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 you’re system is stable, testing new foods on any diet is important to allow for a wider diet.
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.
Low FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and Polyols)
PRO: Removing high FODMAP foods can be very helpful to some people with SIBO. 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. Long-term strict adherence to any restrictive diet can have negative physical, social and emotional ramifications.
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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.
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