The No-Amylose Diet

If you have an elevated MMP9 level, it may be recommended that you follow a no-amylose diet to help bring this level down as part of your treatment program.  Many of us are familiar with the low-carbohydrate diets that are so popular today including Atkins and South Beach. While it might seem on the surface to be similar, the amylose-free diet is slightly different from this mainstream approach. Fresh fruit is actually encouraged, and the only fruit that is restricted is bananas. The goal of this diet is to avoid foods that contain amylose and glucose which in turn cause a rapid rise in blood sugar when ingested.  The diet is really fairly easy to follow and does not require you to count calories or measure portion sizes. You might even be surprised at the foods that are on the list of allowed foods for you to enjoy. While lima beans and butternut squash are full of starch, amylose isn’t one of them, and you are free to enjoy these starchy vegetables as often as you like.  For more detailed information on the diet including using it for weight loss, please see Lose the Weight You Hate by Dr. Shoemaker.

No-Amylose Diet Forbidden Foods

  • Roots and tubers including white and sweet potatoes, beets, peanuts, carrots, and other vegetables that grow underground. The exception here is onions and garlic.
  • Bananas (the only forbidden fruit).
  • Wheat and wheat-based products including bread, pasta, cakes, and cookies.
  • Rice.
  • Oats.
  • Barley.
  • Rye.
  • Foods with added sugar, sucrose, corn syrup, or maltodextrin.

Allowed Foods

Allowed foods include basically anything that is not on the list of forbidden foods including:

  • Corn.
  • Onions.
  • Garlic.
  • All vegetables that grow above the ground including lettuce, tomatoes, beans of all types, peas, cucumbers, and celery.
  • All fruits except bananas.
  • Meat, fish, and poultry.
  • Condiments (avoid low-fat varieties as they usually contain added sugar).
  • Spices.
  • Eggs.
  • Dairy (avoid sugar-laden products).
  • Nuts.
  • Sunflower, pumpkin, and squash seeds.

This diet is based on the 00-2-3 rule and is an easy way for you to remember what should or should not be included in your diet each day. You should have 0 sugars (glucose or sucrose, including corn syrup), 0 amylose, 2 servings of protein that total at least 6 to 8 ounces, and 3 servings each of vegetables that grow above the ground and fruit (except bananas) per day. This diet allows for sufficient quantities of food so that you won’t be hungry and can actually enjoy good-tasting, high-quality meals. It just involves adjusting some of our habits and thought patterns when it comes to food. For instance, you can still eat a hamburger, just not the bun. Why not try some melted cheese and a hearty slice of tomato on top instead? Soups can be a nutritious and filling meal or snack but not when they are loaded with pasta, potatoes, or rice. Why not try some delicious black bean soup or maybe a homemade cream-based tomato soup without the added sugar so often found in canned varieties?

The other benefit of this diet is that it is also a gluten-free diet. The avoidance of wheat, oats, rye, and barley is the same for both diets. If you have also been advised to be on a gluten-free diet, no adjustments need to be made in order for you to eat gluten-free. Just follow the 0 amylose rule and you will automatically be avoiding gluten-containing products. One key difference to note is that this diet does not allow rice while gluten-free products often use rice as a substitute for wheat. This makes the no-amylose diet slightly more restrictive than a no-gluten diet.  For information on how to eat gluten-free, please visit this page.