Fast Tract Digestion IBS: A Foreword by Dr. Michael Eades

Fast Tract Digestion IBSFast Tract Digestion IBS will be available in print by the end of August 2013. I am proud to let you know that the book will feature a foreword by Dr. Mike Eades. Protein power was the first book I read on the compelling effects of carbohydrates on our metabolism. Without reading this book, I would have never experimented with carbohydrate restriction, never realized how carbs were connected to GERD and never developed the novel theory that forms the basis for the Fast Tract Book Digestion series.  I am greateful for my friendship over the years with Dr. Eades, one of the greatest critical thinkers I have ever met. His advice helped me focus on the real problem and create the fermentation potential formula. The book goes to print this week and the ebook will be updated as well. Thanks Dr. Eades! Here is the foreword:

In writing Fast Tract Digestion IBS, Dr. Norm Robillard has turned his own struggles into a mission to help millions of people looking for healthy, science-based solutions to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This book puts his passions into an Occam’s razor approach arriving at a novel and rational solution to treating this debilitating condition.

The Fast Tract diet evolved from Dr. Robillard’s earlier work in which he introduced a new theory about why carbohydrate restriction was effective in treating the related condition, acid reflux. For over 30 years I myself have used carbohydrate restriction to successfully treat gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). However, when patients or even other doctors asked me why it worked, I had to admit I didn’t really know.

But that changed some years ago when I first got a call from Dr. Robillard, a microbiologist and GERD sufferer. He was a big fan of Protein Power and had, in fact, cured his own acid reflux with a low-carb diet. My curiosity was piqued when he told me he had come up with a mechanism for how such diets worked, which had to do with bacteria in our gut. I got together with him, and he explained his theory. His was the first explanation that truly made sense.

Bypassing 50 years of scientific dogma on trigger foods and alcohol causing relaxation of the low esophageal sphincter, Dr. Robillard proposed that gases produced during bacterial fermentation of malabsorbed carbohydrates create intragastric pressure which drives stomach acid into the esophagus. When these gastric juices come into contact with the delicate membrane lining the esophagus, they cause the discomfort of heartburn, as well as many other symptoms of acid reflux. He posits that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is the problem driving the process. When carbs are reduced, the gas-producing bacteria in the small bowel have nothing to ferment: therefore they die off, and GERD goes away.

After Dr. Robillard’s explanation, I thought it through and speculated that the treatment could maybe be refined a little more. Since the gas-producing bacteria in the small bowel dine primarily on complex carbohydrates and fiber, I wondered if simply reducing the intake of those specific carbs would get rid of GERD. In other words, people could eat certain carbs, yet would not develop heartburn. My reasoning stemmed from my assumption that some easier to digest carbohydrates would absorb through the wall of the GI tract quickly enough to keep from providing food for the bacteria.

I posed a question to Dr. Robillard: “which carbs are more difficult to digest and wouldn’t they be the worst offenders?”

He didn’t know the answer, but the idea sounded reasonable to him. Unbeknownst to me, he went back to the scientific drawing board, fiddled with the idea for a few years and tested it on himself and others. Based on his work, he derived an entirely new system for treating not only GERD, but any condition caused by SIBO, using a calculation called the Fermentation Potential (FP).

It turns out that IBS is linked to GERD and to SIBO. Dr. Robillard clearly explains the connection between carbohydrate malabsorption, SIBO and IBS. The gases produced by SIBO drive not only the acid reflux and consequent heartburn, but the abdominal pain, bloating, cramps and altered bowel habits associated with IBS. Even constipation can be caused by methane-gas-producing gut bacteria.

People with IBS – and any other SIBO-related condition – can benefit from this book. Dr. Robillard shows the reader why the Fast Tract approach is superior to other diets, drugs, antacids and even antibiotics, which are often prescribed in an off-label manner for IBS. The book also contains a comprehensive evaluation of each class of IBS drug and an entire chapter explaining the potential problems with taking antibiotics for anything short of the most severe forms of IBS.

The antibiotic option is one many physicians choose for treatment, but readers of this book will think twice about going on such a regimen until all other options are explored.  Most importantly, the Fast Tract approach Dr. Robillard created limits only the most difficult-to-digest carbohydrates. Thus, the means of relief is flexible where both the types and amounts of symptom-causing foods can be adjusted based on personal dietary preferences. Even people with the most challenging symptoms will be pleased with their improvement. I can’t recommend this book heartily enough.

Michael R. Eades, MD, Incline Village, Nevada,

About Norm Robillard

Norman Robillard, Ph.D., is a microbiologist and former researcher who spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry before founding the Digestive Health Institute. His goal is to develop holistic treatments for digestive illnesses based on a clear understanding of the underlying causes of disease. Norm was the first to recognize a connection between bacteria in our intestines, nutritional malabsorption and the symptoms of acid reflux. Based on his extensive research, he created the clinically proven Fast Tract Diet System (Fast Tract Digestion Heartburn), a safe and effective alternative to proton pump inhibitor (PPI) and H2 blocking drugs. Bacterial overgrowth fueled by nutritional malabsorption is a factor in several other digestive health conditions. Research in this area is the main focus of the DHI. Norm received his Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and completed post-doctoral training at Tufts University in Boston.
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21 Responses to Fast Tract Digestion IBS: A Foreword by Dr. Michael Eades

  1. Michelle Metz says:

    Hi Dr. Robillard,
    My son has recently been diagnosed with SIBO. He is ten years old. Prior to his diagnosis of SIBO, I had him on a gluten free diet because I suspected Celiacs as a cause of his stomach aches, bloating, constipation and acid reflux. He did much better on gluten free for about a year but still had frequent constipation and had occasional reflux and stomach aches. I took him to our Gastroenterologist and they said he should be formally tested for celiacs and needed to eat gluten for 6 weeks prior to having his endoscopy. Well it has been 2 months since his endoscopy results which showed no celiacs, mild reflux and lactase deficiency. He gained 11 pounds in the 6 weeks of eating gluten, felt horrible every day with severe stomach pains, vomiting, nausea, acid reflux. I have him back on gluten free again but this time he has not gotten any better. I convinced the doc to test him for bacterial overgrowth and it came back positive. He started Flagyl 500 2x a day and was supposed to be on it for 14 days but had terrible side effects after 4 days. We were told by the Doc to discontinue it and that the bacteria should be killed off already. He is in agony still, cant eat, cant sleep, dizzy, nausea, feels like knives are stabbing him in his stomach and we are not getting anywhere with his Doctor. They just want to treat his constipation and put him on PPI’s. I am wondering if he could be experiencing “die-off” symptoms or could the bacteria not be killed off yet and still be making him sick. I ordered your book Fast Tract Digestion for GERD and am waiting for it to arrive. He has been sick for 3 months now and I am hardpressed to find any answers from local doctors. Thank you for any information you are able to give.

    • Hi Michelle,
      I am so sorry to hear about your son. That’s a lot to endure for someone that age. One good bit of very good news is that he is celiac-negative. Still, I strongly believe that the Fast Tract Approach should be the first, not the last choice for treating SIBO because of the detrimental effect of antibiotics on the gut microbe population. The good bacteria are killed with the good. None the less, your son should be able to make a complete recovery using diet not antibiotics. I am glad you are getting the book which will help explain my perspective. I recommend you help your son follow the diet and make sure he drinks adequate water and consumes a fair amount of olive oil and other healthy fats. I would not worry about any die off at this point and instead focus on rebuilding his healthy gut microbes by using diet as a first line of defense over antibiotics except for the most serious symptoms.

      • Michelle Metz says:

        Thanks so much for responding, he is not taking the Flagyl but is on Augmentin now for his sinus infection. Augmentin I am told is also an Antibiotic that can kill Bacterial overgrowth as well. I received your book and I can’t wait to read it. Just wondering if gluten free foods would be ok to feed him(gluten free bread, or rice pasta). His diet eliminated so many foods he liked when we went gluten free and I just got the hang of recreating some of those foods with gluten free flours but now to have to take away so much more is going to be so hard for him. He feels like he can’t eat anything anymore and gets so frustrated. And do you recommend lactaid pills taken with dairy or eliminating dairy all together. (I am worried about him getting enough calcium )

  2. Tom says:

    I know your book is based on the idea that SIBO is the culprit, with that in mind, does one need to test for SIBO or need to be diagnosed with SIBO to implement this diet?

    Can this diet work for bile reflux(bile backing up into the stomach), if we take into account with SIBO as the culprit?

    Since I’m treating bile reflux, I’m thinking of doing 20 FP level grams/day and 20 grams total carbs/day for the first 2 weeks, than after 2 weeks, go on the standard standard low-FP approach.

    How long should one implement this diet?
    The antibiotics chapter makes sense to me in that the diet is treating the root cause and antibiotics should only be used when the diet fails or the involvement of severe symptoms. You might know Chris Kresser, he has some natural treatments for SIBO. These are Monolaurin, Lactoferrin, NAC, Cat’s claw, Oregano oil, D-Lactate Free Probiotic. Can I take these supplements at all? Wouldn’t these supplements make the treatment more effective? One more supplement I should add that was suggested by someone other than Chris, which is Saccharomyces Boulardii + MOS. I wanted to mention this too, just in case if you give the green light to supplements.

    One last thing, since the condition is bile reflux and there is bile in the tummy, so there
    is hardly any stomach acid, should I take Betaine HCL+Pepsin or ACV, how about digestive enzymes?

    • Hi Tom,
      It never hurts to know more, but since you’re only changing your diet, testing for SIBO is not required. Reflux is known to contain acid, bile, enzymes and bacteria. Controlling SIBO should control reflux along with all the stuff it carries. Your approach starting with 20 FP grams sounds good. If you increase to a level where symptoms return, you have gone too far.

      As for supplements I share Chris’s view that diet alone is best, sometimes science-based supplements might help. The best example is replacing vitamins and minerals lost to malabsorption or taking enzymes if you’re deficient. Once malabsoption is under control, you should be able to get the vitamins and minerals you need from diet. Supplements, like drugs, can have side effects though typically less severe. But Saccharomyces can lead to bloating so use care. If you know you have low stomach acid trying Betain-pepsin might help. Be careful with this supplement and use plenty of water. Don’t want it dissolving in your esophagus.

  3. Tom says:

    Thank you for the quick reply. The question about sibo I asked in my first post was not what I exactly wanted to ask, so I’ll ask again. Correct me if I’m wrong on this but your book’s main emphasis is sibo. My question is, if I test negative for sibo, then is this diet not for me. How accurate is the hydrogen breath test. Since the Fast Tract Diet is for sibo, if one tests negative for sibo, then is this diet a waste?

    • Good question Tom. I do emphasize SIBO and have targeted this problem. There is another more general term called “dysbiosis” which refers to a general imbalance in gut microbes. There may even be instances where there is excessive growth of microbes in the large intestine. Call it LIBO if you want. This whole area is not new, but clearly more research needs to be done.

      The SIBO test is not 100% accurate, but it does correlate well where it’s been evaluated against IBS symptoms as well as resolution of symptoms following antibiotics. It has also shown a good correlation with tests where they actually obtained small intestinal samples and cultured the microbes.

      To answer your question, I would try the Fast Tract diet for heartburn or IBS type symptoms even if the test came back negative. You don’t have anything to loose. Also, there are many sources of possible error in breath testing including lab to lab variability, use of glucose (rapidly absorbable) vs. lactulose (not absorbed at all), the practice of placing people on a residue free diet before the test – maybe SIBO subsides without fuel, etc.

      Hope that helps.

  4. Tom says:

    First off, I want to thank you for answering my questions in a timely manner. I wish there was like an FAQ section on this site to see if similar questions have been asked. I made a keyword search using the search button but nothing came up. Add these question to the many questions I asked previously. The book says to cook starchy vegetables well, would this apply to meats, fish, eggs, cheese, oils, even though these don’t contain any carbs and have a FP value of zero. If I boil eggs at breakfast time, can I eat these eggs at later time like dinner while it’s cold?

    I know the book has a section on multivitamin supplement, but I’m a bit confused, so I’ll take your advice. Should I use one and if so, when should I use it in my diet?
    Thanks as always.

  5. Tom says:

    In Appendix B: Fast Tract Recipes, Week 1. Lunch: Cesar Salad with Lime Chicken
    (Serves 2 – FP 4 grams)
    2 small heads romaine lettuce

    But according to Appendix C: Table 10, there are 2FP/80 gram of lettuce and 2carbs/80grams.
    But the recipe says 2 heads romaine lettuce, normally, a head of lettuce is close to a pound. So how does this equal to 4 FP?
    (Serves 2 – FP 4 grams) –> Does this mean it serves for 2 people and it has 4 FP?
    I’m confused.

    • Hi Tom, Ok, here are some quick calculations. In the FP tables lettuce is listed as 2 g FP per 80 grams of lettuce. For neatness, the value is rounded up to a whole number. The value is actually 1.5 g FP per 80 grams. So 4 grams FP is equal to 0.46 pounds of lettuce. The recipe refers to two “small” heads that would be expected to weight approximately 1/4 pound each. Since lettuce has such a low FP value, you could easily add a bit more if you wanted. Hope that helps.

  6. Tom says:

    is small head mean sliced into pieces, or is there small head lettuce that weigh 1/4 lbs?
    1/4 pound = 113 grams (one small head lettuce) x2 = 226 grams/80 = 2.8 x 1.5 = 4.2
    Approximately 4 FP –> am I understanding this correctly?

    Even though it serves 2 people, it has 4 FP, which is all that matters?

    For example, Week 1, Dessert: Cheese Cake (Serves 8, FP 5 grams)
    Does this mean this cake is for 8 people, and if I eat everything to myself I’m getting 5 FP OR do I eat 1/8 of the cake to get 5 FP?

  7. Tom says:

    is small head mean sliced into pieces, or is there small head lettuce that weigh 1/4 lbs?
    1/4 pound = 113 grams (one small head lettuce) x2 = 226 grams/80 = 2.8 x 1.5 = 4.2
    Approximately 4 FP –> am I understanding this correctly?

    Even though it serves 2 people, it has 4 FP, which is all that matters?

    For example, Week 1, Dessert: Cheese Cake (Serves 8, FP 5 grams)
    Does this mean this cake is for 8 people, and if I eat everything to myself I’m getting 5 FP OR do I eat 1/8 of the cake to get 5 FP?

  8. Hi Tom,
    Lettuce has a very low FP, so there is really no limit and you can pretty much eat as much as you want. If you want to prepare the recipe exactly, just cut off the bottom of a small head of romaine and peal away a few leaves until it weighs about 1/2 pound.

    You are correct, the FP values for each recipe is “per serving”. So one serving of the cheese cake has 5 grams FP.

    In general, if you just stick to lower FP foods, you don’t need to sweat the details. You should see immediate improvement if your symptoms.

  9. Tom says:

    Dr. Robillard
    Call me crazy but I’m still confused, and without a clear understanding of this I can’t start the diet yet. I do apologize for making this difficult on you too. I’m laughing out of not understanding this, forgive me.

    Here’s where I am confused:
    The Cheese Cake in the book says “(Serves 8, FP 5 grams)”
    Does 1 slice = 5 FP? OR Does the whole cake = 5 FP?

  10. Tom says:

    I don’t get the part in the brackets. If you can please clarify them for me, that’s all I need for the moment.

    You said previously that the FP value is per serving, but my calculations are off.
    I’ll give 2 things from the books than I’ll put my question after the arrow. know

    Desert: Creamy Custard with Strawberries (Serves 6 – FP 3 grams) –> is this 3 grams FP per serving OR is it 3 grams FP for 6 servings???

    Snack: Sweetened Nut Mix (Makes 12 daily servings – 2 ounce serving allowed per day – FP 9 grams) –> is this 9 grams of FP per serving OR is it 9 grams of FP for 12 servings?

  11. Hi Tom,
    No problem. Each slice of cheesecake has 5 grams FP. The reason is the fiber in the almond-based crust. The same goes for the other two recipes. The FP values are per serving. That is the format for all recipes. The FP values are “per serving”.

    I will make it a point to spell that out more clearly in future editions.

  12. Tom says:

    Thank you for your prompt answers and your patience. Thank you Dr. Robillard :D

  13. Lucie says:

    I’m so sorry but I have another question!

    I’ve came across, through my research on digestion, that eliminating all fermented carbs and starches is not good for the digestive tract as they are necessary to feel the friendly bacteria too. Could going low-carb with this diet cause such a problem?

    It’s the first day I’ve tried this food plan and I’m feeling so starving, though I thought I ate normal amounts. Is this normal?

    Thank you so much!

  14. Lucie says:

    Oops, it seems like my first comment never appeared.

    My question was about sugar. The diet calls for no sugar however, ice cream (lactose free) is allowed. Have I mis-read, or is ice cream an exception to the no table sugar rule?

    Thank you once again!

  15. Hi Lucie,
    The diet does not forbid sugar. But like all carbs, the FP has to be added to your daily total, so many people just use a no FP sweetener to save the FP for another food.

  16. Ron Pearson says:

    Dr. Robillard,

    Thanks so much for writing your book on GERD! I am just starting your diet, and was running out of hope I’d ever find a means to kick the PPIs I have been on for a couple of years. If you plan to update your book, I’d love to see more discussion about gluten. I had been moving toward a gluten-free diet after reading “Wheat Belly”, but when I was trying to find a decent recipe for baking my own bread, I was really surprised at how little attention is paid to the other other ‘non-wheat’ ingredients – e.g. sugars, starches. I would also love it if you provided some additional dietary options for overall healthier choices – e.g. tabouli, etc. Also, some information on condiments would be very helpful – mustards, horseradish, catsup, sauces, etc.


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