There are a number of diets that may be helpful in mitigating SIBO symptoms. You’ll find several popular diets listed here and my thoughts on them. With SIBO, symptoms can be extremely varied and one diet doesn’t work for everyone. Once your system is stable, testing new foods on any diet is important to allow for a wider diet.
The SIBO Diet Plan:
PRO: This diet, detailed in my book, The SIBO Diet Plan is based on a low FODMAP diet and introduces foods over a four week time period. It emphasizes easily digestible foods in the beginning of the diet plan and progresses to harder to digest foods. Trying new foods in a manner that works for each individual is suggested, so everyone’s journey through the book and the diet will look different.
CON: Not everyone will be able to add all the foods that the plan offers as options. Many people may need to stay in week 1 or 2 (there is also a Calming Menu for those who experience a flare or need to start in a more basic place) for a longer period of time before beginning to try and add more foods. If one just “goes by the book” without noting their symptom changes, it could result in greater inflammation but if they take the time to note their symptoms and move slowly through new foods it can result in a much more enjoyable eating experience and reduction of symptoms.
SIBO Specific Diet (SSD):
PRO: This diet, designed by Dr. Allison Siebecker, combines the low FODMAPs and SCD diets and tends to relieve the most symptoms. If low FODMAP, Cedar-Sinai or SCD or GAPS haven’t relieved all your symptoms then it might be time to try the the SSD. Though it is restrictive, food testing outside of the green/low fermentable/legal food area is recommended as each person’s tolerances tend to be very different.
CON: This diet is the most restrictive. Long-term strict adherence to any restrictive diet can have negative physical, social and emotional ramifications.
PRO: The Bi-Phasic diet, by Dr. Nirala Jacobi is based off of Dr. Siebeckers SIBO Specific Food Guide. Dr. Jacobi introduces a phased diet to help with die-off symptoms and bring in new foods over time. For many people, a very specific phased approach is helpful.
CON: This diet is still very restrictive and doesn’t allow for testing foods outside of the recommendations. It becomes less restrictive over time but if a user stays in the beginning phase over time it may become unhelpful and overly restrictive.
Low FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and Polyols)
PRO: Removing high FODMAP foods can be very helpful to some people with SIBO and IBS. Since people may be sensitive to some high FODMAP food but not others, it’s possible to not need to avoid all high FODMAP foods. High FODMAP foods aren’t bad for everyone, they can cause symptoms for people with SIBO. Eventually, it is helpful to reincorporate them into your diet.
CON: Choosing just a low FODMAP diet by itself might not be enough to relieve all symptoms. Removing high FODMAP foods can be very challenging for some people as they’re foods that are often eaten every day, including garlic and onion.
Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD):
PRO: This diet removes specific carbohydrates (polysaccharides, some oligosaccharides, disaccharides and polyols) and has been shown to be effective in healing IBD. It uses a system of “legal/illegal” foods and recommends very strict adherence. This can be helpful in avoiding confusion about what one should/shouldn’t eat and can relieve many symptoms in those with SIBO.
CON: High FODMAP foods are included in this diet and may still trigger symptoms in some people with SIBO. I don’t generally recommend this diet because of the “fanatical adherence” standards set by many in the SCD community. I also find their legal/illegal list of foods to be Long-term strict adherence to any restrictive diet can have negative physical, social and emotional ramifications.
PRO: GAPs is a modification of SCD and has a larger focus on fermented food and juicing as well as other food differences. It is used to treat those on the autism spectrum and some also find it helpful with SIBO.
GAPS practitioners are trained and available for those wanting more in depth information about the diet.
CON: Like, SCD, GAPS is restrictive and it is recommended that one follow the diet for an extended length of time. Long-term strict adherence to any restrictive diet can have negative physical, social and emotional ramifications.
PRO: I like to think of the Cedars-Sinai diet as the one for people who hate being on a diet. It’s still restrictive, but less so than other SIBO diets.
CON: It may relieve less SIBO symptoms.
Want help to figure out the best diet for you? Or are you using a SIBO diet and still having issues? We can help!
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