My starch free and zero fiber experiment

Starches are richly found in most common foods in the diet, such as in potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, grains, wheat, corn and other grains, beans, etc. and is often thought to be essential for gut health, bowel movement, and just a great source of energy. But what if I told you that most people don’t realize that these foods can actually be quite problematic?

Now, this article isn’t at all about me promoting some kind of carnivore or keto diet, I just want to share my own experience and the reasons for why I eliminated starches and fiber and what my results were, so stay with me.

Because starches are present in such a variety of different foods, it’s difficult to stick one’s “intolerance” to starches, because, for example, wheat not only contains starches but also gluten, lectins, and gut-irritating fiber which could all be things that someone could be reacting negatively to. Beans contain plant toxins and gut-irritating fibers, sweet potatoes contain lectins, and so on. So it’s difficult to pinpoint the intolerance to starch.

Two ways to find out if you’re sensitive to starches or just specific food groups is to either eliminate certain food groups first or simply eliminate starches in general.

Why did I decide to eliminate both starches and fiber?

After eating only natural healthy foods for several years and getting my health to a really good place, I still had a few lingering issues. Nothing serious but I definitely wanted it to improve even more. For almost a year I was eating ground beef, boiled potato, milk, and fruit juice. Here and there I ate a fire-grilled pizza maybe once every other week or so, or had some sushi instead, but never felt that having those foods once in a while set me back.

I thought that my diet was relatively minimalistic, so why was I still experiencing health issues? My digestion felt fine and I didn’t have overly obvious symptoms. If I had to score myself health-wise, in all aspects, out of 10, it would probably have been around 8.5 at the time. I felt good, could train hard, could do everything a healthy person could do, but still felt like I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be or knew I could be.

So I thought to myself, “what is the most problematic food that is still in my diet?” I concluded it could be both the starch and/or the dairy. So I decided to cut the starch because I wasn’t going to give up my milk lol.

What’s wrong with starches and starches?

First off, the only starch I had in my diet was potatoes, which is part of the nightshade family and it’s known that people can be sensitive to it.

Secondly, potatoes also contain lectins, which can affect people negatively. I peeled my potatoes before boiling, so I removed most of the lectins before consuming the potatoes.

Thirdly, potatoes contain a fair amount of fiber. I ate about 1.5kg of potatoes daily for micronutrients and carbs which put me at about 30g fiber daily. The potato flesh is mainly soluble whereas the peel is mainly insoluble.

Soluble fiber is known to slow digestion and provides bacteria with food to feed on in the gut. This increases bacterial products such as endotoxins, serotonin, lactate, etc, which can cause inflammation, neurotransmitter imbalanced, hypogonadism, autoimmune conditions, etc.

Also, when starches are left to cool, even after 10 minutes, a lot of it turns into resistant starch, which feeds the gut bacteria even more. This study found that when children were given resistant starch, the lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis pathway was upregulated and calprotectin increased significantly (R). Meaning, more endotoxins were being created and there was more intestinal inflammation. Elevated fecal calprotectin indicates the migration of neutrophils to the intestinal mucosa, which occurs during intestinal inflammation (R).

Also, there is evidence that shows that starch is sometimes not completely broken down by digestion, since starch is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of numerous glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. These incompletely digested starches can be absorbed whole into the body through a leaky gut. These starch particles can also cause an immune response and can clog small arteries in the body.

Other starches such as sweet potatoes contain very high levels of oxalates, which can deposit into your testes and thyroid for example, and as a result, interfere with steroidogenesis and thyroid hormone production.

So not to get caught up in the weeds of why starches could cause issues, let’s look at the benefits I experienced on a fiber-free diet.

Benefits I experienced:

  • Better stool quality – started getting ghost wipes every time
  • Increase in regularity – started getting 2 bowel movements per day instead of 1 (these two are at the top because I hate having to pitch a loaf, but it’s much faster now with no habitual wiping lol, so this was a huge bonus)
  • Better digestion and faster transit time
  • Less bloating
  • Bacne (back acne) went away – it wasn’t extreme, but it was there
  • Slight occasional joint pains/achiness went away
  • Faster healing of bruises, cuts, etc.
  • Less water retention (my face almost immediately became leaner)
  • Clearer vision (before the experiment my vision was quite good with occasional slight blurry vision in the morning but often became a bit more blurry as the day went on. After a few weeks on the starch free diet, my vision became crystal clear at all times).
  • Less skin rash and dandruff
  • Higher libido and faster recovery (which was already good but became even better)
  • Better verbal fluency
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Didn’t feel a bit tired after a big meal anymore
  • Zero cravings
  • No social anxiety (which rarely ever happened but was clearly gone)
  • More stable mood – less stress, grogginess, and frustration
  • More in control of my emotions and mind (this was already good but because even better)

So if I have to summarize, the 4 most prominent benefits were definitely a great improvement mentally (mood, cognition, etc.), energy, vision, and gut/bowel health.

As always, thanks so much for reading my article. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions. And if you found this article to be insightful and helpful please like and share so this information can help others as well.

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33 thoughts on “My starch free and zero fiber experiment”

  1. Hello hans! Do you chop them before boiling and is there specific reason boiling them instead of frying? Great experiment!

      • Hans, if I understand correctly you eliminated potatoes from your diet. What did your diet look like after the removal of starches? Did you replace your carbs with fruit?

  2. Hans one more question. Are you continuing with the no starch diet? I assume you will still work in pizza every now and again. Also as usual great article. It has me thinking about adjusting my own diet.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback. Yes I’m continuing starch free for now and I’m not sure of pizza though. Maybe once in a while, but definitely not too often.
      If you do adjust your diet, keep me updated on the benefits you experience.

    • Hey Hans I am curious of the staple foods you were eating when doing this diet. Very interested as I have been eating healthy for around 7 months now and I’m still having issues. Thank you!

      • A while ago it was meat, honey, fruit juice and milk. Then it was meat with cooked apple, milk and fruit juice. Now it’s just milk, yogurt, honey and occasionally meat. I just go by craving.

  3. Replied to this on your facebook thread
    But I did a ketogenic diet then no starch for 3 months and initially felt good but by the end of it ended up loosing far too much weight and muscle mass definitely something I regret
    I appreciate nowadays not everyone can tolerate all sorts of grains etc but people definitely need either white rice or white potatoes as a minimum to sustain their muscle glycogen stores

    • Hey Timothy,
      Did you do the no starch after the keto period? What carbs were you eating during the no starch period? Did you count calories during your no starch period, and if so, how much protein, carbs and calories did you consume?
      Don’t you think milk, fruit and honey can replenish muscle glycogen?

  4. Interesting article. Perhaps a bit on the other end of the spectrum, but what are your thouhts on using supplements such as FOS/GOS/XOS/Baobab and other fibre supplements to work on microbiome to improve that way? Obviously causes a lot of symptoms while adapting though.

    • Hi Karl,
      I’m not opposed to pre-biotics, but prefer them in my food instead of supplementing. I don’t think they work nearly as well in isolation. Also, the gut bacteria can be changed within 2-5 days, so if symptoms comtinue for even 15 days plus, I’d say that’s not a good thing.

  5. I’ve studied nutrition a lot in the last few years and I’ve come to the conclusion that current recommendations of a balanced diet actually seems to be what humans need. If you study Weston A price which i would recommend he looks at primitive tribes he suggests humans have eaten grains from the beginning of time. I’m not entirely sure it’s natural to solely rely and milk honey and fruit, excess milk is extremely constipating especially in low carb diet. And excess fruit and sugar from honey inevitably is going to trigger huge insulin spikes again unnatural.
    Ketogenic diet and low carb or no starch diet is a great way of loosing weight if your overweight, hence for fat people they easily loose weight on it. Some would argue the eskimos do it in the winter my feeling is you have to consume huge amounts of saturated fat on this type of diet to maintain your calorie intake if you dont want to loose weight but I couldn’t stomach eating a block of butter daily which is really what you have to do.
    I did ketogenic diet for around a month and felt great lost about 1 stone. Then 3 months later I did a no starch diet but like i say ended up loosing 2 stones of weight on this diet and my muscles literally shrivelled up.
    Keep an eye on your weight and muscle circumference and see what trend you follow but dont pursue if its causing negative affects

    • I’m not opposed to grains, however if people react negatively to it then it’s best to eliminate it for now IMO. I’d rather eliminate it than have chronic low grade inflammation and immune reactions.
      I’ve been bulking on a zero starch zero fiber diet with no issue. I’m able to build muscle just fine and I don’t even have to eat an absurd amount of calories to gain weight. My fat intake is about 100-150g daily with carbs at 300g+ and I’m doing fine.
      I’m constantly measuring weight and muscle circumference and I’m doing fine.
      As a side question, why would fruit and honey cause insulin spikes? They improve insulin sensitivity and are not very insulinogenic themselves, so why would that suddenly change and start causing issues?
      I’m going no where near ketosis or low carb and I definitely think this diet is sustainable long term.

  6. I wasnt doing any carbs during the no starch period other than some fruit if you count that, technically no traditional carbs. I didnt count calories but inevitably like I say due to the weight loss I obviously wasnt getting enough calories. I wasnt using alot of milk either at the time due to issues with constipation I had on the ketogenic diet, but may be it will work for you. Either way you have to consume a lot of butter fat daily to meet your calorie intake to stop weight loss I would suspect

    • I think the most important macros are protein > carbs > fats if you want to build muscle or maintain muscle mass. You also have to make sure you’re eating enough to maintain weight or lose just the right amount of weight. Eating too little protein is dangerous in my opinion.

      And also, why do you think fruit doesn’t count?

  7. I’m not against what your doing and I want to see how you get on, I think if you can get enough carbs from milk honey and fruit great. My feeling is it’s probably not sustainable in the long run and also it’s not really natural as fruit and honey would have only been seasonal for primitive tribes
    People have to find grains they can tolerate most people with food intolerances can handle white rice and white potatoes

    • As I mentioned before I’m not opposed to people eating starches or grains, it’s just that peoples’ health is not where they want it to be and they can actually improve dramatically by eliminating these problematic foods.

      My thoughts on seasonal availability is that if you’re going to care about that, you should care about it in more ways than just foods. Plus, it depends where you are. There are fruits for all seasons and honey is usually available all year round.
      Since we have the technology available to have these foods avaible, we might as well consume them. I see no harm in doing that long term.

      I’ll definitely keep you and my others readers updated on my long term progress with this diet.

    • Hey John, things are going great. I still maintain all the positives that I’ve mentioned and no negatives so far. I’m pretty sure no negatives are going to appear.

  8. The milk you drink is whole skimmed or semi-skimmed? From goat, sheep or cow? Raw or pasteurized?
    About how many meals do you eat per day? Do you include milk, honey and fruit juice in most meals?

    • I drink skim milk at the moment. It’s from jersey cows so it has a high percentage of A2 milk. It’s pasteurized.
      I don’t really have meals as I just eat throughout the day. Most of my meals are from milk with honey or juice or meat with honey and fruit juice.

      • hi hans, you can put the diet you followed on the no fiber diet, which i think you sent it on a friday by email to the subscribers and i accidentally deleted it

      • Hey Diego,
        It’s ground beef with ground organ meat mix, milk, fruit (whole or juice), honey, cheese, yogurt, etc. I could resend you the newsletter if you email me.

  9. If the milk is skim, how do you get to ingest 100 to 150 grams of fat?
    How many meals do you eat a day, 3,4,5 or 6 or do you practice intermittent fasting?

    • If I drink skim milk, my fat intake is determined by how fatty the meat is. However, the meat that I eat is also relatively lean.
      I drink milk and juice during the day and then have 1 or 2 meals with meat depending on how I feel. I don’t do fasting.

  10. I am doing intermittent fasting with 2 meals a day and I eat potatoes, peppers, fruit or orange juice, I consume approximately 37 grams of fiber, I think it is too much and the potato with peppers and other fruit I think is being harmful to me. grains on the back as you say, that is why I would be interested in this diet that you are taking that I think will benefit me especially at the digestive level, and I also believe that intermittent fasting is hurting me more than benefiting since I burn many calories in work and until 3:30 in the afternoon I don’t eat anything.
    Do you think I should eat more meals and what foods would benefit me the most at each moment of the day?
    protein consumption in how many grams per kilo would be around? 1.8 or 2gr x kg?

    • I think stay well fed with sugar from fruit juice or whole fruit is the best way to limit stress during the day. Milk is also great and it’s also a good source of protein.
      From my experience working with people, most people tend to do better with easy to digest food.
      My protein intake is about 1.8-2g/kg/BW.

  11. Hey Hans. Do you have any info on instant potatoes and their digestibility vs whole potatoes. I know Ray Peat has stated that ‘well cooked’ potatoes are okay, provided your gut is in good condition and can process the starches. I figure that the instant mashed potatoes you buy in any supermarket are not only well cooked and highly processed, but are quickly and easily digestible. I mean, if you’re going to eat starch at all, what do you think about instand spuds?

    • Hey man,
      Instant potato might be a lot higher in resistant starch than freshly boiled potatoes, so instant potatoes might be more gut irritating.
      I haven’t tried the instant potatoes before, but freshly boiled potatoes are the least gut irritating for me.

  12. I want to preface by saying I’m a woman, so I know not everything on your site applies to me. But, I’ve tried to do starch-free for a couple weeks at a time and it did help me lose some weight but when I eat starches, it seems like my poops are better (initially at least) and I feel more satiated and calmer after meals. Consuming most of my carbs as sugars from fruit and honey and milk sometimes leaves jittery/anxious/amped up on adrenaline. Any idea why??? I’m getting desperate to start losing weight (50 lb or so)….do I just need to push through the symptoms I experience on starch-free and hope it’s a temporary phenomenon? Like I said, I think I FEEL better mentally (calmer) eating starches but I don’t lose any weight. Is this something that might be different between men and women? Or am I totally wrong?

  13. Timothy, i guess you’re a bad student and need to “study” more. For your information : fruits have a low glycemic index (starch have a high one) + Hans eat lot fruits so he definitly doesnt do keto + theres a reason tribes heavily prepare grains (to reduce the toxicity) + fruit is the most natural food to eat for humans (just look at apes) + and so on …


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