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Gluten & Dairy
Life With Bile Acid Diarrhoea
Information on diet and BAD is limited. However, it is recommended that a low fat diet (less than 40g a day and not all at once) is followed. The majority of us have found that a low fat diet is a necessity but many of us also have other trigger foods that we find affect our BAD symptoms causing increased diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. Many of us have also found that eating smaller meals more frequently has helped finding the right balance.
Common trigger foods are gluten, wheat, dairy, high fibre, spices, garlic and processed foods. What we have found is that we are all different and with the exception of low fat we have found that what works for one of us, e.g. no dairy, does not necessarily work for everyone else. It is important that you try to have a balanced diet of protein, fruit and vegetables, carbohydrate and calcium. A dietician can support you with this and help you to identify your trigger foods. You can ask your GP or Consultant to refer you to a dietician.
Eating a low fat diet is challenging and you have to be careful of the hidden fats in substances, particularly ready prepared foods. Many manufactures provide a traffic light system on the front of the packaging. However, you do need to check whether the fat content is for the whole product or a proportion of the product.
For example the product per 100g contains 7.5g of fat but the product is one whole serving weighing 300g and actually contains 22.5g of fat if you ate the whole thing.
Many of us have found that cooking from scratch, although more time consuming, makes it much easier to achieve less than 40g of fat a day. There are now many reduced or low fat versions of butter, cheese, crème fraiche, yoghurts, cottage cheese and quark which can be utilised. Switching to lower fat meats such as white meat parts of chicken and turkey, venison, ostrich, kangaroo and rabbit can also help. If you are missing your lamb, pork and beef then have these in moderation and choose the learner cuts (ask your butcher if you are unsure).
Non oily fishes are also a good alternative to meats. When buying salmon, look out for wild salmon which has a much lower fat content than farmed salmon. It is now widely available in supermarket freezer sections and is beginning to be seen on fresh fish counters. A note of caution if you buy low fat processed meals and sweet treats, these can be high in sugar and also a number of them contain laxative ingredients such as sorbitol which can actually increase your diarrhoeal symptoms.
Eating out can prove very difficult with BAD. There are many hidden fats in food substances and in the oil used to cook them. What may appear to be a low fat option on the menu could actually have lots of olive or vegetable oil in it which increases the fat content. For example one table spoon of olive oil used in cooking contains 14.7 grams of fat!! In the home you can switch to oil sprays which greatly reduce the content but in a restaurant these are unlikely to be used and you will need to educate your friends and family on the hidden fats such as cooking with oil.
Specialist dietary blogger, Abi Purrington will be supporting BAM Support UK in providing advice and tips on diet adaptations, particularly low fat alternatives along with recipe ideas for the sensitive bowel. Please note that we cannot recommend any specific dietary change, the information provided by Abi is a there as a guide to what dietary changes may help and we advise you should always discuss any significant diet adaptations with your GP and /or dietician.
For further information and to access Abi’s recipes and advice please refer to our comprehensive Dietary Advice section.