Why restricting your diet can make your gut more sensitive

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By The Gut Health Doctor Team

Dr Megan Rossi in a lab looking through a microscope

Restricting your diet can make your gut more sensitive. Yep, you read that correctly. Here’s why…

Think you have a sensitivity to gluten, wheat, garlic or yeast? Food intolerances are running at an all-time high. The problem here is that perceived intolerances can lead to restrictive diets. (I explain this in more detail in Eat More, Live Well)

Hands up if you’ve scrolled through IG posts touting the ‘oats + chickpeas-swerving keto/ paleo/ no carb diet’ as THE route to reducing gut symptoms, as well as to eternal health and happiness..?

Well, here’s the kicker. Food sensitivities can be MADE WORSE by restrictive diets.


  1. Your GM adapts to the food that you eat. When you feed it a diverse range of whole foods – carbs included – your GM is able to produce enzymes that break down all the fibres found in plants, from broccoli to beans.
  2. Restrict your diet and say ‘hello’ to a GM in which a minority of microbes thrive. They can dominate the community, meaning that more skilful microbes will die out.
  3. Eat a bowl of plants, then, and you could lack many of the microbes needed to digest the fibres efficiently. This can trigger gut symptoms like bloating, excess gas and altered poops – the very thing you maybe wanted to fix with the restrictive diet.
  4. Diversity breeds diversity. Plenty of plant foods can help your GM to flourish, thus enabling you to digest plants well and avoid gut symptoms.
  5. You can generally increase your tolerance to plant foods you feel sensitive to. This is one of the things I guide you on in Eat More, Live Well, and something I’ve been helping patients with for the past decade. You will eat chickpeas and onions again, promise!

The final word: Don’t fall into the trap of restricting your diet to manage your gut symptoms. Seek evidence-based help. My first book, Eat Yourself Healthy, is a good place to start which I build on from in Eat More, Live Well or check out my brilliant team The Gut Health Clinic


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