SIBO is a bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Some people with SIBO use an elimination diet to look for connections between the foods they eat and their SIBO symptoms.
Risk factors for developing SIBO include taking proton pump inhibitors or opioids, gastric surgery, nerve damage to the small intestine, or a failure of the ileocecal valve.
Left untreated, SIBO can cause symptoms including pain, diarrhea, and malnutrition (due to the loss of the body’s main nutrients). In rare cases, a serious neurological condition called D-lactic acidosis can occur.
Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for SIBO.
In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe a liquid diet called an elemental diet. An elemental diet temporarily replaces all foods and beverages with a nutrient drink that’s easy for your body to absorb. This diet must be carried out with a doctor’s supervision.
No other diet is proven to treat SIBO. However, some people claim that limiting certain types of foods or changing your eating pattern can stop SIBO from coming back after treatment.
Your doctor or a registered dietitian may suggest trying an elimination diet to find out if particular foods are contributing to your digestive symptoms.
To look for links between foods and SIBO symptoms, some people follow a short term elimination diet followed by careful gradual reintroduction of eliminated foods.
The reintroduction of foods to the diet should be carefully guided by a registered dietitian who understands SIBO conditions.
An elimination diet is a tool that can help you learn if certain foods are associated with your SIBO symptoms. However, it cannot replace other treatments prescribed to you to manage SIBO or other associated conditions.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, most diets proposed for SIBO reduce your intake of foods that are fermented by gut bacteria. These may include:
- high fiber foods
- sugar alcohols, a type of low calorie sweetener
- sucralose, a zero calorie artificial sweetener
- inulin and other prebiotics
One option is a diet low in FODMAPs, which are difficult-to-digest carbs that are fermented by gut bacteria in the colon.
You should work with a registered dietitian to create a diet plan that is appropriate for your individual symptoms and nutritional needs.
If you decide to pursue an elimination diet, the foods you need to avoid will be specific to your personal diet plan. A registered dietitian can work with you to develop this plan.
In some cases, your doctor or dietitian may recommend temporarily eliminating a type of carbs called FODMAPs.
Because many people with IBS
The main categories of FODMAPs include:
- fructose, simple sugars commonly found in fruits and some vegetables, honey, and agave nectar
- lactose, a sugar molecule in dairy products
- fructans, a sugar compound found in gluten products, fruits, some vegetables, and prebiotics
- galactans, a compound found in some legumes
- polyols, sugar alcohols often used as low-calorie sweeteners
Foods that contain higher amounts of FODMAPs include:
- high-fructose corn syrup
- agave nectar
- soda and soft drinks
- butternut squash
- dried fruits
- flavored yogurt
- ice cream
- sweetened cereals
Everyone reacts to these foods differently. Even if some FODMAPs cause symptoms for you, other FODMAP-containing foods
A low-FODMAP diet is only one example of an elimination diet for SIBO. Remember, it’s best to take an individualized approach when planning a SIBO elimination diet.
Although the low-FODMAP approach is popular, there is little evidence to show that a low-FODMAP diet can help with SIBO.
Plus, restricting FODMAPs has been
People with SIBO already have an overabundance of unhealthy gut bacteria, so some researchers caution that a low-FODMAP diet may not always be beneficial.
If you decide to try an elimination diet for SIBO, it’s important to plan it out with the help of a registered dietitian. They can help you build a list of foods to eliminate temporarily, and a plan for gradual reintroduction of foods.
If you’re avoiding FODMAPs during your elimination diet, the list of foods you should avoid can be restrictive. But there are still a number of foods you can enjoy while on this temporary diet.
Some foods contain low amounts of FODMAPs in small servings but may be limited because larger servings would increase the FODMAPs. Some of the acceptable foods for a low-FODMAP diet include:
- crackers, gluten-free
- unsweetened cereal (made from low FODMAP grains)
- spaghetti squash and summer squashes
- broccoli (heads only, less than 3/4 cup)
- leafy greens
- rice or gluten-free noodles
- some fruits (blueberries, grapes, oranges, and strawberries)
Antibiotics are the primary treatment for SIBO. These medications get rid of the bacteria that’s overgrowing in the small intestine.
For some people, successfully treating the bacterial overgrowth does not eliminate digestive symptoms. If your symptoms
For example, lactose intolerance can cause symptoms similar to SIBO, such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. If a food intolerance is causing digestive symptoms, you may need to make changes to your diet. These changes should be guided by your doctor or a registered dietitian.
In other cases, treating SIBO provides temporary relief, but not a long-term solution. In about
When antibiotics alone do not help, the elemental diet is the only diet
There are many diets that claim to stop SIBO from coming back. But there is
Probiotic supplements are often claimed to benefit digestive health. Some
Before making any changes to your diet or implementing new treatment, discuss the risks with your doctor or dietitian.
An elimination diet for SIBO may help you identify foods that bring on your digestive symptoms. However, an elimination diet is not a treatment for SIBO. Traditional treatment methods shouldn’t be ignored.
Prior to incorporating any dietary changes to your treatment plan, discuss your options with your doctor.
To benefit from an elimination diet, it’s important to work with a registered dietitian with training in SIBO conditions. They can help you conduct the diet safely and effectively.
If your symptoms begin to worsen with a change in diet, seek immediate medical attention.