Our latest book, Fast Tract Digestion IBS is now available. I am proud to let you know that the book features 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 grateful 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 print book is also available here. 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.