SIBO Diet Meal Plan: Everything You Need to Know About It
Bowel pathologies and diseases occupy the leading places in the list of the most common diseases of our time. What is the reason for this, and what role does the SIBO diet meal plan play in it? Large and dynamic cities dictate their living conditions. The result of this is a fundamentally wrong approach to their nutrition: snacks, fast food, harmful, poor-quality foods, and strict diets of girls who believe that the secret of beauty is in thinness. As a result, the intestinal microflora suffers greatly, and inflammation of the intestinal mucosa occurs.
Some people mistakenly believe that there is nothing wrong if bacteria live in the small intestine since they live in the large one. Still, SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) develops when bacteria normally found in the large intestine enter the small intestine. With the development of SIBO, the absorption of nutrient compounds is rapidly deteriorating. Fat-soluble vitamins and iron are especially poorly absorbed.
If the composition of the microflora is disturbed, the mucous membrane is affected, and the functioning of intestinal cells is disrupted, then the absorption of nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and microelements) worsens. Also, due to the excessive consumption of vitamin B12 by microorganisms, anemia (caused by its lack in the blood) and changes in the nervous system are possible. Also, fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) are deficient.
For gastroenterologists, this phenomenon is not at all new: as statistics say, it occurs in 20% of people — both in men, women, and children. If we consider people with gastroenterological problems, this pathology is found in 26-88% of cases. In abdominal surgery (operations on the abdominal cavity), SIBO has a total prevalence — it reaches 95%.
Main Symptoms of SIBO
Signs of increased bacterial growth syndrome in the small intestine are similar to those of other gastrointestinal diseases. Common symptoms of bacteria invading the small intestine include:
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Bloating and increased gas production;
- Poor absorption of nutrients and, as a result, weight loss;
- Joint pain;
- Chronic fatigue;
- Rash, acne, and eczema;
- Asthmatic phenomena;
What Is the SIBO Specific Diet?
Here we have the SIBO food guide for you. If you want to get rid of SIBO without the use of antibiotics or with their minimal involvement, you have to definitely try a special diet consisting of two phases — Elimination and Maintenance.
Phase One — Elimination
The first phase of the diet implies a complete rejection of food that can’t be independently assimilated by the human body and requires the participation of bacteria for its fermentation.
The first phase of any SIBO meal plan prohibits the following food:
- Fructose: most fruits and juices from them, honey, cereals (first of all, instant food), baked goods, and products that content of a lot of sugars;
- Lactose: unfermented dairy products;
- Fructans: wheat, onions and garlic, leeks, broccoli and cabbage, asparagus;
- Galactans: legumes (including any soy products), Brussels sprouts, and cabbage;
- Products with artificial sweeteners (erythritol, xylitol, sorbitol, etc.).
Products allowed in the first phase:
- Meat (beef and lamb);
- Hard cheeses;
- Greens, including spinach;
- Zucchini and pumpkins;
- Cucumbers and tomatoes;
- Strawberries, blueberries, grapes;
The duration of the first phase is two weeks. If you break off and eat foods from the prohibited SIBO diet menu, you will have to re-count the days.
The first phase goals:
- Healing of the intestinal wall damaged by microorganisms;
- Reducing inflammation;
- Elimination of excessive bacterial growth;
- Saturation of the body with all those nutrient compounds that it lacks due to the deterioration in the absorption of food in the small intestine.
Phase Two — Maintenance
The second phase is less strict than Elimination. However, there is a ban on some products for it.
The second phase prohibits the following ingredients:
- All sweet foods, especially industrially produced;
- Foods high in starch;
- Unfermented dairy products.
Basic rules for the Maintenance phase include:
- Eating a small cup of bone broth every day;
- The inclusion in the diet of a large number of fermented foods (a little sauerkraut should be eaten with all meals);
- Independent preparation of fermented milk products, and not the purchase of ready-made ones;
- The use of mainly boiled vegetables.
The goals of the second phase of the SIBO diet are:
- Final healing of the intestinal wall;
- Restoration of microflora balance;
- Preventing the entry of toxins from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream.
The second phase goals:
- Elimination of food allergies;
- Strengthening of immunity;
- Reduction of chronic anxiety and depression.
How long does the second phase last? Well, it should become your lifestyle. However, what has been said doesn’t mean that you should never give yourself pleasant emotions and follow the SIBO food list all the time. Sometimes you can eat what you want, for example, on holidays. But it is still better to return to the described dietary food after.
Also, in irritable bowel syndrome, alcohol, coffee, and cigarettes should be strictly limited. Ideally, they should be avoided entirely as they exacerbate all symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The sugar in sweets promotes the growth of microbes in the intestines and should be avoided as well.
What Drinks Are Optimal in the SIBO Diet?
Drinking plenty of water helps with irritable bowel syndrome and is important for a healthy lifestyle in general. Experts recommend drinking at least 1.5-2 liters of water a day. It can still be water and unsweetened herbal teas. People with irritable bowel syndrome shouldn’t drink sparkling water.
How to Live With SIBO Diagnosis?
Irritable bowel syndrome almost always has emotional or stressful causes. It is important to relax and exercise. Easy exercise can help normalize digestion. It is also very important for people with SIBO to eat small portions to not overload the bowel. Ideally, it can be five small healthy meals throughout the day and a minimum of food at night. Digestion works slower in the evening. That is why you can’t eat a lot at this time. Even if daily life is stressful, it is still important to make time for yourself while eating. Food should be chewed thoroughly: well-chewed food is already “half-digested.” Healthy eating should be an integral part of your daily routine. You should never eat hastily.
Specific carbohydrate diet SIBO is not a regular diet that anyone can follow. This is a therapeutic food, which is needed only by patients with diagnosed diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and specific symptoms. Therefore, a gastroenterologist and/or nutritionist should help you follow your diet.
In general, in case of irritable bowel syndrome, it is recommended to switch to SIBO specific diet recipes for a while to give the bowel a “little break.” By specific diet, we mean all foods that don’t irritate the stomach and ease the bowel movement.
What Can I Eat for Breakfast with SIBO?
For breakfast, you can eat lactose-free foods, pineapples, bananas, kiwis, berries, and food stewed with a small amount of vegetable oil (olive oil, rapeseed oil).
What Snacks Can You Eat on a SIBO Diet?
It is best to limit your intake of snacks. But if you have high blood sugar, and it is vital for you to have a snack, then you should eat something like baby carrots, pretzels, nuts, etc.
Can You Heal SIBO With Diet Alone?
No, you can’t. This problem needs to be treated comprehensively. You have to eat the right food, take vitamins, and lead a healthy lifestyle. However, reducing the consumption of prohibited foods significantly improves health.