Small intestinal overgrowth (SIBO) occurs when bacteria that normally flourish in some of your digestive tract, such as your colon, are active in your small intestine.
Untreated, SIBO can cause discomfort, diarrhea, and malnutrition (because of the lack of primary nutrients in the body). Such dangerous bacteria can be reduced with proper nutrition.
This can also help improve the recovery and reduce painful symptoms by following the SIBO diet when being treated with antibiotics.
- Does Sibo go away on its own?
- How can I naturally get rid of Sibo?
- What foods trigger Sibo?
- Can you cure Sibo without antibiotics?
Navigating the SIBO Diet
The SIBO diet is a phased-out diet that aims to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
Eliminating only sugars will, in some cases, relieve symptoms. Physicians also recommend that a diet low in FODMAP, a hard-to-digest carbohydrate fermented in the colon by gut bacteria, should be incorporated.
When carbohydrates can’t break down, they stay in your gut and can cause symptoms like diarrhea and bloating. Also, if there is a bacterial overgrowth, bacteria in the small intestine will start fermenting carbohydrates too early, causing many symptoms.
Also Read: How to Start a Low-Carb Diet
Foods to Avoid
The Low FODMAP Diet Has Been Clinically Proven Trusted Source for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and associated symptoms. Often those who suffer from IBS also suffer from SIBO. Eliminating or reducing foods high in these carbohydrates can improve your digestive health.
Focus on main categories like when you remove FODMAPs from your SIBO diet
- 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
- Galatians, a compound found in some legumes
- polyols, a sugar alcohol often used as a sweetener
Foods that you may want to consider eliminating from your diet that contains higher amounts of FODMAP include:
- high fructose corn syrup
- agave nectar
- soda and soft drinks
- butternut squash
- dried fruits
- flavored yogurt
- ice cream
- sweet cereals
Foods to eat
While the list of foods to avoid can be limiting, you can still enjoy many foods while on this temporary diet. A SIBO diet would concentrate on foods with high fiber content and low sugar levels.
Some foods contain low amounts of FODMAP in small portions, but should limited as more significant portions will increase FODMAPs. Some of the foods that are acceptable for a low FODMAP diet include:
- crackers, gluten-free
- unsweetened cereals (made from low-FODMAP grains)
- spaghetti squash and summer squash
- broccoli (heads only, less than 3/4 cup)
- leafy vegetables
- gluten-free rice or noodles
- certain fruits (blueberries, grapes, oranges, and strawberries)
Try using a FODMAP app like the one developed by Monash University (the leading researchers) or Fast FODMAP, to help you prepare your meals and make the right food choices.
Scientific support of the SIBO diet
Antibiotics are the primary treatment for the symptoms of SIBO. However, Trusted Source studies show that dietary changes, such as limiting sugars and lactose, can also help reduce bacterial overgrowth.
The SIBO diet can be used in combination with antibiotics and probiotics. A 2010 Trusted Source study showed that incorporating probiotic supplements and foods rich in probiotics into your diet helps reduce symptoms of SIBO.
Drinking more water when on the SIBO diet can reduce pain and help with digestion. Discuss the dangers with your doctor or dietitian before making any adjustments to your diet or starting a new treatment.
Also Read: Digestive System of Human Body
The SIBO diet is a conditional diet for removal that includes low-in-FODMAP foods to reduce the overgrowth of bacteria. It usually lasts 2 to 6 weeks.
Although considered to be an effective treatment method, the SIBO diet treats the symptoms but may not treat the underlying cause. Traditional treatment methods should not be ignored. Before incorporating any dietary changes into your treatment plan, discuss your options with your doctor.
It’s important to get FODMAPs back into your diet when your symptoms subside. This will prevent the loss of healthy bacteria.
If your symptoms start to worsen after implementing the SIBO or low FODMAP diet, seek medical attention immediately.