Boiled Eggs and Wine Diet? Surely we know better now, don’t we?
You’ve probably seen the boiled eggs and wine diet floating around social media. Rumor has it, this ran in a 1970s edition of a fashion magazine. We can just picture the carpool mom in bell-bottom jeans, cruising through the pick-up line at school in the family station wagon, gassy and half-drunk at 4 pm. Or at the supermarket on Monday morning, assuring the checker, “I do not have a drinking problem. These six bottles of Chablis are for my diet. I saw it in last month’s Vogue. It’s how those models stay skinny, ya know.”
Oh, we laugh. It’s easy for us to scorn the fad diets of our mothers and grandmothers. After all, we have advanced food science now. We’ve got apps on our phones that count calories and track our fiber intake. We’ve got probiotics and organic kale… and kombucha. We’re in the know about what it takes to be healthy because…duh, science.
But are we really?
In 1970, around 10% of Americans were obese. Today, almost 40% of us are way too heavy. In a 2018 survey, 74% of adults said they have persistent digestive symptoms, and 89% admitted food is probably the problem.
Yeah, maybe it’s easy for us to see that the boiled eggs and wine diet from four decades ago is nonsense, but are we really doing any better today?
If you struggle with weight, fad diets and miracle cures can be tempting, even when you know better. If you’re one of the millions of Americans dealing with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), though, extreme dieting can be downright dangerous. The wrong foods can send your system into a tailspin, causing unbearable pain, uncontrollable diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, and a host of other debilitating symptoms that last for days on end.
Being skeptical of crash diets and supposed miracle foods is smart. It’s also smart to find a trustworthy source of information about digestive health, especially when it comes to food. At Vivante Health, we are the digestive health experts. Everything we do is grounded in science, backed by research, and proven effective.
SCD and Low-FODMAP Diets
There are two science-based clinical nutrition plans in particular that people with chronic digestive conditions, like IBS and IBD, find incredibly helpful. These diets, with the guidance and support of a registered dietitian, have been shown to reduce inflammation, repair damaged gut tissue, get IBS symptoms under control, and even achieve remission from IBD.
Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
What is it? A nutrition plan aimed at reducing inflammation by sticking to only unprocessed grain-free, sugar-free, and starch-free foods.
The science: By cutting out complex carbs, lactose, sucrose and other unnatural ingredients, the body can actual heal itself and gut microbes can stabilize, eventually returning to optimal levels. Basically, when harmful bacteria in the GI tract are starved out, friendly bacteria that normally live there can return in full force, helping your body digest foods properly again. This means inflammation settles down, you get proper nourishment from the foods you eat, you experience a major reduction in symptoms, and your quality of life is much improved.
Forever diet? Nope. Once you get the hang of it and your symptoms subside, you might want to stick with it for a while, to stay symptom free and allow your gut to fully heal. But after you’ve been in remission for a good stretch and your gut is in solid shape, you can and should add more foods back into your diet to make sure you’re getting proper nutrition. Occasionally you might even splurge—in moderation—on a favorite food you’ve been missing. This varies from person to person, though. Some find they don’t even crave their old trigger foods after doing the SCD.
What is it? An elimination diet that helps you identify trigger foods and heal the gut. For this diet you cut out all FODMAPs and add them back in, one by one, until you’ve identified all your trigger food groups.
The science: FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. (Yeah, it’s a mouthful.) FODMAP foods are not absorbed well in the small intestine if you have IBS or IBD. This is a problem in itself, but what complicates matters even more is that some gut bacteria really love FODMAPs. What’s so bad about that? Well, a byproduct of these bacteria is gas, and a lot of it. Excessive gas production is one of the biggest causes of IBS symptoms. With a low-FODMAP diet, you minimize fermentation and gas production in the gut by essentially starving out the harmful bacteria. It’s pretty cool—and clever.
Forever diet? Nope. Like the SCD, after symptoms are well controlled, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of your trigger foods and can avoid those while adding others back in safely. In many cases, people are able to heal their guts and find they respond less severely to some of the foods that used to really tear them up.
Before you jump straight into the SCD or low-FODMAP diet, hold up. The info above is a very simplified overview. We highly, highly recommend talking to your healthcare provider before attempting one of these diets. Even then, it’s best to have the support of a wise dietitian when doing the SCD or low-FODMAP diet. Research shows you’re more likely to stick with it and have much better success if you’ve got an expert to lean on when you hit a snag.
With the GIThrive gut health program from Vivante, members are assigned a Care Team of digestive health experts, which includes a registered dietitian. Ask your HR department at work if your company offers GIThrive from Vivante Health.