherry or two at a time. LOL. I do about 7% carbs from above veg, 25% lean clean protein and the rest fats. I limit saturated. I eat olive oil and soaked and dehydrated nuts as well. That’s about it. Sometimes I think this is too limited to be healthy. I also agree with too much fat is hard to digest, especially saturated. I just sits there. Also, fermented veggies are a definate no go. Why would that be? It seems I am very limited in fiber. Asparagus bothers me bad along with big leafy greens. Nightshades and dairy are out as well. Good thing I love salads and protein!

  25. says

    This is interesting because I tend to have more frequent bowl movements when I eat a lot of veggies and I notice that my acne flares up also. Could the digestive issues with veggies cause acne?

    • Chris Kresser says

      Yes. Check out my podcast a while back on the gut-brain-skin axis. I will also be speaking on this topic at the Wise Traditions conference in November.

    • Melissa says

      I second that. Fiber Menace put me on the right path, but i found myself dependent on the author’s Hydro-C supplement. Patsy Catsos’ IBS-Free At Last was the book that finally helped me to narrow down the biggest culprits for my gut irritation. Now I am no longer dependent on a supplement to help me go.

  26. Angeline says

    Thank you for such a great article! I’ve had chronic constipation my entire life. Since switching to Primal and FODMAP I’ve seen a little bit of improvement. I’m starting to think that my problem is with fiber in general. It seems that I can only tolerate fiber in small amounts, even soluble fiber, like a few slices of fried plantain. A few weeks ago I ate a few servings of boiled yams and tannier and got a lot of pain in the lower abdomen. I’ll keep experimenting.

    • Ali says

      Angeline- what have you found works for you?
      Sounds simular to me. I love produce but reading this makes me think it may be the last thing the gut can handle? I hope you found out what’s safe and beneficial for the constipation.

      • Angeline says

        Well I actually found out I had a polyp on my gallbladder. I had surgery a few weeks ago and had it out. Now the constant pain I was feeling on the left side of my torso is gone, but I have to be careful with the amount of fat (and the quality) I consume in one meal to avoid another type of discomfort/pain. Unfortunately, I havent seen improvement in bm, although everybody was telling me I was going to get the runs… I’m consuming digestive enzymes and looking for a good probiotic supplement to see wether that helps with digestion.

  27. says

    Thank you for this. I’ve been diagnosed with gluten, lactose, and fructose intolerance and was doing fine on a very restricted GF/FODMAPS diet until last year, when I started to notice that fiber seemed to be setting me off – even in foods like spinach that I’d been eating regularly for years with no problems. Curiously, cooked carrots and pumpkin don’t seem to bother me – even though they do contain fructose and thus should be problematic due to fructose intolerance. Now I’m starting to question the FI diagnosis in the first place.

    Any chance of a high-insoluble vs. high-soluable-fiber fruits post as well??

    • Chris Kresser says

      Probably not… just Google “fruits insoluble fiber” and you’ll find lots of lists to work from. In general berries and then the peels/skins of fruits are high in insoluble fiber, and banana, melons, the flesh of peaches, apples & pears are higher in soluble fiber.

      • says

        Thanks Chris. Looking at a few soluble vs. insoluble fiber in fruits lists, I’m seeing another interesting pattern: the fruits that are often cited as being tolerated in small amounts by people with fructose malabsorption are high in insoluble fiber (blueberries, strawberries) – further explaining why I can’t even eat small amounts of them. Yet I can tolerate a couple blackberries from time to time – and apparently those are high in soluble fiber. Hmmmm. I sense some experimentation in my future!

  28. Jay says

    This has been known in Ayurveda now for thousands of years….the “roughness” that gives digestive problems of eating certain raw fruit and vegetables is called putting ones Vata out of balance. The symptoms in this case are, but not limited to, bloating and gas. The good thing about looking at your diet and routines in terms of the Doshas of Vata, Pitta and Kapha is that these symptoms ( as in the case of this article ) are but the first stages of disease. Of course nothing is going to happen from a few episodes of gas and bloating…but over a prolonged period of time…those symptoms will develop into other symptoms if not counteracted with changes to diet or addressing other root causes of ones environment and routine that one lives. Which is why western medical science is still so much in its infancy when it normally only addresses the much later stages of diseases which because of their prolonged neglect at their recognized state are much harder to treat and deal with.

    Also for some individuals their Vata would not become out of balance given the same raw portions of fruit and veggies compared to another; some people do not experience gas or bloating. In fact some peoples constitutions that are very low in Vata but say high in Kapha…benefit from favoring such fruits and vegetables eaten raw.

    On another note some people would at one time of the year yet not at another time of the year; cooked at one, raw at another.

    Hopefully someday, people as a whole will learn to understand their bodies much better than we do; and a very strong background in science education is not required for this to be.

  29. Christine says

    Perfect timing. I just got back from visiting the doctor because I’ve had strange BMs for about 2 months. I’ve been eating primally for about a year and was doing great and then all of a sudden–big change. Anyway, I’m looking forward to taking your advice, because I eat tons and tons of vegetables, especially the ones you listed as having a lot of insoluble fiber. I’ve had breast cancer and so, of course, have gone crazy on the vegetable wagon. Love your information and look forward to other people’s comments on this.

  30. says

    Yes, and yes.
    there are trade-offs you can do. Cutting out onions to allow occasional garlic (which you need less of).
    I like chinese preserved cabbage. This is not refrigerated (just salted) and is very mulchy and delicious as a condiment.
    Health shop sauerkraut is too hard and not really fermented. I doubt it is meant to be refrigerated so much.

  31. AnGela Reinhard says

    I’ve found it helpful to stay away from FODMAPs and the veggies high in insoluble fiber that you listed.

    Question about beta-glucuronidase: While I follow a fairly clean diet, because of ‘IBS issues’ I have to take many supplements (iron, methyl-protect, B5, iodine, NAC, probiotics, CLO). My beta-glucuronidase is extremely out of the target range. While I dread taking another supplement, I’d like your opinion, would you recommend taking Calcium-d-Glucarate to lower it? Also if one has a history of breast or colon cancer, would you recommend supplementing with it? How does beta-glucuronidase affect liver function? Any link to improving gut health if you lower it?

    • jake3_14 says

      Hi Angela,
      As Chris states on his “Contact” page, he can’t give personalized advice, even about food and supplements, due to insurance liability issues. At best, he could say something like, “I had a patient with IBS issues whose beta-glucuronidase was out of range, and I told that patient…”, but even that’s a gray area.

  32. Austin says

    Great article Chris! I found a lot of the key points of high vegetable consumption being correlated with gut irritation to match my own experience.

    I’ve been eating a strict paleo diet for a few months now, mostly on the cyclic ketogenic side, and I recently had been having extreme stomach pains after certain meals to the point I had to lay down. Naturally this left me completely dumbfounded as I do not eat any of the typical gut irritants; grains, dairy, and legumes.

    My most recent stomach flare up came when this after noon when I ate a tuna salad consisting with a lot of arugula and spinach. Within 30 minutes of eating, I could barely walk and my mental state had rapidly declined.

    Interestingly, after about two hours my symptoms; cramps and bloating start to diminish. I’ve tried to duplicate the response to figure out what was causing this response, but could never get any consistent flare ups. Now after your reading your article, I can directly correlate my recent increase in vegetable consumption, directly to when I started having these crippling stomach pains!

    Going to play around with limiting my vegetable intake for a while and then reintroduce them in mass to gauge my response. Thanks again for all the amazing work you do and providing your knowledge to the world.

  33. says

    This may be TMI, but I HAVE noticed that I’m way less gassy when I eat fewer vegetables. Now I don’t feel so bad about not having them every other hour of the day, the way it sometimes feels like you’re *supposed* to…

  34. Anonymiss says

    Helpful post, thanks — just a few thoughts germinated when reading this:

    * Could it be worth noting the potential downside of salt with respect to adding fermented veggies to the diet? Sauerkraut is crazy salty and it was my understanding that lots of salt can be rough on digestion.

    * I had issues with constipation for some time. After incorporating more veggies/fiber into my diet the issue only seemed to get worse; bloating and distention grew exponentially with added fiber. However, I’ve since tweaked how I consume what is roughly the same — rather large — amount of veg fiber and my constipation issue has been more or less eliminated; pun intended. I think my problem was insufficient fat intake. I begin the day with 1 tsp. ea. of cod liver oil and extra virgin olive oil before eating breakfast, which is usually some oatmeal with milled chia seed. Having a drink or two of hot cocoa powder every day seems to tip the scale to an emptier intestine and fuller toilet. I think it’s the combo of fat (from the oils) + milled chia (mucilage; even though this is very high in fibre) + cocoa powder (magnesium) seems to do the trick. I now have daily movements that are very easy to pass. Notwithstanding, I’d like some opinion on whether this is a sustainable and reasonable healthy habit?

    Incidentally, I’ve noticed that my psoriasis is less severe when I consume foods containing curry powder along with a drink of cocoa. But this doesn’t obtain when I consume only one or the other thereof. What gives?

    Still working on the psoriasis . . . any tips?

  35. says

    Chris, I was hoping to get your opinion on one thing. I started looking at research on the effect of fiber on various gut problems. Many studies noted that there are differences in short-chain fatty acid content in healthy and inflamed colons. And some fibers are fermented into SCFA that have anti-inflammatory effects. Many studies noted very good effects from germinated barley foodstuff.

    I was wondering if you have any comments on that? Have you tried it with anyone? Also, do you have any idea where to get it? Could I just germinate barley seeds, dry and grind them?

    Thanks a lot for your insights!

  36. Sage says

    I have been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and also have a positive ANA test and IBS. I was told to take a natural testosterone boosting formula that contains oat straw herb powder. I am also gluten intolerant and needless to say, with my positive ANA test, I want to stay as far away from gluten as possible. Are you familiar with oat straw herb powder and whether or not it contains gluten? Do you know of any alternative natural testosterone boosters for a female diagnosed with significant adrenal fatigue? Thank you!

  37. says

    I found this interesting, for many years I was a veggie but with an allergy to pulses wasn’t getting enough nutrients from my diet, I went back to including chicken and fish and my health improved enormously.

    I do have gut problems and cannot tolerate fermented foods such as saurkraut, they leave me doubled up in pain.

  38. Gabriele says

    Hi Chris,

    great post, as usual. I have been suffering of IBL for almost 20 years with insomnia and other bad consequences. I’ve tried everything (any kind of diet, fasting, etc..). Nothing really worked.

    Recently (couple of months), I’m following a Paleo-Zone diet?

    I do apply the Zone principles (40-30-30) to the Paleo diet, in a way that I eat 40% carbs during each meal (13 blocks in 6 meals per day), using only veggies and fruits with low glycemyc index. Fats and Proteins all strict Paleo.

    What’s your opinion about it?

    Thanks,
    Gabriele

  39. Adele says

    Wow! This is really interesting. For the past few months I’ve been limiting my meat intake particularly red and concentrating more on salads, vegetables & fruit. But I have noticed more bloating, stomach issues and even harder to loose weight! I will definitely be looking into fodmaps diet closer. Thank you!

  40. says

    I’m glad you said “tend to be safer” instead of “are safe” for the soluble fiber list. As someone with gut health issues (and, unfortunately, the doctor bills to prove it), I have found that starchy tubers are the fastest way to get me from feeling well to laying on the floor in pain with my gut so swollen I look 12 months pregnant. I’ve even tried fermenting the starches before cooking in an attempt to make them easier to digest – no dice. I mean it was tasty and all, but still made me swell. Anything starchy – potatoes, rice, corn, beans… it’s a miserable experience.

    I’ve discussed this with others who have similar intestinal issues and they report the same thing about starches. However, I can eat anything from the insoluble-fiber list without a problem (to be fair, I do usually cook them). Even fruit doesn’t seem to be too much of an issue for me (bananas are out, but other than that, so far so good). But give me a mouthful of white rice and I won’t be able to sit up straight for the rest of the night.

    So in my experience, more meat and less veggies does tend to keep my intestines happy. But no matter how large or small my veggie intake gets, I can’t eat starches at all.

  41. says

    Chris,
    Love this article! My business partner and I have been following this concept for a while now, as we are learning so much more about nutrition than we thought we knew! I can honestly say that limiting my veggies has SIGNIFICANTLY helped my digestive problems. For the past year I struggled with off-and-on constipation and just feeling plain horrible. Since following your blog, along with the blog by Ray Peat, being certified in Z-Health Performance Systems and their nutritional advice, everything feels better! I specifically recall about 3 weeks ago when I decided to eat some broccoli, just because, and I was a mess the next day. Gassy, bloated, sluggish, and kicking myself for even considering it. Thank you for the great article Chris. We are in Berkeley and would love to meet you sometime soon. Take care!

  42. Polly says

    I have been experimenting by steaming cauliflower and spinach-well done. Then blending them in my Vitamix and eating them like mashed potatoes. I seem to do a lot better with the veggies cooked and blended. I use raw ghee or coconut oil and some sea salt. Sometimes I will sprinkle gelatin on it for added protein if I don’t have any meat handy. Is this an ok thing to do? Wish I knew for sure what my triggers are?? Salads are not good. Neither is popcorn.

    • jake3_14 says

      I eat about 2 T of powdered gelatin/day to relieve knee aches and to strengthen my nails. Gelatin is a component of both cartilage and keratin, so the fact that it helps both problems isn’t surprising. Since these effects are pronounced and specific to certain areas of my body, my hunch is that this protein isn’t being used for much else. Since this amount of gelatin adds 12g of protein, I subtract that amount from my daily totals when I troubleshoot my diet.

  43. RealFood says

    I find the only FODMAP that bothers me is broccoli. It just kills me. Cauliflower, brussels sprouts – no problem in amounts up to 3 oz. But the slightest bite of broccoli will make me literally scream in pain.

    Why? What’s the issue with broccoli specifically? Can’t figure it out.

  44. says

    If only you had posted this a week earlier! I just got back from a week long vacation with a family of vegetarians. We traded off cooking nights, but all of the meals had to be meatless. After four days of a drastic change in my diet, my stomach rebelled. I tried to eat as much meat as possible for my lunches, but the amount of vegetables wreaked havoc on my digestive system. Thanks for posting this article; it’s nice to know why I was having such a bad reaction to the food and I’ll know what to avoid next time.

    • jake3_14 says

      I have a hunch that it was the sudden change in fiber levels, rather than the absolute amount of fiber you ate, that caused your havoc. If you look around the web, the common advice is to slowly increase the amount of fiber you eat when you start to eat more of it.

  45. says

    I’m curious what you recommend for someone following restrictive type diets, such as FODMAP, for extended periods of time (while trying to heal gut issues), for a “treat”? It really wears on the psyche of a foodie when constantly saying “no” to so many foods. :)

    • jake3_14 says

      My sweet treat is a home-flavored yogurt:
      .1 C full-fat yogurt
      .1/4-1/2 t cinnamon
      .1/4 t cocoa powder
      .1/2 T beef gelatin
      .1/4 t orange extract
      .1/4 t vanilla extract
      .sweetener, e.g., stevia, erythritol, splenda, to taste

      Mix the yogurt and dry ingredients well. Then add the liquid ingredients and mix well again. Let stand 5 minutes.

      The other part of the solution is to mentally re-frame your decisions from saying “no” to foods to saying, “no, I need to stay healthy/nurture my body/etc” to yourself when you turn down food.

      • Alicia says

        Erythritol is a high FODMAP, it is a Polyol which is the P in FODMAP, so it is best to avoid if you are following this diet. Plus it is a poison to animals, I don’t care that the government thinks it is fine for humans. If it will poison an animal, I’m not eating it!

        • jake3_14 says

          Hi Alicia,

          You’re right. I was riffing on the sweetener. Not being sensitive to specific FODMAP foods myself, I didn’t think about this issue. FODMAP-sensitive people should use whatever sweetener they can tolerate.

  46. Alicia says

    Thank you for this article, I discovered FODMAPS through my own research and doing the GAPS diet. I have been eating a low FODMAP diet for about 4 months now and it is the first time that my gut has felt good! Keep up the good work, love your blog!

  47. Barb says

    Hmmm… I have been following a paleo/primal diet for about a year. I purchased the recently published book “It Starts With Food”, and decided to do a ‘Whole30″, which vastly increased my vegetable and fruit intake (although I limited fruit to 1 or 2 servings per day).

    While I did not get bloating or discomfort, I noticed an immediate change in frequency and texture of my stools… I was constantly in the bathroom, it seemed. I went from 1 (maybe 2) well formed BM’s per day to 4 or 5 loose-ish BM’s per day. I have never been diagnosed with IBS or Crohn’s, but I am really questioning whether I may be intolerant of the FODMAP foods. Turns out those are the veggies that I was consuming most of…

    Thanks for the great and timely post!!

    • Alicia says

      Check out the Bristol stool chart. I was surprised to find out that well formed stool is not healthy and that is what I have been trying to acheive my whole life. As it turns out, I do have the healthiest type listed here.

      http://www.gutsense.org/constipation/normal_stools.html

      Here is what it says about formed stools, the chart has pictures so you can properly diagnose.

      Type 2: Sausage-like but lumpy

      “Represents a combination of Type 1 stools impacted into a single mass and lumped together by fiber components and some bacteria. Typical for organic constipation. The diameter is 3 to 4 cm (1.2–1.6”). This type is the most destructive by far because its size is near or exceeds the maximum opening of the anal canal‘s aperture (3.5 cm). It‘s bound to cause extreme straining during elimination, and most likely to cause anal canal laceration, hemorrhoidal prolapse, or diverticulosis. To attain this form, the stools must be in the colon for at least several weeks instead of the normal 72 hours. Anorectal pain, hemorrhoidal disease, anal fissures, withholding or delaying of defecation, and a history of chronic constipation are the most likely causes. Minor flatulence is probable. A person experiencing these stools is most likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome because of continuous pressure of large stools on the intestinal walls. The possibility of obstruction of the small intestine is high, because the large intestine is filled to capacity with stools. Adding supplemental fiber to expel these stools is dangerous, because the expanded fiber has no place to go, and may cause hernia, obstruction, or perforation of the small and large intestine alike.”

        • Marina says

          Yes, gutsense has own interpretation and i understand where it could come from as I went through some of those “right” stool stages – beeing for a long time on GAPS diest. I do not think it is healthy stool (for me for sure) so I will not agree with gutsense on that one. Number 4 is the way to go!!! :) If we all lucky enough.
          I also do not think that beeing hooked on all supplements that gutsense offers is any better then trying vegetables – with skin. withoout skin – whatever works. But gutsense has good info (for me it has to be filtered out). And his two books one in English and one in Russian is also helpful. But nonetheless all that, alas, info needs to be filtered (again) and adjusted.
          As I understand not much data is available on diet Pe Se and gut it is all almost near to be experimental. We know there are some symptomatic similarities we know going though GAPS or similar protocol that it will create die-off or healing crisis or worsening of your symptoms or flare-ups or food sensetivities. Do we know for sure what it is really?

          Marina

  48. says

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for this article, love your work. I was wondering your thought on the work of Dr Leo Galland and the effects of different fiber on intestinal permeabilty. He found that insoluable fiber reduces intestinal permeabilty and soluable tends to increase it? Your thoughts would be great.

    Cheers Karl.

  49. says

    Hi Chris,
    I’m trying Paleo and finding it helps my stomach condition (a motility problem causing frequent regurgitation – never sick – and a prepandrial bradygastria which means that I have to eat every three hours. Not quite fitting with Paleo, I know). The thing is, I also have hypermobility in the shoulders and ankles and I don’t want to worsen this condition. I’ve read somewhere that higher fat content from the meats isn’t helpful with this condition. Is this true? So less veggies for the stomach…but less meat for the hypermobility? Now I’m confused.

    Extra info: I also have hypothyroidism (just come out of a slightly overdosed phrase on the meds) and PCOS. I have been excluding modern foods from my diet since I was 15 (I’m 21). All that was left to exclude was wheat free cereals and gluten free products, and maybe dairy.

    Hoping for some advice. Thanks!

  50. says

    You know…be it primal, paleo or whatever Way of Eating you follow…this stuff can get seriously confusing after a while.

    I just found out I have multiple food allergies: highly allergic to eggs, moderately so to dairy and gluten. But also allergic to many veggies and numerous spices I love.

    But I also don’t have a gallbladder, so I *can’t* up my fat too much, otherwise, well…I’ll be spending more time on the toilet than I care to.

    So, I shouldn’t eat too many veggies high in insoluble fiber, but eating starchy veg tends to make me sleepy. What now?

    • says

      I know the feeling! I have a gallbladder, but I did find out that it was quite slow. Then again, in order to test how quickly it processed fats, they did ask me to eat a Mars bar (which I hadn’t eaten in four years because it made me feel horrid afterwards!). Now I’m not sure if I process all fats slowly, or just chocolate off a factory line…

      Feels a bit like limbo, doesn’t it?

      Hope you find some answers soon.

    • Angie says

      I don’t like to say it, but since changing my eating habits, to a primal lifestyle my body has “become” so sensitive to so many food products, even real, natural foods. Grains and everything gluten gets my stomach incredibly bloated, I could eat whole eggs, but after some time i can only eat the yolks> The whites after a while have begun to give me son constraint? on my throat. Sometimes i can eat yogurt, other i get pains, as well as some probiotics that i bought. I went on a FODMAP diet to see if I see improvement in my bowel movements, severely cut my veggies intake, which then made me switch to starchy veggies, but recently they have started to give me bad lower abdominal pain. I thought then that it wan because of the fiber, so now i trying to limit that too. Not a lot of options left, (nuts are also a problem). I’m restricted then to eating mostly meats, lettuce and few low fiber fruits, oh and yolks… I’d go crazy if I stop and thibk that pretty much all of my meat intake comes from the cafeteria in my University (low quality I safely presume) or grain fed from the comercial supermarkets. To top it all of, I still can’t see bm without laxatives… Le sigh

      • Marina says

        It is unfortunately very “normal” – to be sensitive to the food one was ok before…it should sorted out but it will take time, try to start very simple and add one food at a time back…A long process.
        Try not to use laxatives, if you could.
        It is the best to follow a program as it is very difficult to figure out what is the cause. just because digestion is compromised…
        And yes, fungus/yeast can be quite troublesome to deal with – just due to our toxicity – they are always there …

        • Angeline says

          Thank you, its rather difficult when your practically poking blindly when you’re on your own following one of these programs. At least it sometimes feels that way, because there are so many factors that can have a different effect on our digestion.

          • Marina says

            It is very very true. I would love to be guided all those almost three years. And it is good to have someone you can talk to and ask questions… It would be good if that person is a doctor. Not always MD but someone who could prescribe medicine as well not only alternatives and supplements.
            I was and am lucky at least to get some help in critical situation during detox/die-offs.
            One think to keep in mind, though, unfortunately no one will be able to tell you what to eat at “that” particular stage of your health. You can try guidance by GAPS or SCD still you may find that not all the food you will be able to introduce initially and not always in the order it was suggested. There are variations and there is no I think straight answer for that.
            But if you could find someone who can help you a bit with diet (and emotionally too because it is not an easy process unless you could help yourself on that), that should help you quite a bit. Just keep in mind: your state of gut health, your stress level, your individual intolerance and the season… In time you find some answers for you from yourself but it will take some time. May be try with watery vegetables cooked well in broth, organ meats and muscle meat of any animal that you tolerate, eggs if you can, especially yolks at the beginning, perhaps avocado. I also found that well cooked carrots in chicken broth helped a lot initially though carrots are not that watery. Chicken broth is quite soothing for the gut. And you do not need to cook it for many hours. A couple will work fine…

  51. says

    I’m so tired of looking for answers. My health has become an obsession; I have a great naturopathic doc finally, but in the back of my head, I’m always wondering if there’s something else I should be doing. I’m just so sick of dealing with numerous issues that seem to be cyclical in nature, and now, being incredibly restrictive in what I can/cannot eat. It’s insane.

  52. RickP says

    I certainly have less digestive trouble if I eat less veggies, and they must be cooked. Oh, how many hours I lost to discomfort because I made smoothies with raw vegetables. I finally figured out the problem just a few weeks ago – gotta cook them.

    • says

      I too have this issue with vegetables. I haven’t eaten any raw veggies for a few weeks now and have seen an improvement with my cystic acne also! Cooked seems fine. Just an FYI for anyone who may be struggling with cystic acne and can’t figure out what’s causing it.

  53. Barb says

    This 1 hour BBC documentary is entitled “Did Cooking Make Us Human?”, and while there is some anthropology in it, there is an awful lot of documentation of research and tests conducted that show how our systems are adapted to process cooked food vs. raw.

    • Zee says

      I would have loved to see this documentary, but it’s no longer available on youtube. I, like many reading this blog, am tired of trying to find out what foods are causing me so much gastric distress…feeling like you’re pregnant during the day and not fitting in your clothes and waking up with a flat stomach again, day in day out. I have now realized I am eating TOO many supposedly good for you vegetables. To top it off, I always preferred and enjoyed them RAW. So, I am trying FODMAP as well as cooking the soluble veggies to see how much difference this can make in giving me a normal life.

  54. Russell W Loomis says

    If anyone wants to chime in on this questions great.. Would fermentation have an affect on some of the insoluble fiber foods (like cabbage in sauer kraut)?

  55. says

    I have been having less energy and explosive #2′s recently. And I rarely have gut issues at all when eating paleo.
    This article is exactly what I’ve figured out over the last few weeks, when I realized that an excess of veggies are my problem. I’ve had it in my mind over the last year of living paleo that paleo= a 1:1 ratio of animal products to veggies/fruits. So I thought that I got protein and good fats from animal products and micronutrients from plant sources. Trying to figure out what my problem was and why eating veggies have become more of a chore, I remembered something Rob Wolf said once about how you can essentially live with less veggies and eat more of the animal to get all the nutrients you need. And I learned just how nutrient dense organ meats, and meats are compared to plant sources.
    So, I’m setting about to lessen, and of course not eliminate, plant matter and to eat more parts of animals. So far, I’ve cooked up some beef necks and saved the bone broth. Then cooked 2 lbs of grass-fed ground beef with chicken livers and garlic.

  56. Bear says

    Hello,

    I’m looking for a reliable list of veggies that are both low FODMAP and soluble fiber. I figured you would be my best chance!

    Thanks

  57. Jon says

    Chris – I’ve tried almost everything on your site for IBS and it’s been a great help! However, I still have some gut-brain axis issues to work out because my symptoms only seem to occur now in times of stress. My doctor prescribed Robinul (Glycopyrrolate) for these flare ups. Do you have any insight into this drug?

  58. Tammy says

    It would make sense that juicing insoluble fibrous fruits and veggies instead of eating them in solid form would be easier on my stomach. Is that true?

  59. Christine says

    Funny thing is: I used to have no digestion problems at all, every morning after getting up I had motion (sorry, hope it is the right word, I’m no native speaker). Ever since I started Paleo diet, I found that my skin got a lot better, but suffer heavy gut cramps and not really good consistency of stool (plus frequency is totally confused). Do you have any idea? I used to eat all these vegetables for years without any problems, but now that I eat less vegetables, no legumes and no grains, but more protein and fat, my guts are rioting …

    • Chris Kresser says

      My guess is you have low stomach acid, which is impairing your digestion of protein and fat. I’ll be writing an entire series on these issues starting on Friday, along with proposed solutions. Stay tuned.

  60. Summer says

    Chris, I am beginning to correlate fruit and raw salads with a marked increase in belching and trapped wind/indigestion. When I eat cooked vegetables or skip morning fruit, my GERD symptoms are almost non-existent.

    Would it make a difference if I take my fruits and raw vegetables in juice format? Will that be any easier to digest?

  61. says

    Hi Chris. I emailed you a year and a half ago with concern for chronic (slow GI motility) issues. I hate to call it constipation because I never had “trouble” going but I just didn’t go very often… every 3 to 4 days on average. (hypothyroid-on synthroid for 15 years now) I tried soooo many different things over this year and a half. Well I am finally happy to report that I have found something that causes me to have a BM every 24-36 hours, at least for the last 10 -12 days!! but I know this does not address the core issue as it is the osmotic process that is probably keeping things moving. The regimin that works for me is Pure encasulations Magnesium citrate 450mg am/ 300mg pm, magnesium glycinate 120mg am/240mg pm. buffered ascorbic acid 960mgam/960mgpm and I add around 1/4 tsp redmont sea salt to the water I take with my supplements + a second glass of water. I am going to play with these doses to see where the minimum is that still keeps me going, but was wondering if you see anything glaringly wrong with this regimin or if you would have suggestions on how to play with the doses… lower the mag??, up the VIT C, eliminate the sodium?? ? I have access to blood pressure reading at work and mine have remained fine 95-110/60-80 on average. I know optimally the best road to take is to continue to search for what causes this slow GI motility although hypothyroid is my bet, but otherwise is it better to have BM’s more frequently with osmotic assistance, or lay off the higher vitc/mag/salt doses and go back to every 3 – 4 days avg?? Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Shelley

  62. Lizzie says

    What’s more important: thyroid functioning or stomach/gut functioning? I have hypothyroidism. I used to be a vegetarian. Last December / January, I went paleo. I was also told about klebsiella bacteria in a stomach analysis. I have problems with SIBO/fodmaps too. Since going low carb, my stomach has been much better. The only problem it seems is that I have less energy and can’t work out (e.g., run, CrossFit) without the carbs I cut out. So, do you think it is more important to eat enough carbs to treat hypothyroidism, and have a lot of accompanying digestive issues, or eat fewer carbs but just not be able to work out as much? I’d love to hear your thoughts as I’m nearing my wit’s end with this conundrum!

  63. Alicia says

    Medical Doctors (MDs) have only one day of training in nutrition despite the many years of schooling they are required to take. One day! They do not learn how food affects health and this shows in their practice of medicine when they prescribe pills to put a band aide or merely just treat the symptoms of a greater disease. I have worked in the medical field and what I am writing here is fact.

    Chris Kresser did not just learn about nutrition on the web, he has a degree and so does Robb Wolf and the people that write on his blog. There is good info out there, you just need to find the right person for you. A naturopathic doctor has years of training in nutrition and more education in all areas of medicine than a MD has. I highly recommend seeing one as they look to treat the disease through nutrition or other pathways to bring the person back to whole health, not just slap a band aide on you.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Yes, I have more formal, post-graduate level training in nutrition than most MDs have (which is next to nothing, as they will tell you if you ask). But there’s a more important point: the “training” MDs receive in nutrition is based on outdated science from 30-40 years ago. That’s the biggest problem.

  64. Caty says

    @Alicia: I am not sure your post is addressed to me, but if it is, I just want to say that I did not mean to imply anything about Chris Kresser. I just told what occured to a friend of mine, and my opinion. Thank you .

  65. Liz says

    This is a strange article. As far as Im concerned, people have MORE bowel movements AKA went MORE to the bathroom, passed the poop EASIER, and had better formed poop the more their diet resembled a “healthy” Vegan diet in the diet spectrum. I know for a fact, meat constipates me, as well as processed foods like donuts, cookies and crakers. I also HATE most beans. When I change my diet to a Plant based diet, low meat consumption, I go to the loo almost daily. DAILY. Im so bloated right now >:0 I’ve been eating a lot of meat and some veggies, as well as almond toasts, Im absolutely constipated. I take probiotics too, and ginger tea. I also was trying to do higher fat, and that went HORRIBLE. Coconut oil makes me feel like I was hit by a truck, butter to a lesser extent. High fat foods give me extreme fatigue, sluggishness and listlessness. Im experimenting shunning most meats and fats for a month. I need to go to the bathroom. Maybe ill have wild Tuna every two weeks.

  66. Ali says

    Liz, same here about the coconut oil and high proteins. I have found raw paleo the best. I was vegan for decades and was more constipated as a vegan than when I ate meat. Having meat raw or seared is the way to go. One more thing I no longer believe pooping a lot is healthy. It’s a matter of using the bathroom with ease. Anyone with IBS or other digestive issues can concur, it’s much nicer to be In there less and with less time needed. Your bottom will thank you, it gets tired too :)

    • Liz says

      I tried having less meat, I still can’t go to the loo :( I think I have to clear out “the way” XD before testing out dietary changes. I was very angry at my constipation when I wrote that post! XD And I didnt mention when I said plant based I meant fruit based.

      Its interesting he says veggies could be troublesome. I WAS eating lots of veggies along with the meats. Maybe I should give a shot to his reccomendations. Its not like I have that many options anymore. I had to take laxatives, hope they work.

      All the conflicting advice angers me. Kresser says veggies are the problem, other’s say its not enough fiber, other say its the meat thats constipating, and oh no its the processed food, or eating wheat, or whatever. I’m just confused and stuck with my annoying problem :(

      • Marina says

        Liz,

        It is unfortunate, but quite normal to get through all that confusion and frustration. May be it is the best to stick to one program and give it some time and be patient…I know …but patience is very much needed here.
        you may try more cooked veggies, less muscle meat more gelatinous meat instead if you think meat makes you c. (like oxtail, parts of shoulder meat close to the bone, trotters, stew or boiling is easier to digest then grilling or similar, try if you can cooked beet salad, or just cooked beets with garlic, olive oil and some dill to garnish. go slow on beets if you are not used to them…
        veggies like anything else COULD be the problem for some, but not a problem for others.

        • Liz says

          Thanks for the input. I generally just pan grill my meat a few minutes. Ill try doing a simple stew with it, and cooking my veggies, I most always have them raw and crunchy, or lightly pan stirred. My mentality has been MORE FIBER. MORE FIBER. But it hasnt worked :S Gotta try something different/

  67. Ali says

    Liz, same here about the coconut oil and high proteins. I have found raw paleo the best. I was vegan for decades and was more constipated as a vegan than when I ate meat. Having meat raw or seared is the way to go. One more thing, I no longer believe pooping a lot is healthy. It’s a matter of using the bathroom with ease. Anyone with IBS or other digestive issues can concur, it’s much nicer to be In there less and with less time needed. Your bottom will thank you, it gets tired too :)

  68. Minna Schrag says

    2 questions:
    1: Is it consistent with the GAPS/paleo diet to take psyllium veg caps before every meal? They bulk up my stool and seem to make me poop easily and less frequently, but I have no idea whether they cause irritation or inflammation.
    2: For years I have been intolerant of nuts and nut butters and have been using sunflower seed butter instead. Can I continue to use it? Should I really try to reintroduce nuts?
    Many thanks

  69. Anna K. says

    Hi Chris, thanks for the info. You recommend Full monthly Hormone Profile to figure out female hormonal issues. Do you have any places online that you can recommend that sell this kind of test?

    Also, do you mean that testing has to be done every day of the month to be comprehensive?

    thanks.

  70. Aries says

    I feel like everyone’s digestive track is like a thumbprint. I wish u could plug in your problems and there be a cure for everyone struggling with tummy issues but I think yr digestive track is as original as yr very own identity. Nobody has the same. I started keeping somewhat of a food journal and found that there was something similiar in some of the foods i ate… and that was soluable fiber. Researching more about the different types of fiber, i found that eating foods that were high in insoluable fiber was 10 times more settling. Even when it came down to protein meal replacement shakes that stated “soluable” fiber made my stomach have that same feeling. Like it got stuck and didnt want to process thru. What’s funny is I haven’t always felt this way after I ate these foods. A few years ago I noticed this change. Foods such as oatmeal, (which I loved to eat in the mornings and everyone says its the thing to eat when trying to stay fit) and apples. I found that soluable fiber made me sooo bloated and constipated. Felt unsettling and almost like it got stuck in the upper abdominal area. Feels like my stomach wants to growl like I’m hungry when I just ate less than an hour ago. I researched that soluable foods expand and add “bulk” to the stool. For people who struggle with constipation, would u recommend staying away from these foods? Are there other foods I can replace with the same nutritional value? I would appreciate any advice u may have!

  71. Rosalinda says

    I am so glad that I found this article. I’ve been sitting here just reading everyone’s post and I have so much in common. I really hope someone can help me. I am bloated and have gas like everyday. I workout and eat a clean organic diet. I’m trying to get a flat belly but I feel like I can’t because I’m always bloated. My stomach just never looks regular and I hate it. I also don’t have regular bowel movements. Sometimes it’s diarrhea and sometimes super hard to pass, all I want is logs :/ anyways, seems like I get bloated with fruits, veggies, dairy, even dairy free milk? Junk food and even gluten free foods. I get diarrhea with coffee and bloated with green tea. I’m kinda shocked the fact that some of you don’t have fruit or veggies considering we’ve been told to have fruits, veggies, dairy and wheat to be healthy. It’s funny because it seems like I started getting really bloated after I changed my diet. When I started eating different types of organic fruits and different veggies. I used to never eat this stuff until after I had my daughter. Oh yeah I also tried a keto diet but seems I don’t do we’ll with a high fat diet. I also get bloated with fiber as in like psyllium husk and organic triple fiber. Last time I saw GI all he said was that I have way too many symptoms and made me feel uncomfortable. Then he said I would need colonoscopy to see what’s going on and my regular dr. Says just to drink more water and eat more fiber. Which I do and doesn’t work. Someone please help, as least on how to get started. Or a meal plan to determine what affects me. Thanks

  72. Marina says

    Hi Rosalinda,

    You may want to eliminate fruits, nuts, dairy, grains if you do eat it. Try with simple meat/poultry/fish/eggs/vegetables strting with soupy/stew like. Start with small portions but often. See how you feel. You may want to eat less liquid but still soup like. you could play and have less veggies with meat, etc. try veggie juice slowly in the morning.

    Then add dairy , better homemade.

    you should feel the difference. The problem that could stay is bm-c. But in about two weeks you should have a better picture what could give you symptoms of bloating. Untill you eliminate fruits, nits, etc you you will never tell what is that…

  73. Kristin says

    I can’t digest fiber at all, total c. I don’t eat grains (or starch for that matter) or dairy, nuts only occasionally and they are always soaked and dehydrated, small amounts of protein and a handful of veggies with some healthy fats. I NEVER eat what one would consider a meal, too much food and too many types of food. Fruits cause gas for sure. I agree with Rosalinda but would still nix the dairy. I am keto by default, LOL. Carbs are always trouble for me. I just keep it simple and pretty much eat the same foods day in and day out, boring but I’d rather feel better. HCL has really helped me too.Trust me, I love my veggies but my stomach does not. I still eat them with every meal, just not alot of them.

  74. tam says

    I might try this. Unfortunately I was using bell peppers a lot for vitamin C. By the way insoluble fiber doesn’t do much to slow digestion. That’s why the glycemic index of whole wheat flour products is so high, although few people realize it.

  75. says

    I completely agree with your verdict on too many veggies causing abdominal distress: whenever I eat them I’m woken early in the morning by huge bubbles of gas moving painfully up the right side of my abdomen and back down the left. They are visible as lumps pressing against the skin.

    Unfortunately, my SO is strictly vegetarian so I can’t eat meat if we’re going to eat together. Any suggestions for vegetarian meals that would be suitable for someone with IBS-D who struggles to digest dairy, vegetables, nuts and beans?

    • Dennis Price says

      I’m vegan myself. I eat fruits. Lots of fruit. Any type /all types but mangoes, all kindsorite.For vegetables I eat tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, and summer squash, and any type of lettuce. I avoid all the tough time digest vegetables lusted above. As a backup plan for when I don’t have enough ripe fruit I’ll have sweet potatoes on hand to boil

  76. says

    Indeed!!! Coffee one of the main common foods to avoid since caffeine has a tendency to be dehydrating and can thus highly increase the risk of constipation. Also, coffee, chocolate and black tea should be avoided. Excess cups of coffee can lead to a condition known as caffeinism that includes restlessness, insomnia, increased urination and depression. Caffeine consumption can also raise intraocular pressure.

  77. frank says

    Hi everyone. Have you tried boiling your vegetables? Eastern cultures have boiled vegetables, and eaten only white grains for a very long time because they are simply easier to digest. Do not take my word for it, be aware of your body while eating and see for yourself.

    • Ali says

      Frank – so cool you just mentioned this. My husband recently asked me to do this for the whole fam. After we talked with a family that owns a Chinese restaurant. They are from Japan and said very very few people eat meat, but normal meals are rice porridge for BK, rice and veg soup for dinner or just steamed rice, dinner is rice with vegetables. Only the wealthy have meats with the dinner and its only on occasion. Veg. Is sways cooked there. I wonder how ill do bc raw veg. Is what helped me poop, cooked veg left me with no stools for days and rarely there after. Any suggestions??

        • Marina says

          Simple preparation of vegetables like boiling potatoes, cauliflower…Soups with more vegetable variety vegetarian with sour cream added to a plate or meat based. Also depends on time of the year and climate. I am from former Soviet Union and we had such a big diversity in climates and traditions…where I am from, central western area, were fewer vegetables. Meat or chicken or fish…Simple pasta with butter and cheese, buckwheat, oatmeal some rice?.. Cultural food choices also depends on economical and agricultural availability.
          …there were grains when I was born, real whole grains , my understanding of it now, that my mom had to soak and then cook for a very long time and then get through the sieve for us, kids.
          Also when rolled oatmeal became available it was used by cooking it without soaking….
          Bread was white and so called grey or black… Less or no grain fiber is easier to digest…so the entire soaking and long time cooking of whole grains was meant to achieve the same purpose, refining them. It is up to everyone culture, mood, stress level and tradition…alas, we are trying to eat as it was so called but life is different now and for whatever reason it is not talked about? Traditions to me are very important. As the culture of food was developed for centuries…when one can not eat potatoes by itself, probably stew with potatoes and pickles or soured cabbage in winter or new potatoes with butter, dill and, perhaps some kefir in summer are perfectly working… But stress type, food availability, life we have now is quite different so we only could adjust and try our best. With no dogma. And, by the way real fermented no yeast 100% rye bread though sounds like a perfect bread may not be a good bread for a person with gastritis and other digestive problems…more refined is much calmer…not super fresh from the oven, but fresh enough. Yes, dietary intervention is a must for all digestive disorders but going for a couple of years on quite limited protocol may not be a great idea…few months, perhaps, pending and certainly with a good doctor who will supervise a progress, not blindly putting on any protocol. As often, medical intervention with diet might be needed. And supplementation also must be taken under supervision…alas, very few doctors who do it…. And there are plenty of digestive disorders that might need to have variations of dietary changes for a grown up.
          Just my thoughts…

  78. says

    I do not eat green, leafy vegetables and I have not dropped dead. When I eat the paleo way, all my digestive issues go away. when I eat a salad, my gut goes into a tail spin.
    p.s.. ‘First of all, I’m not suggesting that you don’t eat these foods at all if you have digestive problems.
    My question is, ‘why not?’ If peopel suffer from eating a certain thing, I would think that logically, telling them not to eat it, instead of say it’s ok to eat it in reduced amounts, would be a good thing to do. Why are doctor’s and nutritonists so afraid to tell people not to eat vegetables? Especially when meat, and organ meat, are so very healthy for people?

  79. Jill says

    I’ve had trouble for years, and this is the first time I’ve seen someone come up with information that was pretty close to what I experienced, so thank you for that!

    I have learned through trial and error that if I try to avoid the “plant” portion of plants, I’m better off. If it’s a “root” or a “fruit” then, I’m usually okay. I realized I had a problem with lettuce 15 years ago, and then over time have added vegetables as I had reactions to them – first realizing I had a problem with other leafy vegetables like spinach, and then adding other vegetables that weren’t leafy, but were still “plants” like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower. So far, “legumes” seem to be okay for me, as well as corn, (despite being on your list, but I will probably try to pay closer attention.

    My reactions usually include the usual stomach pain, gas, etc, but I’ve found that sometimes I’ll also get tired and sort of confused and may get headaches too. And, other than avoiding “plants” I have not found other solutions to work (buying organic, cooking before eating, etc)

    I do have a few questions –
    Do you know if there is any type of medicine that can be taken to make it possible to eat these foods (e.g. beano, lactaid)?
    And, do you know of any groups for people with this problem? (The gluten-free thing has really taken off, but I don’t seem to have problems with gluten). Most of my doctors haven’t heard of this – it would be nice if there was some sort of group/knowledge base.

    Thanks again for saying it’s okay not to eat vegetables. It is nice to hear.

  80. Agata says

    Hi Chris
    Thanks for the article!
    It explains a lot. My 3 and a half year old son suffers from a constant belly pain, loose stools (at first, than it turns into loosish and sticky/stinky and lasts for weeks) and occasional heartburn. To my surprise I started to realize that it happens mostly after veggies and fruits! But not always and not all of them. Your article explains and shows the difference. I’ll try to avoid certain high in insoluble fiber ones and see how it goes. It’s all really difficult because once the reaction occurs it sometimes takes weeks to calm down his tummy. Last time it was runner beans – I know for sure.
    I was just wondering, do you think if juicing those vegetables would help, as it supposedly decreases the amount of fiber.
    One comment for EVERYBODY: do not trust everything you hear and read. What is good for one person is bad for another. I have learnt a lot from a book of dr Keith Scott- Mumby (won’t give the title as I am not advertising anything, just google it if interested). His book has changed the way I look at food and myself. Just check what is good for you, regardless of the guidelines and diet gurus. Listen to YOUR body.
    Good luck everyone!

  81. DAVID WILLIS says

    i started eating raw veg and fruit , not for any specific reason , and low and behold i soon realized that the chronic stomach acid i suffered with for years stopped , even the anti acids i git from my doc didn’t stop the acid reflux

    not everything affects everybody the same , it’s trial and error , it’s not a given

  82. Tab says

    I have Celiac Disease and even though I was strictly gluten-free I kept getting severe bloating at times and my doctor finally told me that people with gluten intolerance can’t digest things as well even if they are gluten free. So things that most people think are “healthy” like hearty whole grains, flax seeds, and raw vegetables, make me very sick! Now I feel so much better. I usually eat well cooked vegetables and more simple grains like white rice and potatoes and just small amounts of salad or even small amounts of some cooked vegetables like broccoli and kale. If anyone reading this is gluten intolerant, please try this!!!! It is a lifesaver!!!!

  83. says

    I love vegetables but do sometimes find that I have stomach discomfort. I’m going to pay extra-close attention to the veggies I eat those days and see if any of them are to blame (I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s been when I’ve made cabbage for dinner). I like the idea of mixing the harder-to-digest vegetables with easier-to-digest foods like simple grains and some proteins. I’m definitely going to try that out! I also find that adding digestive-friendly spices like ginger and fenugreek helps a lot.

  84. Michelle says

    Honestly I have no idea how vegetables could ever cause any bowel problems. The only time I’ve ever had any bowel problems was when I ate processed foods and meat and refined sugar. As soon as I cut those out I stopped being constipated and cramping, and that was a long time ago.
    I eat raw salads everyday and I make them with raw kale and chard. I can even eat raw vegetables on an empty stomach and never have problems. And when I steam purple kale I will eat the woody stalks… Still no problems. I swear I’m like a horse or a cow. I don’t think everyone is designed to eat exactly the same things just because we’re the same species. Herbivore w/ eggs and dairy seems to work for me.
    I don’t gain weight from carbs anymore then I would from fat, my whole family is thin regardless, my sister was even a runway model back in the day.
    Colon cancer runs in my family and my mom had IBS. She had alot of the same symptoms that I had before I switched to a vegetarian diet without processed crap. But she hates vegetables and barely eats any. She also cannot absorb vitamin b12. Then they found a large polyp on her colon. The only reason why she doesn’t have those symptoms now is because they took out half of her colon.
    Now my nephew has had constipation problems as soon as he was old enough to start eating food. They have to feed him prunes just to get him to go to the bathroom. And there seems to be a connection to feeding him meat and his constipation. It’s just something that runs on my moms side of the family. Oddly my niece has no problems at all and can eat anything.

  85. Lucy says

    THANK YOU for such a wonderful article that corroborates what I know to be true about my own body!!!!!!! When I eat a mainstream diet high in insoluable fiber from veggies, I am MISERABLE! I wish all the nutritionists and doctors that promulgate the silly fiber, vegetable, and whole grain quotas like there exists a one-size-fits-all approach could experience the ill-effects that I do for a week! I am seriously mad at these arrogant professionals who wreak havoc on the digestive systems of millions of people from their poor and ill-conceived advice.

    Soluable fiber is a godsend for me, but it is easily overpowered by consumption of too much of its evil cousin, insoluable fiber. The one food I have found most helpful is oats. I mix them in kefir and let it set for about 15 minutes to soften. This is my daily breakfast. Still, if I consume a big salad two days in a row, or lots of fruits or vegetables (other than roots), the soluable fiber benefits are quickly cancelled out. How anyone can eat the commonly recommended diet of fiber is beyond me. Until you have experienced the torturous effects of too much fiber, don’t put forth a solution to others that says, “Eat more fiber!”

    • Aly says

      Lucy – what else do you eat in a day?
      I am plants/only vegan most days, rarely do i throw in meats. I also notice the more paleo fats the less I go?
      My gas smells bc BMs are not complete. I read that insoluable fiber is what makes it move thru intestines, , so you must be getting some?
      When I eat oats I don’t go – I wonder if it has to do with the rest of my diet high in nonsweet and sweet fruits. I juice veggies but yes when I eat steamed or raw brocoli for example no BMs 4 me. Yet I rarely eat meat – so I had to ask what else you are eating.
      I would also love to know if meats actually help one go number 2?

  86. oded says

    Thank you for this post, I will defenitely give it a good try. I found what looks like a good specification
    of fiber content in different foods, but I am not sure what is actually considered high/low soluble/insoluble, should I consider the absolute amounts, or just the ratio between the 2 types – If someone can tell how do I figure from these values what is considered high vs low vs moderate, that would be great !

    http://www.jacksongi.com/fiber-content-of-foods/vegetables-and-legumes?pg=2

    cheers

  87. ann says

    I have suffered and I do mean suffered for years with digestion issues. However last year (December 2012) something set it off and the pain lasted for over three months. It was horrible. After experimenting with what I was eating which was basically nothing I finally got relief, however it was short lived. The pain returned in June 2013 and last until August. It was during this time that my doctor suggested the vegetables. I rarely ate raw broccilli, cauliflower, etc. But we were eating salads like they were going out of style. My stomach was so bloated I felt pregnant, finally at the urging of my doctor I quit vegetables (raw) and I got relief, I also started taking activated charcoal. I have/had been pain free for about 3 months until this week when I ate broccilli and even though it was cooked I have had tremendous pain and bloating and constipation. I started thinking of all the vegetables I have eaten with no pain and my list agrees with the list you provide. Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, squash and carrots. Having a better understanding is so very helpful, I am gaining weight now which is not a great thing but feeling better overall.

  88. Solar says

    I have had problems with green veggie consumption all my life. (Particularly the very dark green ones.) They have always given me major acid reflux, indigestion and bathroom probs. When I was boarding, the lady who owned the house did a lot of cooking with them. Not wanting to upset her I forced myself and then spent the night on Rolaids etc. Since having my own place, I haven’t eaten them and my stomach problems etc disappeared. Since I know that the veggies are good, I’ve been having V8 Fusion hoping that would help since it has veggies in it. Seems to be working.

  89. Dab says

    I can eat a lot of carbs with protien and I’ll feel great. I thought I would try to eat a bit healthier by having a big salad for lunch, with snacks of carrots and strawberrys. Well did my colon not like that at all. Cramps and running to the toilet frequencly. Going to have to take that down to a low level. Its a shame, because I really liked eating all these raw foods as main meals. Tired of eating crappy processed foods.

  90. Gino says

    I’m 5’11 (232 lbs) and I’ve been going to the intestinal specialist for 8 years. I tried everything and nothing works and the doctor told me lose weight! lose weight! eat better! eat better! so I got and the end of my rope and stop eating for 4 months just liquid and soups made from scratch (vegies) everybody start getting real scared I was down to 171 from 232 pounds!!! I lost 61 pounds and look skinny and you know what I felt worst on a empty stomach or full so now I’m at a respectable 191 for my size still hurting and really fed up of life!!!!

  91. Sam says

    I had c-dif for approximately a year and a half (it went undiagnosed because I didn’t have the normal symptoms of diarrheah, rather I had constipation with loose stools when I was able to move my bowels.) But since I had a fecal transplant this past September, I’ve been feeling better and better every day and several stool tests have shown that I am cdiff free. About a week and a half ago I began a strict raw food/vegetable/nut diet in order to detox my body, despite the fact that my digestive tract isn’t 100% better yet. At first I was going to the bathroom and cleaning out fully at least once a day, yet I saw a ton of undigested fruits and veggies in my stool I think this dietary change was a mistake- I’ve been having a lot of abdominal pain and bloating for the past two days ( I thought it was a phytobezoar from all the persimmons I’ve been eating but my gastro says it isn’t) and I am not able to move my bowels much. I get the feeling that I have to go, but when I do almost nothing comes out, and what does is rather loose. As soon as I started feeling pain I went back to a cooked food diet, but I still can’t move my bowels much. I am pretty uncomfortable and worried. Do you think this set back is just due to a dietary change gone awry considering my intestines weren’t back to their fully working condition again? It seems odd that I would suddenly have c-dif again after having several tests done over the past few months to ensure that it’s gone, all having come back negative for the bug.
    I’m a bit worried to say the least.

    • Lorraine says

      @Sam. It is possible that c-diff can hide and not show up on the tests. I don’t know for sure but it is possible with other gut bugs. It is clear your gut is still not really well. Once it gets inflamed it can take a long time to heal and be really sensitive to many foods. I have had gut problems since childhood and have tried many diets. What I have learned is to find my safe foods and to keep going back to them. No diet worked perfectly but I am doing really well now after years of experimentation. I may have got there quicker if I had listened to my body more and other people less. A few things worth passing on are: 1. digestion is King: pooping out undigested food is a sign you are not digesting well. Pay close attention to what your gut is telling you. 2. fermented vegetables as mentioned in this article really help digestion 3. gelatin (L-glutamine) is very healing for the gut and the best and cheapest source is to slowly simmer meat joints and skin. Look up making bone broth. 4. Eliminate food until you find your safe envelope and retreat there quickly every time you get inflamed. Be kind and forgiving to your body. May 2014 be your year to be really well.

  92. Laura says

    I had bloody loose stools, cramps/bloating, cystic acne, lower back pain, migraines 2+ times per month (bad enough to make me throw up), and lethargy from age 24-30. When I turned 30 I changed to a whole foods plant based diet (with occasional vegan cupcakes/unhealthy stuff here and there). About 6 months into the diet I noticed that my back pain was gone, as were my digestive problems, but I still had some issues. When I was about 32 I stopped eating bread and wheat on a regular basis, only once in a while as a treat. That made my migraines and cystic acne go away. I am elated. I am now 35, a runner for the first time in my life, my skin is glowing.. I have more running/hiking stamina than I did when I was 18! I feel amazing! Hope this helps someone out there.. everybody is different!

  93. Diana VP says

    Conclusion? A Paleo diet did not alleviate my constipation and raw vegetables were irritating my gut. Juicing them is giving me the benefit of the pre-biotic enzymes without the fiber, and regularity.
    Chronic constipation was my life. Medical providers recommended Metamusil (psyllium husk) and stool softeners, prune juice, bran cereal. The prune juice gave me massive gas and painful cramps, as do raisins. Eating bran cereal with milk years ago just stopped me up more. Nothing helped.
    In the past several years of trying to identify my food offenders, I have tried eating vegetarian, and vegan, but still felt miserable, bloated and irrational most of the time. About two years ago I read about the paleo diet, and haven’t looked back since. My mood and weight are stable. I no longer feel I am going cookoo. But it did not alleviate my constipation.
    I have read many posts by people whose constipation has been relieved with a paleo diet, and I just want to say that hasn’t been the case for me. It has been very frustrating not knowing why I am always constipated, or alternate with that and diarrhea. Fortunately, I have been able to piece together some answers for myself. One is that it is important to remember that we are not all alike in our digestive issues. What works for one person may not work for another. That’s why I like Chris’ Paleo Template approach. Paleo is not one size fits all.
    Suspecting that I have a leaky gut, I have been making my own bone broth (healing the gut lining) and sauerkraut (probiotics). Just this week I made my first batch of beet kvass! Recently I tested positive for sensitivities to eggs, dairy, certain nuts (almonds, walnuts, filberts) and nightshades, so I have eliminated those things from my diet, which helped with the bloating, but not really with the constipation. Even though I take 600mg of powdered Magnesium Citrate daily, I would not be regular. Until … we bought a juicer and started juicing vegetables. For the past 10 days I have been regular daily and have had outstanding elimination, for the first time in my life!
    I make sure I do not eat raw vegetables, only raw vegetable juice, until my gut is healed. I am also taking an enzyme capsule before every meal to help with digestion. So for me it seems that Chris is right on target with too much insoluble fiber. I will be juicing daily for some time now, since it is a lengthy process healing a leaky gut. Thanks Chris for the brilliant information and insight you share with us. You are greatly appreciated!

  94. Kate H says

    Limiting insoluble fiber definitely helps! Also, making sure soluble fiber hits my stomach first. I eliminated all coffee and alcohol (which helped!) but when I *still* have problems after that I can *always* trace it to too much insoluble fiber. Which is a bummer for weight loss, since those are the low calorie foods that still help you feel full.

  95. jayson says

    ha every time i go to the doctor i tell them more then they know… or would like to admit to know. the only reason i go to the doctor is to have labs, biopsies, and if i break a bone or need some support cast. everything else our amazing body can handle if the environment is right (food, water, air, mind)

  96. Cindy says

    Kia Ora Chris

    I’ve had IBS for 20 years. I’ve found that high fibre is a no go for me, I’m actually better off eating white bread, preferably chewy white bread (French style). Corn is definitely out. I cannot tolerate most fruits either. I recently tried the SCD diet, make my own chicken soup, yogurt, nut flour muffins, mince patties (ground beef) eat honey andeggs. Something is making my stools mushy and I read somewhere it’s too much protein. If I cannot eat fibre (veges, fruits brown grains) and protein, what can I eat? Strangely enough if I eat organic porridge (oats) soaked overnight to remove phytates then that’s ok but I cannot live on porridge alone. Your advice would be much appreciated

    Kind regards
    Cindy (bottom (excuse the pun) of New Zealand)

  97. Terri says

    I have been diagnosed with gastroparesis, the official wording was “significantly reduced digestion”. The pain, bloating, consitpation and nausea were really bad at first because of a bad suggestion to get more fiber. Later I read a book about gastroparesis eating and confirmed with a better GI doctor that I should eat less fiber and fat. The book was very useful and I highly recommend it. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Living-Well-Gastroparesis-Answers-
    Healthier/dp/0615547753/ref=pd_sim_b_1

    Still have problems with pain, although it reduced to the point that I can do more than sleep all day, and the other symptoms are much better since limiting my veggies especially. Wish everyone luck with their digestive issues.

  98. Bridgit says

    I’ve noticed a considerable difference in my digestive troubles by reducing veggies high in insoluble fiber. I also take a daily prebiotic. I don’t ignore the nutritional benefits of vegetables though. For example, if eating a salad of raw vegetables and greens, I simply reduce the amount I eat. There’s a huge misconception out there about portion sizes, too. This is where writing down what and how much you eat of a particular food can reveal what foods don’t jive with your digestive system. Thanks for your article. Friends and relatives for years have disagreed with my seemingly low intake of green vegetables. Understanding that not every gut is created equally has merit.

  99. Lesley says

    I thought I was doing a good thing by increasing my intake of veg to 5 cups/day and 2-3 fruit/day. I now have such bad bloating I look like I’m pregnant! I hope it resolves soon I don’t want to leave the house like this!!

  100. sunny says

    Hey everyone. I just hate IBS. I really do. even after taking several enemas including I think it was microlax or miralax and movicol and normicol plus and some laxatives I see no great improvement. The enemas help a bit but I still have severe constipation and soo much gas and bloating I lost so much weight too. I actually feel heavier than before due to the bloating and pain. Am now about 97Ib and 5’3″ and a half. the funny thing is that the doctor told me to eat more vegetables!!! I did and it doesn’t work. My food also doesn’t get digested properly so ill try the “limiting vegetable approach.” thanks for this article :)

  101. Carmen says

    Try eating for your blood type! Seems good for me so far…. Suffered with IBS and Diverticular Disease for many years until I myself did a little research….. Eat For Your Blood Type! And I’m also maintaining a better weight. Feeling not so lethargic…. Worth a shot! Good luck.

  102. helen says

    well i have ibs and hashimotos but have more problem with vegetables that are in your high in soluble fiber category. the cause me intense stomach cramps and will cause diarrhea not all but most in that category and it is the ones which are sweet tasting i love the taste but the other category only onions are a problem. i have had ibs for 32 years would like something that helps me be able to eat veg with out the cramps i have been paleo for 2 months we will see what that does

  103. Bee says

    So what would a balanced meal specificallylook like if llimiting ur veg? Veggies help keep my satiated, but they def don’t digest and I deal with bad constipation too

  104. Malaena says

    Squash is not a vegetable, it is a fruit related to blueberries. Plantains are also a fruit related to bananas. Just a heads up.

    My issue is that for a while I was eating plant source foods because I could not afford meat and it sent me to the hospital with B-vitamin deficiencies. I am a self-proclaimed carnivore, I love meat, especially wild meat, and I eat it raw, warmed up most of the time, but raw. I find that most people with gut problems tend to be vegans, which is sad really. The human body is not meant to process all that plant material like a cow or horse.

    But there are diseases like Crohn’s and IBS that run rampant, those people need to seek advice from specialists if they can afford it. Gut problems can get in the way of life. Thanks for the article though, it really puts things into perspective about how the body handles a food that it cannot actually digest (bacteria in our gut digest it, but we do not have a big enough stomach/gut with flora in it to ferment it like herbivores, our enzymes and acids break down protein perfectly).

  105. Brooks says

    I’m glad to know that the rule of eating 6-7 servings of veggies isn’t scientific. I have been trying to do that and I have IBS and it has been so hard on me to eat veggies…even cooked. I like fruits but now they are saying they are high in sugar. Good grief. Is anything really good for us anymore?

  106. says

    I have had stomach pains after eating apples, bananas, and celery on a raw stomach for years. I’ve searched everywhere for a cause. My doctor even laughed at me when I asked her why I have stomach pain. She told me to eat a cheeseburger instead of veggies–hah. Thank you so much for the list of insoluble vs soluble. I just came off terrible stomach pain after snacking on raw celery, and googled and found you. Thanks for finally making it so clear!

  107. Lorraine Moyes says

    Yep, worked for me. Had gut issues for some time….was eating lots of veges (thinking I was doing the RIGHT thing and being super healthy)…my gut was getting worse and worse. Has taken 3 years to get a handle on it. Docs kept telling me to eat more fibre. Then another would tell me it’s just that I’m getting old (that was a goodie, like – who’s getting young?). Had colonoscopys (Dad died of bowel cancer at a younger age than I am now), went to natural therapists of all varieties, tried prescription drugs. Nothing helped. About 2 weeks ago I decided to severely restrict greens – now only eat zucchini, small amount of green peas, lots of pumpkin, sweet potato etc – haven’t had a rough night (wind, pain, horrible all night long !!!) since then. Hoping it continues. Mind of miss my broccoli and cauliflower (used to have huge meals with mostly veges) but love not having pain. And also not being constipated…how about that? Also helped with that problem. Hope this helps others.

  108. Lainey says

    I had my Gyno (of all people) tell me to stoo eating raw green leafy veggies. We juice everu=y morning and 90% of it is green raw leafy veggies.

    she said steamed or cooked is ok, so going to try it and see.

    I had H-pylori and SIBO and those both have been eradicated but now its IBS. every single day I am in pain and have lost 50+lbs

  109. says

    Yes! Ok! I’m in my 40′s and had always eaten anything I wanted. I had the stomach of a goat. Then two years ago I had gall bladder surgery and all changed. They said Don’t eat meat and fat. Eat rice and veggies. I did. I was sicker than I’d been so far! Many months after surgery I had had it! I felt like I was worse than I was before surgery. Everything I ate made me sick! I went to the Paleo-style diet and only ate excellent quality beef, chick and fish! My stomach began improving steadily. I still get horribly ill and vomit the entire following day anytime I eat any type of green salad. Yes I’ve tried plain romaine and homemade vinaigrette, I’ve experimented….it ALL makes me ill. My don’t surgeons and many other medical professionals know that the post gall bladder surgery diet they are prescribing is making people really sick! I’ve talked to literally dozens of people who’ve had the surgery in recent years and they were ALL told the same thing I was, and MANY were really sick, didn’t know why, and took it upon themselves to change their diet and only then got relief.

    Thank you!
    Carrieb

  110. Hedge says

    Awesome details…..just what i needed in order to still benefit from solid foods…mashed sweet potatoes and beets I love…I will try those. Thanks a bunch!!!

  111. Alice says

    During the past few years I started caring more about my health and consuming a nutritious diet. As a result, I now consume a large quantity of fiber, especially vegetables. However, over the past few years and especially the past few months, I’ve been having digestive issues and often feel bloated and gassy after meals and I regularly need to go to the bathroom. In the last week or so, I decided I was sick of feeling uncomfortable after eating and visited the doctor. I’ve currently handed in some stool samples (still waiting for the results) and will get blood tests done on Monday to find out if I have any food allergies. I thought it might have been dairy, even though I experience it after most meals, which don’t necessarily have dairy in them. I also just read a book on digestive issues and it said that the cure was to go completely plant-based and cut out any animal products (basically vegan). So today I bought a tonne of vegies and fruits and thought today I would begin my plant-based diet. However, it is now the end of the day and I’m in complete pain! I worked it out on calorie count (a website) and I’ve consumed 45 grams of fiber and no dairy. This made me question that maybe fiber was my problem, as these days I have a lot of it in every meal. Then reading this article has basically clarified to me that fiber could in fact be the cause of my digestive issues over the past year and I definitely feel like I should start trying to limit (I’ll still eat enough of it, but not too much).

    • Heather says

      see my comment below – I too was eating in the range of 40 grams of fiber a day – a lot of it from lentils and brown rice. the improvement after I really cut back on insoluble fiber (I still eat plenty of veg, tho) was remarkable. the final thing I had to give up was my great big salad for lunch – the lettuce, even if chopped just did not agree with me. I also take digestive enzymes and probiotics, but had been for over a year before reducing fiber finally got me healthy again :) good luck!

  112. Soren Kikon says

    Hi– I ve stomach ache , cramps , diarrhae ,gas for quite sometime now — kindly suggest proper diet n also wat could b te reason– my doctor gave me oxaflaxon n orindazole n was k for sometime but m havin problem again– thanks

  113. Olga says

    Hi, Chris,
    I’d like to thank you for the wonderful article. I can confirm that vegetables with high insoluble fiber such as spinach, cabbage, kale make me constipated, although zucchini, cucumber, yam and squash normalize my stool. For about 2 years and 6 months I have been observing the diet issues with my weaken digestion due to, I believe, aging problem.

    • Kristin says

      Olga,
      I have been low carb and constipated all my life. I only ate green veggies and zero starch. I have recently added 2 oz sweet potato to all 3 meals and carrots and black beans to one of them and now I never miss a day, sometimes more than once. I’m not sure which is doing it but it sure works like a charm!!!

      • Olga says

        Hi, Kristin
        Thanks for sharing your diet “magic”, may I know how do you make sweet potato (pure, fry..) and carrots with black beens too? I also believe the way of cooking may change the final result. By the way traditionaly we use lots of saturated fat with veggies like lard, ghee and becon.
        Thanks again,
        Olga

        • Kristin says

          Hi Olga,
          I do agree cooking may change things but the sweet potatoes are one of the few things I microwave. I usually don’t put anything on them, just straight up. occasionally I will roast them in a little oil. I don’t cook in saturated fat except for eggs and I use a little Kerry Gold butter. I use Edens organic black beans and just use my emersion blender to make Hummus. They are soaked in Kombu seaweed and this makes them easier to digest. I dip carrots and celery in it. Something about this combination works wonders. I don’t eat large portions either. 2 oz each but at all three meals usually. I have recently been diagnosed with adult onset type 1 diabetes and have to monitor my carbs so at this point, eating the same things makes it easier. I vary my proteins and fats and vegetables and always have cold and cooked vegetables along with the potato and beans. I NEVER ate starch before but like I said, it’s my magic bullet for constipation. I hope this helps.

  114. John R says

    Wow! I can’t beleive I read almost two years of posts. so interesting. I have celiac disease (diagnosed Sept. 2012) but going gluten free seemed to only help 50-65%. I don’t have stool. I have water. I would love to have a stool ponce again but I haven’t a clue what to add or eliminate from my diet since no combinstion really works. I do find that a primal/paleo diet I started a couple of weeks ago has made me feel better in some ways – sleep, bloating, but food just trvels through me lickety split in liquid form no matter how much insoluble fiber I avoid. I done so many food journals and elination diets and have not found any answers. I know that generally veggies are agreeable and why I’m here. No what.

  115. Maria says

    I have done everything, as everyone stated above. Steam veggies, raw veggies, more veggies, less veggies. More fruit, less fruit, more water, less water, more protein, less protein, liquid diets, cut out processed foods, breads, soak nuts, soak grains. Over and over, and over.

    Guess what, some peoples bodies, just cannot break down foods. I noticed I had constipation since I was 14 years old, I am now 54, my liver was congested from infrequent bowel movements.

    Finally after lots of money down the drain for the next great fix, doctor visits, guess what it’s called, ENZYMES, IT BREAKS YOUR FOOD DOWN. Eat smaller portions of veggies and FRUIT, not a lot at one time, and when you eat raw VEGGIES, roll them in your favorite healthy oil, or drizzle your salad with your favorite oil, this is called LUBRICATION!

    Also, add you some magnesium in there too!

    I found my cure!

  116. Colzy says

    Hi,

    I had been suffering from a chronic anal fissure and hemorriohds for over six months, extreme pain, and at the end of my tether and awaiting surgery.

    Doctors advice eat more fibre, so started eating bran flakes for breakfast, salads for lunch and swapped to brown rice/pasta/bread and upped my fruit and veg in take.

    I couldn’t understand why I was getting worse, large hard dry stools, several times a day and made my condition much worse, pain and bloating also followed. I did some research and found out about soluble and insoluble fibre, I cut out all insoluble fibre and started eating only soluble fibre.

    Wow what a difference my stools are like puff’s of air, easy to pass, only go once a day, no pain, gas or bloating – it really has changed my life, I have healed and no longer require surgery.

    I can not believe the advice of my GP and Consultant, why did they not know or explain about soluble and insoluble fibre – 6 months of extreme pain for no reason

    • Heather says

      I saw your comment about fissures and wanted to share that I, too, had a fistulotomy while on a high-fiber diet. see my comment below for my story. YAY for both of us :)

  117. Rasha Mansy says

    I’m glad I found this article. It explained the pain I’m suffering from this week. I started a new diet and I ate in one day lettuce, green pepper and green beans. I had painful diarrhea on that day and now I hv stomach ache that only white toast will make it go away!!!

  118. Cate says

    Chris, just found this article and I can’t stop nodding my head in agreement! You’ve validated everything I’ve been saying for years now — through a lot of not-so-pleasant trial and error. I limit my vegetables (6-8 servings a day?? Are they kidding?!), and often put them in my mini food processor and chop them into tiny bits before steaming them to death. People think I’m crazy and all I can say is this is how I (i.e. my gut) can happily tolerate them. One big discovery just occurred 3 weeks ago: I can’t handle wheat. I used to live on pasta and bread when my IBS flared, and I finally figured out it was making me worse. I’ve seen 95% improvement since eliminating wheat — and it happened within 24 hours. Whether it’s gluten or the FODMAP in wheat, I don’t know or care. Bread and wheat pasta are out! I also just started drinking kefir a few days ago (ordered grains to make my own) and fermenting vegetables, which I’ll eat once my body adjusts to the probiotics in the kefir. Thanks for writing on all these topics!

  119. jacob natoli-henry says

    i have been underweight since i was 13 years old. i didn’t know what to eat. milk and dairy gave me the wet poo. fruits and vegis hurt me too. my parents only bought 2 pounds of meat a week(be it fish or w.e) we had tons of grains in the house and i was always sickly. finaly i moved out of my house and took out a $10,000 loan to invest in myself and eat healthy. in the first 3 months i gained 40 pounds of weight alone(i was 115) i know look and feel healthier then ever before. i got finanly had an interview that the dude didnt think i was on drugs and i got hired without knowing someone inside the company.. however i was still sick like diarrhea lots of bloating and gas in the morning and just overall sucky but better than starving. Then i cut back on fruits AND VEGIS(started loading up on aspargus) and loading up on protien and meats i drink over a gallon of water a day and even more than 2 if i sweat alot. the gas and bloating are nearly eliminated. iv been rllly sick the past 2 days but im hopeful i really think i was plauged by the candida virus. i dont even look fat after gaining all that weight either. my stomach was huge until i cut oui fruits and vegis and any grains now its fit and lean.

    my advice EAT MEAT EAT FISH EAT fruits and vegetables seasonally(or find out what your gut likes you know yourself better than i do) just like our ancestors have done for hundreds of thousands of years. also i belive that even though grain has only been introduced in the past 10,000 years that many people would benefit alot from ancient grains. i belive while many think evolution takes millions of heres for anything significant to happen. i think the bacteria in our gut has changed much faster than us. and i belive that we have gut bacteria that can break down grain thAT 10,000 YEARS AGO OUR ANCETORS COULD NOT EAT BUT WE CAN EAT BECAUSE our gut bacteria has been going through millions and billions of generations.

  120. Samm says

    Hi All,
    Since it became pregnant I’ve had a serious problem digesting green veg and these “insoluble fiber” products. If I stop eating them it helps, but I’d like to maintain my life style so I’ve tried a few things. A multivitamin with intestinal probiotics, and also added some gut health vitamin which is considered a bacteria. They have helped but I still have issues. Cooking veg or eating fermented veg as suggested here doesn’t remedy these problems either.
    A few points raised that concern me; the author suggested that we might in fact be causing inflammation and therefor hurting ourselves if we continue to eat these offenders? Hmm, that is a major concern. Also, a poster suggested taking too many supplements to “cure” the problem may lead down another road we don’t want to go! Point taken.
    Now, lastly, and it spoke to a gal about the Paleo Revolution that us going in now; no grains is the key. I’m going to try this now, and also no more raw veg. The key is everyone has different issues here. We all must take what we read lightly….figure out what works best for you and your stomach.

  121. Sue says

    Hi, I have a strange thing that happens and cannot figure it out…I go through a very HARD detox when I go off wheat/gluten…to the point where I have hard, burning pain in my stomach, my digestive tract becomes spasmed and hard to even walk and function. My digestion becomes very impaired and I don’t tolerate much of anything. This would be ok if it were just for a time BUT it doesn’t seem to let up! The longest I have been able to go was one month! I also go into a depression and get very low and weepy and don’t want to go out to be around people! Which is so not like me! If I eat a little wheat again, then it calms back down to my “normal” upset/bloat/joint pain that I experience when eating wheat. I have tried so many different ways to eat during this time, juicing only, eating only chicken broth with chicken (couldn’t handle fats)…etc. But I always end up in this same place of pain. Any thoughts on this Dr. Kessler?? I feel so stuck! I want off the wheat because I know it’s creating a lot of issues for me (have had severe digestive issues since a young child) Anyone here experience anything like this?

  122. Sue says

    NOTE: The email on my first comment is no longer valid so using my new one here.

    Hi, I have a strange thing that happens and cannot figure it out…I go through a very HARD detox when I go off wheat/gluten…to the point where I have hard, burning pain in my stomach, my digestive tract becomes spasmed and hard to even walk and function. My digestion becomes very impaired and I don’t tolerate much of anything. This would be ok if it were just for a time BUT it doesn’t seem to let up! The longest I have been able to go was one month! I also go into a depression and get very low and weepy and don’t want to go out to be around people! Which is so not like me! If I eat a little wheat again, then it calms back down to my “normal” upset/bloat/joint pain that I experience when eating wheat. I have tried so many different ways to eat during this time, juicing only, eating only chicken broth with chicken (couldn’t handle fats)…etc. But I always end up in this same place of pain. Any thoughts on this Dr. Kessler?? I feel so stuck! I want off the wheat because I know it’s creating a lot of issues for me (have had severe digestive issues since a young child) Anyone here experience anything like this?

  123. Heather says

    after 10+ years of abdominal swelling, gas and daily morning urgency and diarrhea I have finally figured out to avoid high-histamine foods as well as high insoluble fiber foods. It took a long time to figure out because there were 2 triggers, but I share this because there is hope for those of us with persistent problems. these diet modifications are a pain but it has completely eliminated my symptoms (the fiber part took a couple of weeks to completely clear up) and it is AMAZING to feel normal again. I can travel, don’t get up hours before everyone else so as not to be embarrassed and generally feel very healthy. YAY!

  124. M-T says

    I love my raw vegetables and fruit! So I decided to go as much raw as possible and have experienced abdominal pains ever since. I am still having my gut investigated but noticed that whenever I eat bread, cheese and ‘certain’ cooked vegetables, my gut issues dissipate. If I dare each a raw vegetable (which I don’t anymore), they come back! It is sad as I love crunching ‘living’ foods.

  125. Nicole says

    Interesting article. I’ve googled “not digesting vegetables” and ended up here.

    Ever since I came out of oral surgery and had 2 weeks of antibiotics, then 3 roothcanals and another 3 antibiotics treatments of 3 weeks total… My gut has never been the same. Taking daily heavy doses of probiotics doesn’t help nor prescription meds to stop “going”. Your article will surely help some so I’m going to give it a try! Thanks!

  126. Kim Ohlweiler says

    I was diagnosed with celiac disease about a year ago, and also have IBS. After being on a gluten free diet for a year, I was better but still had diarrhea and abdominal pain. My doctor had me try a soothing, simple diet for 5 days (pureed carrots, chicken soup that is only stock and chicken, plain gelatin flavored with 100% fruit juice, and broiled burgers) then start adding foods in from the low FODMAP list. I discovered that I am casein intolerant, and, surprisingly, I can’t eat almost any vegetables! Your article is the first I’ve read that supports my findings and makes me feel like I’m okay to not eat as many vegetables as I have always been told to eat. I am now out of pain, I have lost 12 pounds, and I can feel my gut healing. It’s clear that a diet that will work is so individual that you just have to go through the process of learning what’s okay for you.

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