Are you thinking about trying a SIBO diet so that you can get relief from your unrelenting symptoms? In this article, you’ll learn about what the SIBO diet is, what the SIBO diet may be able to help with and other lifestyle habits that might help you to feel better, too.
Here is the good news: a SIBO diet may help you to feel better.
The bad news: a SIBO diet is not a cure for SIBO.
First: what is SIBO?
What is SIBO?
SIBO is short for Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. SIBO is a frustrating condition where the bacteria and other microorganisms that should be hanging out in your large intestine are actually setting up camp in your small intestine. These rogue microorganisms are hungry and causing trouble. They are snacking on specific carbohydrates.
The SIBO diet can help to reduce your symptoms by reducing the availability of foods for the displaced organisms to eat. Fewer snacks for the bacteria mean fewer symptoms for you.
You can read more about SIBO here.
Symptoms of SIBO
SIBO symptoms can vary from one person to another but the most common is bloating, especially right after meals. Your SIBO symptoms might also include:
- Mixed – Constipation & Diarrhea
- Belly pain
- Nutrient deficiencies, such as anemia
You can feel icky with SIBO because the organisms are digesting your food before you get a chance to! They produce a lot of gas each time you eat: they’re excitedly snacking on your food and exhaling gases as part of their normal digestion.
On top of that, the organisms cause inflammation to the lining of your gut, which limits your ability to digest food normally.
And even worse: SIBO often goes hand in hand with other conditions, especially IBS. Ack!
Can dietary changes help you to feel better?
What is the SIBO Diet?
Here is what might surprise you: there is not just one SIBO diet. There are several approaches to the SIBO diet, some of which are more supported by research than others. What they have in common is limiting food for the bacteria to eat in the small intestine. These diets limit certain carbohydrates that can be fermented by bacteria.
By limiting or eliminating the bacteria’s favorite foods, you are taking back the welcome mat, letting those bad-mannered intruders know that they’re no longer welcome.
There are several different approaches for seeking symptom relief. Here are the most common (and most supported by research).
The Low-FODMAP Diet
Of the possible SIBO diets, the Low FODMAP diet is the least restrictive. The purpose is to limit or eliminate certain carbohydrates that the gut bacteria would ferment. Fermentation makes gas, which makes you feel bloated and in pain. The Low-FODMAP Diet has been extensively studied for IBS and we know that up to 78% of those with IBS may have SIBO.
The Fast Track Diet
The Fast Track Diet is similar to the Low FODMAP diet in that fermentable carbohydrates are tracked and limited, but the way portions are calculated is a bit different. Both the Fast Track and low FODMAP diet plans have apps that consumers can use for support.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)
This dietary intervention has been researched for Inflammatory Bowel Disease and removes legumes, starchy grains, honey and more. The SCD diet includes an elimination phase and reintroduction to identify personal tolerances for each potential dietary trigger.
If you eliminate everything on the Low FODMAP diet no-no list as well as the SCD protocol, you have the SIBO-Specific diet. It is quite restrictive, so not generally where we start with our clients. There is a variation of this diet – The SIBO Bi-Phasic diet – which essentially is the SIBO-Specific diet conducted in phases.
Any SIBO diet is intended to be a short-term elimination diet to help you feel better, as quickly as possible. This provides an environment of gut healing and an opportunity to identify what caused the SIBO overgrowth to begin with.
SIBO diet for symptom relief
Everyone is different, but a SIBO diet may offer you relief from your symptoms, especially bloating, after a few weeks. We find that all SIBO diets need to be customized to address specific symptoms, preferences, food sensitivities, food allergies and more.
The next step is to try to figure out why you had SIBO to begin with. Helping to understand your root causes of SIBO gives you the tools to help prevent a relapse. Without the guidance of knowledgeable healthcare professionals, this might just feel like guessing.
The SIBO diet (and more) for addressing root causes
The truth is, conditions such as SIBO require a multi-pronged approach to achieve remission from symptoms. Rather than getting burnt out by guessing which foods are causing your symptoms, save time and frustration by getting a solid plan to remove what is causing your pain, work to heal your gut and systematically reintroduce as many foods as you can. Are you ready to feel better, like, yesterday?
You may have SIBO as well as other conditions, such as IBS. Working with a knowledgeable healthcare practitioner to help you to review your symptoms and do testing can help you to get an accurate diagnosis.
Other options for SIBO symptom relief
Antibiotics may be prescribed to rein in the organisms in your gut. Antibiotics and herbal antimicrobial supplements have been studied to resolve SIBO. But also keep in mind that these treatment options are addressing the current imbalance in your digestive system, not root causes. Without addressing these, you’re still at risk for a relapse in the future.
True healing comes with looking at the full and complete big picture. This includes your stress levels, your sleep quality and more. We might discuss specific supplements and herbs as part of your personalized gut healing protocol.
Ready to solve SIBO now? The Solving SIBO program helps you heal from SIBO once and for all. The program offers a step-by-step approach to getting relief from your symptoms, customizing the SIBO diet, and determining your root cause so you get long-term results.