SIBO Symposium

During the first weekend in June, I (virtually) attended the SIBO Symposium hosted by the National College of Natural Medicine. This action packed symposium featured two full days worth of material about small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) to help keep practitioners and patients up to date with best practices and the latest research. Now, if you’ve never even heard of SIBO, then this article is not for you! But, if you have struggled with digestive issues similar to that of IBS or have been diagnosed with SIBO, then keep reading.

Since I’m not a doctor, I was most concerned about the dietary approaches that Dr. Allison Siebecker, one of the top SIBO experts in the nation, presented.

Below are some of her clinical pearls that I thought I’d share with you:

Most noteworthy, she addresses the common dietary approaches used to help SIBO symptoms and prevent recurrence, which happens quite often. 

  • Whichever diet you are on (and there are a variety to choose from- see the above list), just make sure it is:
    • Low in carbohydrates
    • Free of raw food and salad
    • Low in fermentable carbohydrates like certain fruits, veggies, grains, and beans
    • Limited in nuts and seeds
    • Limited in yogurt and/or other sources of probiotics 
    • Low in lactose (from dairy products)
  • There is no ONE single best diet for everyone because individual tolerances vary greatly!
    • Take the terms “legal” and “illegal” foods away from the vocabulary
    • The dose makes the poison for most foods- pay attention to the portion size!
    • Individual tolerance of foods varies over the course of your treatment
    • It is okay to customize your own diet- trust your body over any food list!
  • Don’t stress about food sensitivity testing when you have SIBO
    • You may have many reactive foods due to leaky gut, but once you improve the SIBO you often regain tolerance 
    • It is best to go through a systemized elimination diet under the guidance of a health professional 
  • Don’t be afraid to re-introduce foods to the diet from fear that your symptoms will return
    • It is important to have a broad, varied, and nutritionally valuable diet- don’t overly restrict long term 
    • Add foods back in a slow and systemized way 
    • You may need to try a new food more than once to rule out any confounding factors (i.e. eating when reading emails may cause poor digestion due to stress, not due to the food itself)
  • Be aware of certain foods that may be more challenging for someone to tolerate with SIBO
    • Fibrous foods like whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, reheated starches (also called resistent starch), skins/peels/stems of fruits and veggies
    • Gluten grains
    • Garlic and onions
    • Winter squash
    • Too much fruit
    • Too much coconut products 
    • Raw, unripe, hard produce foods

In conclusion, Dr. Siebecker encourages each patient to trust his/her body and find a dietary plan that works best for you! Consequently, if you need help customizing an ideal diet or if you need a place to start to even find out if you have SIBO, make an appointment with me today. For more information on SIBO or the SIBO diet go to

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