The purpose of the SIBO diet is to reduce the fermentable starches and fibers which feed bacteria that have overgrown in the small intestine.
By reducing the fermentable starches and fibers bacteria will begin to die as they are deprived of their fuel source thus helping to reduce bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
What is the SIBO diet?
The SIBO diet is a therapeutic diet that is intended to be used for some time to help eliminate small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The SIBO biphasic diet is a combination of the low FODMAP diet and the specific carbohydrate diet that is broken down into 2 phases.
Both phase 1 and phase 2 of the SIBO diet is intended to be implemented for 4-6 weeks in conjunction with a SIBO protocol that addresses the root cause of SIBO and uses additional supplements to eliminate bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine.
Keep in mind that the SIBO diet is not designed to be a long term diet.
Reintroducing a wide variety of fermentable fibers is required to restore a healthy microbiome in the colon after bacteria have been reduced to normal levels in the small intestine.
Eliminating SIBO for good is a step by step process that starts with the SIBO diet phase 1 which is the most restrictive phase of the SIBO diet that lasts 4-6 weeks.
While implementing the SIBO diet during phase 1 it is also important to focus on healing and improving the integrity of the gut lining with gut healing supplements such as, collagen, bone broth, and aloe.
If the digestive function is severely impaired eating cooked/steamed vegetables and soups is gentle on the digestive tract to allow for optimal healing.
After using gut-healing nutrients for at least 2 weeks on the phase 1 SIBO diet the focus can then be shifted to restoring optimal digestive function by supporting the primary organs involved in the upper digestive system which are:
The pancreas (support with digestive enzymes)
By supporting the primary organs involved in the upper digestive system the terrain is improved and becomes inhospitable for bacterial overgrowth to recur.
Restoring optimal terrain and digestive function is just as important as following the SIBO diet and using antimicrobials or antibiotics to kill bacteria in the small intestine during phase 2 of the SIBO diet.
The primary focus of the phase 1 SIBO diet is to reduce fermentable starches and fibers to starve bacteria in the small intestine of their preferred fuel source.
Protein sources allowed on the phase 1 diet include meat, fish, chicken, and eggs.
When following the phase 1 restrictive diet the following vegetables can be eaten in unlimited amounts!
Alfalfa sprouts, bamboo shoots, capsicum, bok choy, carrots, chives, cucumber, eggplant, ginger, kale, lettuce, olives, radish, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion (green tops only) and tomatoes.
The following vegetables can be eaten on the phase 1 SIBO diet in quantities noted with no more than 1 of the vegetables per meal
Asparagus – 1 spear
Artichoke – 1/8 cup (great for the gallbladder and bile flow)
Beetroot – 2 slices (another vegetable great for the gallbladder)
Broccoli – ½ a cup (great plant-based protein source for vegetarians)
Brussel sprouts – 2 each
Cabbage – ½ cup
Savoy cabbage – ¾ cup
Celery – 1 stick
Green beans – 10 each
Green peas ¼ cup
Pumpkin – ¼ cup
Snow peas – 5 pods
Spinach – 15 leaves
Zucchini ¾ cup
The only 2 fruits allowed on phase 1 restrictive diet are lemons and limes which can be used to make a super quick salad dressing by squeezing fresh lemon or lime with olive oil, cracked pepper, and Himalayan salt on any of the previous vegetables.
You can also make a hot lemon or lime drink with pure stevia for a little sweetness to drink before meals to support stomach acid.
Homemade bone broths can be made from beef or lamb which is great for healing the gut or used as a stock for a homemade soup.
For beverages, water is best but 1 cup of black coffee can be drunk per day or herbal and black tea so at least you can enjoy a cup of coffee or your favorite tea!
The only sweetener allowed on phase 1 restrictive SIBO diet is stevia.
The following nuts and seeds are allowed in quantities noted
Almonds – 10 each or 2 tbsp almond flour or meal
Coconut flour or shredded coconut
Coconut milk ¼ cup or 2 tbsp of coconut cream
Hazelnuts – 10 each
Macadamias – 20 each
Pecans – 10 each
Pine nuts – 1 tbsp
Pumpkin seeds – 2 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Walnuts – 10 each (great source of the essential omega 3 fats)
The following fats and oils can be used for cooking and salad dressing. Always be sure to look for cold-pressed oils stored in dark bottles. Olive oil and coconut oil are the best choices to saute with.
Coconut oil, flaxseed oil, ghee, grapeseed oil, MCT, Olive oil, pumpkin seed oil. Sesame oil, sunflower oil, and walnut oil.
Fresh and dried herbs can be used in cooking along with sugarless mayonnaise, mustard without garlic, apple cider vinegar, white and red vinegar, tabasco, and wasabi.
Foods to avoid on phase 1 restricted SIBO diet include garlic, onion, balsamic vinegar and, chicory root, garlic, onions, soy sauce and tamari, carrageens, and thickeners.
Fats to avoid include chia seeds, flaxseeds and peanuts, palm oil, and soybean oil.
All legumes, beans, and dairy are avoided along with the garlic, onion, mushrooms, white potato, and starch powder such as arrowroot and tapioca.
No fruit juices, wine, beer, or soda are to be consumed on the SIBO diet.
The phase 1 SIBO diet is quite restrictive as you can see but there is a little wiggle room for individuals to include some foods from the semi restrictive phase 1 SIBO diet which allows for ½ a cup quinoa, basmati or jasmine rice.
Some additional fruits are allowed on the semi-restrictive diet with clear honey as a sweetener and coconut aminos to use in stirfries. As you graduate up through to the semi-restrictive SIBO diet and phase 2 SIBO diet it becomes easier to follow the SIBO diet.
So, what does a day in the life of a SIBO diet phase 1 look like?
Breakfast could be 2 eggs scrambled with the tops of green onions with, tomato, capsicum, and spinach or rocket, and a canned artichoke heart.
Getting in liver cleansing bitter greens and artichoke is super important to promote healthy bile flow which is antimicrobial. A sluggish gallbladder is one of the underlying causes of SIBO that no one is talking about!
Eggs are an excellent source of choline which is needed to make phosphatidylcholine in the body via the PEMT gene which is crucial for keeping bile flowing smoothly from the gallbladder.
Lunch could be a freshly chopped salad with lettuce greens of your choice and any fresh vegetables listed above served with a grilled lemon pepper chicken breast sliced and fresh lemon and olive oil as a dressing.
Dinner could be cooked meat of your choice served with grilled zucchini and steamed veggies seasoned with salt and pepper and coconut oil.
After 4-6 weeks on the Phase 1 SIBO diet, it is then time to start adding back in more foods to your diet from the phase 2 SIBO diet which contains more fermentable fibers in small amounts while still avoiding the most problematic high fiber/high FODMAP foods.