SIBO diet

Dr John Freeman

SIBO diet

Medically reviewed by:
Dr John Freeman

Diet plan for SIBO

Symptoms of SIBO maybe reduced through the SIBO diet, a gradual elimination diet.

Here is why:

Certain carbohydrate types can’t be digested by your small intestine, but when you have SIBO which is a bacterial overgrowth, these bacteria can ferment these carbohydrates in the wrong place (small intestine) causing discomfort like gas and bloating.

A short-term elimination diet may help you reduce SIBO symptoms. This entails temporarily eliminating all carbs from your diet. The elemental diet, a liquid diet containing pre-digested formula, is a more extreme variation. The elemental diet leaves nothing for your gut bacteria to digest while still giving all the nutrients you require.

This is not a long-term strategy and may result in severe nutritional deficiencies and gut imbalances, so it is still incredibly important you kill the bacterial overgrowth and only use this as a short-term strategy. The bacterial overgrowth seen in SIBO cannot be starved off with diet alone.

We do not recommend this diet or any other diet without adequate treatment to kill off the bacterial overgrowth as they are only short-term symptom management option and we want to make that clear as these diets can be a long-term health risk and cause nutritional deficiencies.

The SIBO diet

Inflammation of the digestive tract in the small intestine may be reduced with the SIBO diet, which is an elimination diet that is gradually introduced.

In some circumstances, limiting sugar intake is sufficient to alleviate symptoms. Doctors frequently recommend including a diet low in FODMAPs, which are complex carbohydrates that are difficult to digest while undergoing SIBO treatment.

Carbohydrates in your gut can produce symptoms such as diarrhea and bloating if they cannot be digested. Furthermore, if there is a bacterial overgrowth, the microscopic gut bacteria begin to ferment the carbohydrates much earlier than they should, resulting in various symptoms.

The SIBO diet therapy aims to limit the bacteria’s feeding sources. Bacteria consume carbs as their primary source of energy. Hence all the recommended diets lower carbohydrates to minimize the bacteria’s reaction and the gas they produce by decreasing their food supply. Insoluble fiber is the only carbohydrate that bacteria do not consume in large quantities.

SIBO is common in people with other gastrointestinal problems such as Crohn’s disease and is a leading cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some conditions can promote bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine and exacerbate symptoms, making it critical to address them as soon as possible. If left untreated, can result in discomfort, diarrhea, and even malnutrition (as the body’s primary nutrients are lost). Taking antibiotics/herbs while adhering to the SIBO diet can speed up your recovery and alleviate unpleasant symptoms.

Specific SIBO Diet Therapies

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
The Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet (Gaps Diet)
The Low FODMAP Diet (LFD)
A combination of these diets such as SIBO Specific Food Guide (SCD + LFD)
The SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet

General Foods to Avoid

The term “fermentable” refers to the food that bacteria consume.

Fermentable Carbohydrates and their sources:

  • Starch – starchy vegetables, grains, and beans
  • Resistant Starch – whole grains, legumes, and seeds
  • Soluble Fiber – beans, grains, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and fruits
  • Sugar – sweeteners and fruits
  • Prebiotics- vegetables, roots/herbs, supplements, and agave

Foods to Eat

Despite a long list of foods to avoid, you can still eat some of your favorite foods while on this temporary diet. Foods high in fiber and low in sugar should focus on a SIBO diet.

How to Use SIBO Dietary Treatments

  • Without antibiotics or other treatments as the primary treatment for SIBO, following certain diet can help to relieve symptoms.
  • Other treatments are recommended if malabsorption or leaky gut is present. In the long run, this technique will almost certainly necessitate a change in diet.
  • SIBO Diet in addition to antibiotics or herbal medicines for symptomatic relief and increased benefit.
  • After antimicrobial treatment, as a therapy to aid the repair of the damaged SI lining. Before the lining can correctly absorb all meals, it may need time to heal from the damage caused by SIBO.
  • To prevent the overgrowth from returning, as a relapse prevention measure. In this instance, continued use is recommended, but the diet can be broadened.

Key points to note

  • Antibiotics are the mainstay of care for those suffering from the symptoms of SIBO. In contrast, studies have shown that limiting sugars and lactose intake may also be beneficial in reducing bacterial overgrowth.
  • Antibiotics and probiotics is used in complementary with the SIBO diet to treat the condition. Probiotic supplements and probiotic-rich foods can help alleviate symptoms of SIBO, according to a 2010 study.
  • Increased water consumption during the SIBO diet can alleviate discomfort and ease digestion.
  • Consult your physician or dietitian before making any dietary or treatment changes.