If you have the digestion and absorption issues that are common with IBS, Gastroparesis and other gastrointestinal problems along with the inability to process many carbohydrates, you probably find it impossible to incorporate enough fiber into your diet. The simple solution is to add a fiber supplement, but most fiber supplements are plant based and contain high carbohydrate content. Therefore, they can easily upset the systems of people with carbohydrate intolerance. If you’re on the FODMAPs diet, the fiber supplement you’re currently taking that is supposed to be doing you good could actually be having the opposite effect, so it’s very important that you investigate what’s in your fiber supplement and whether or not you need to take a different kind.
Though I haven’t taken a fiber supplement in a long time because I’ve known that many caused me more trouble than benefits, I decided to search one out, because despite enjoying better bowel health than I have in a long time, I couldn’t really achieve any consistency in my bathroom habits. After doing some research, I found a new product put out by Nestle that was actually designed with us FODMAPers in mind; ProNourish Digestive Balance Fiber.
According to the packaging, ProNourish Digestive Balance Fiber is made from guar gum and is gluten-free, lactose free, and vegan, as well as low FODMAP. Just a side note, ProNourish also has a low FODMAP dietary supplement drink (think ensure), if you’re having a hard time meeting your caloric intake and nutritional needs. I’ve been taking this fiber supplement for a few weeks now and I’ve found there to be a few pros and cons.
First, it’s truly tasteless and undetectable in water, so you don’t have to worry about it being one more nose-holding powder to choke down. It takes a bit of mixing, but once dissolved, you really can’t tell it’s there at all. You can also sprinkle it over your food if you prefer. I add it with my ORS and other powders to a glass of water.
Second, it’s not supposed to cause diarrhea, but if you take too much to begin with, it definitely will; or at least that’s how it’s worked on me. It says it’s safe to begin at a 1 tablespoon dose per day, however I had to break that in half to avoid getting diarrhea, which was pretty much an immediate reaction (within 1 hour of taking it). Given this personal experience, I would recommend that you start with no more than a ½ tablespoon per day and work your way up slowly. You might even break your doses up into multiple servings, as I take 1 dose in the morning and one with lunch.
Third, to help avoid stomach upset, take it with food rather than on an empty stomach. It doesn’t matter if you add it to your water or your food, just make sure it goes in your tummy at roughly the same time. This doesn’t mitigate the need to work your way up in dose size.
Fourth, try to work your way up to an adequate does and give it a chance to really work. It helped me some right away, but it wasn’t until I got to almost 1 tablespoon twice a day before it really started to turn things around for me, bulking up my stool, making things more regular and eliminating some of the general achiness I was still experiencing.
Finally, avoid buying it on Amazon, at least for now. Whoever sells it on there is selling it for a ridiculous upcharge. Go here and buy it from Nestle Science Diet instead if you can’t find it locally. They’re sometimes out of stock, but if you buy four cans you can skip the shipping charges and will only have to order it a few times a year or so. While I can easily find the nutrition drink locally, the fiber supplement appears to be a bit more scarce.
ProNourish Fiber may not be the perfect solution for everyone, but so far it’s worked well for both me and my husband, who also has carbohydrate intolerance. If it doesn’t work for you, I recommend trying to find a fiber supplement made from a plant fiber that you do tolerate well and that doesn’t contain a high carbohydrate content and working your way up much the same way. It really does help!
Looking for more supplements and nutrition information to improve your spoonie life? Check out my protocol!
Please Note: I am in no way affiliated with Nestle or ProNourish, and I am not a medical practitioner. This blog is for the sole purpose of sharing my personal experiences so that people with the same health challenges may benefit from the knowledge I have gained. I have not been paid for my opinion.