Diet Designed to Clear Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
By David Martin, MD
Pinehurst Medical Clinic
• Based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet developed by Elaine Gottschall, a biochemist, first outlined in her book Breaking
the Vicious Cycle. This handout is designed to simplify the information contained in Elaine’s book and to introduce
modifications that make it a healthier diet, because it includes whole grains, and still achieves the goal of effectively
treating small intestine bacterial overgrowth.
• The “vicious cycle” is the process that Ms. Gottschall identified as the root problem that is currently causing the diarrhea,
constipation, acid-reflux, gas, indigestion, bloating, fatigue and many other digestive symptoms in your body. The vicious
cycle, in simple terms, is a process in which the food you eat stimulates bacteria to grow in the small intestine. As these
bacteria grow in abundance, they produce gases and chemicals that damage the intestinal tract; cause pain, bowel
movement inconsistency, gas, and other symptoms mentioned above; as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to
the bacteria consuming these nutrients.
• The diet is an all natural way to break this cycle of bacteria overgrowth by eliminating the food sources they feed on. By
working to restore bacteria to normal levels, the intestinal tract is allowed to start repairing any damage by itself.
Avoid This: Milk, Ice Cream, Regular Yogurt (plain Greek yogurt is okay)
Cheeses such as: Cream Cheese, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta, American, Velveeta, pre-packaged shredded cheese
Sugar (including white, brown, turbinado), Agave, Maple Syrup, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Evaporated Cane Juice
Sugar Alcohols (have –ol ending, such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltodextrin, malitol, inositol, etc.)
*Often found in sugar-free candy, sugar-free gum, etc.
Refined Grains (bread, cereal, rice, and pasta that’s not whole grain)
Canned Vegetables, White Potatoes, Turnips
Processed meats such as bologna, sausage, hot dogs, potted meats
Beverages such as: Sweet Tea, Regular Soda, Energy Drinks, Juice with added sugar, Beer, Sweet Wine, Port
Wine, Sake, Sherry, Cordials, Liqueurs or Brandy, etc.
Eat This: Lactose-free Milk such as “Lactaid” brand or Unsweetened Almond Milk
Plain Greek Yogurt
• Sweeten with honey and/or add own fruit
Cheeses aged greater than 30 days, such as: Cheddar, Swiss, Provolone, Parmesan, Bleu, Brie, Colby, Feta,
Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey, Mozzarella, Muenster, Romano
• 100% whole wheat bread (Nature’s Own, Sara Lee, Pepperidge Farm , and some store brands have 100%
Whole Wheat clearly on the label)
• 100% whole grain crackers (such as Triscuits)
• Whole grain cereals with less than 5 grams sugar per serving (such as Cheerios, Grape Nuts, Original
Shredded Wheat, Uncle Sam)
• Other whole grains include brown rice, oats, corn, quinoa, etc.
Beverages such as: 100% no-sugar-added fruit juice diluted 50/50 with water, tea & coffee with allowed
sweeteners, unsweetened almond milk, & diet soda (please limit diet soda to 16 ounces per day)
Proteins, such as: Eggs, allowed Meats that are not fried, Beans, Nuts, Unsweetened Peanut Butter
Oils & Regular Butter
• Not margarine
• If fruit is canned, make sure canned “in own juice”
Vegetables (choose fresh or frozen, check canned tomato products for added sugar)
Allowed Alcohol: Dry Wine, Vodka, Gin, Scotch, Bourbon
*To discuss this diet with a Dietitian, please make an appointment at the FirstHealth Center for Health & Fitness in Pinehurst.
Call 910-715-1835 to make an appointment. Appointments generally last 30 minutes and cost $25; however, additional
time/fees may apply for more complicated cases.