What to Eat and What Not to Eat on the SIBO Diet 

by Miral khattak

SIBO is when there are too many bacteria in the small intestine. A food elimination plan is something that some people with SIBO do to see if there is a link between the foods they eat and their symptoms.

Bigger than normal bacteria in the small intestine can lead to SIBO. SIBO happens when bacteria that normally live in the gut start to grow in the small intestine.

Taking proton pump inhibitors or painkillers, having gastric surgery, having nerve damage in the small intestine, or having the ileocecal valve fail are all things that can make you more likely to get SIBO. 

If you don’t treat SIBO, it can lead to pain, diarrhoea, and not getting enough nutrients because your body is losing them. D-lactic acidosis is a serious neurological disease that can happen very rarely.

Antibiotics are the first thing that should be done to help SIBO.

Sometimes, your doctor may also tell you to follow a liquid diet known as a basic diet. On a basic diet, you drink a nutrient-rich drink instead of all foods and drinks for a short time. You must follow this plan under the care of a doctor.

No other food has been shown to help with SIBO. But some people say that you can keep SIBO from coming back after treatment if you limit certain foods or change the way you eat. 

A trained dietitian or your doctor may suggest that you try an elimination diet to find out which foods are making your digestive problems worse. 

How to Get Around the SIBO Diet 

Some people do a short-term elimination diet and then carefully slowly reintroduce the foods they had to give up in order to look for links between foods and SIBO symptoms.

A trained dietitian who knows about SIBO conditions should carefully help people add foods back into their diet.

One way to find out if certain foods are linked to your SIBO symptoms is to go on an elimination diet. But it can’t take the place of other treatments your doctor has given you to deal with SIBO or other conditions that are related to it.

The American College of Gastroenterology says that most SIBO diets suggest cutting back on foods that are soured by gut bacteria. Some of these are: 

  • Foods high in fibre, sugar, alcohols, a type of low-calorie sweetener called sucralose, a natural sweetener with no calories called inulin, and other prebiotics 

A diet low in FODMAPs is one choice. FODMAPs are carbs that are hard to digest and are fermented by bacteria in the colon.

It would be best if you made a diet plan with the help of a trained dietitian that fits your symptoms and nutritional needs.

Too strict diets, like elimination diets, are only meant to be used for a short time. Over time, a very strict diet could worsen digestive problems and harm the good bugs in your gut [Source]. 

Things Not To Eat 

Your diet plan will determine what you need to avoid on an elimination diet. A trained dietitian can help you make this plan.

In some cases, your doctor or chef may tell you to stop eating FODMAPs for a short time.

A low-FODMAP diet may be helpful for certain individuals suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There is evidence that gas and abdominal pain can subside. 

People with SIBO are sometimes told to follow a low-FODMAP diet because many people with IBS also have SIBO. 

The Main Categories Of Fodmaps Include:

  • Fructose, honey, and agave nectar are several fruits and plants that contain simple sugars.
  • Fruits, vegetables, prebiotics, and gluten-containing foods all include fructans, which are sugars. Galatians are a type of sugar that can be found in certain legumes. One popular option for those watching their calorie intake is sugar alcohols, often known as polyols.  

The following foods have higher amounts of FODMAPs: 

  • corn syrup with a lot of sugar
  • agave syrup honey
  • Soft drinks and soda
  • Onions and garlic
  • spring onion
  • squash with butter
  • Artichokes, beans, and cauliflower
  • Fruits
  • Fruits that have been dried
  • Snack ice cream with a sausage flavour
  • sweet foods
  • barley and rye grains
  • Mannitol and sorbitol in peas 

These foods have different effects on different people. Some foods that contain FODMAPs may make your symptoms worse, but other foods that contain FODMAPs may not.

If you have SIBO, one type of elimination diet is the low-FODMAP diet. Remember that when making a SIBO elimination diet, it’s best to make it unique to you.

Even though many people use the low-FODMAP method, there is little proof that it helps with SIBO.

Also, cutting back on FODMAPs has been linked to 

Changes in the kinds of bacteria that grow in your gut could be bad for you. This effect was seen in people with IBS who followed a low-FODMAP diet for a long time.

Some experts warn that a low-FODMAP diet might not always be helpful for people with SIBO because they already have too many unhealthy gut bacteria. 

Things To Eat 

If you want to try an elimination diet for SIBO, you should talk to a trained dietitian about how to make the plan. They can help you make a list of foods you should briefly avoid and a plan for slowly adding foods back into your diet.

On an elimination diet, the list of things you should not eat can be long if you are trying to avoid FODMAPs. But you can still eat some things while you are on this short-term food plan.

Although some foods have low levels of FODMAPs in smaller portions, they may not be available in larger amounts due to the greater levels of FODMAPs in those portions. A low-FODMAP diet allows the following foods:  

Meat, eggs, and fish

Unsweetened, gluten-free oat cereal made with low FODMAP grains.

Squash, including summer and spaghetti varieties

broccoli florets (one-third cup or less), excluding the stems

nutritious kale

Herb Boswellia

Olives, gluten-free noodles or rice

peanut butter

sweet potatoes

seeds from pumpkins to quinoa

The fruits include strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and oranges.

To assist you in meal planning and food selection, your dietitian may recommend a FODMAP app like Fast FODMAP or the one developed by Monash University.  

Support For The Sibo Diet From Scientists 

Support For The Sibo Diet From Scientists 

The main way to treat SIBO is with antibiotics. The medicines get rid of the bacteria that are growing too much in the small intestine.

For some people, getting rid of the bacterial overgrowth doesn’t get rid of their stomach problems. If your symptoms don’t go away after SIBO treatment, you may have another gut problem that needs to be treated or managed.

For instance, lactose intolerance can lead to the same symptoms as SIBO, like gas, bloating, and diarrhoea. If a food problem is making your stomach hurt, you might need to change what you eat. A trained dietitian or your doctor should help you make these changes.

In other situations, fixing SIBO only helps for a short time and not permanently. There are 44% of the time that SIBO symptoms come back within nine months of the first treatment.

There is only one diet that has been shown to help when drugs alone don’t. 

Trusted Source takes care of SIBO. It is a liquid food that enzymes have already broken down.

A lot of diets claim they can prevent SIBO from returning. But there isn’t much proof to back up their use, Trusted Source. In fact, sticking to a strict diet for a long time might make it harder to maintain the right mix of bacteria in your gut.

A lot of people say that taking probiotic supplements is good for your gut health. Some studies by Trusted Source show that probiotics may help stop the growth of too many bacteria, lower scores on the hydrogen breath test, and ease the pain in the abdomen that comes with SIBO.

A 2021 systematic review, on the other hand, said that to understand how probiotics affect SIBO fully, we need more large, high-quality studies. Some experts think that probiotics might make SIBO worse.

You might feel less pain and have easier digestion if you drink more water. 

Talk to your doctor or dietitian about the risks before you change your food or start a new treatment. 

Look Ahead

If you have SIBO, an elimination diet might help you figure out which things make your digestive problems worse. However, an elimination diet is not a way to treat SIBO. It wouldn’t if you didn’t ignore traditional ways of treating illness.

Talk to your doctor about your choices before making any changes to your diet as part of your treatment plan.

If you want to get the most out of an elimination diet, you should work with a trained dietitian who knows how to treat SIBO. They can help you make sure the plan works and is safe.

If your symptoms get worse after you change what you eat, you should see a doctor right away. 

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