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4 Common Mistakes You Are Making On A Low FODMAP- SIBO Diet


The low-FODMAP diet reduces certain kinds of carbohydrates that are hard for people to digest. It’s often prescribed as an elimination diet to identify food triggers in those who have functional gastrointestinal disorders, such as IBS.

What is a low-FODMAP diet?

FODMAP is an acronym for a certain class of carbohydrates, called fermentable short-chain carbohydrates, which are more difficult for people to digest. (The full acronym stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols.)

The low-FODMAP diet temporarily restricts these carbohydrates in order to relieve uncomfortable symptoms and give your digestive system a rest. Removing irritants gives your gut lining a chance to repair itself and can help restore a healthy balance of gut flora. If your symptoms improve, you can use the low-FODMAP diet to figure out which foods to limit in the future.

What are FODMAPs?

Fermentable. These are all foods that your gut bacteria feed on, converting them to gasses in a chemical process called fermentation.

Oligosaccharides. These are soluble plant fibers known as prebiotics, which feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Oligosaccharides include onions, garlic, beans/lentils and many wheat products. Sensitivity to oligosaccharides may help explain some cases of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Since gluten-free grains are lower in fermentable sugars than grains that have gluten, some people who think they are sensitive to gluten may actually be sensitive to the oligosaccharides residing in wheat products.

Disaccharides. Lactose is the fermentable sugar in this group, the sugar in dairy and human milk. Lactose intolerance is one of the most common food intolerances worldwide.

Monosaccharides. Fructose, the sugar in fruit, is the fermentable sugar in this group. But only in certain quantities and proportions, so not all fruits are affected.

Polyols. These are sugar alcohols, commonly used as artificial sweeteners. They are also found naturally in some fruits.

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Video Transcript

Welcome to my YouTube Channel, I’m Dr Hagmeyer and If you have been following a low FODMAP diet for Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth then I want to share with you the 4 of most common mistakes people make when it comes to dieting and SIBO.

Diet is an incredible complex piece of the puzzle and it is best if you work with someone who understands this diet. But even if you don’t have someone to work with….These  4 mistakes that Im going to share with you today, may be the little thing that is all you need to get you to the next level and turn your SIBO and IBS around. So this will be a super quick video- If have a more advanced case of IBS and SIBO- be sure to check out my video series titled “Everything you want to know about SIBO”- this video series is about 10 or more videos and it is incredibly comprehensive and covers many of the finer points that I have implemented with my patients. I believe it is one of the reasons (besides having a really motivated/committed/awesome patients), that we have the level of success we do with patients suffering with IBS and SIBO.

As for this video- Let jump in……

Mistake #1- You Are Not Eating Low FODMAP Diet At The Right Time During Your SIBO Protocol-

What I mean by eating Low FODMAPS at the wrong time is this….. If you are eating a low FODMAP diet when you are trying to kill the SIBO bacteria, it might be counterproductive- not always but in some cases. The rationale behind this is that you want the bacteria to be active and present, so that the antimicrobial or antifungal/ anti yeast protocol can work. Eating foods that are high in FODMAPS is like throwing a party for the bacteria…. By feeding them, you are coaxing them out and inviting them to a buffet lunch and then POW you are hitting them with your Antimicrobial/Antifungal/Antibacterial protocol what ever your treatment is going to be.

Some people can start out on low FODMAP diet right from the start and implement antimicrobials or antibiotics and see drastic changes in their gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation- other people need to load up on low FODMAP foods and then hit the bacteria with antibacterial and anti-fungals. Like I said earlier….. some people especially if they have been on a severely restricted diet diet for a long period of time and have done rounds and rounds of antibiotics, I find these people do best providing this lunch buffet to the bacteria and initial stages focusing on healing the gut for 4-6 months and then going into a antibacterial/anti-fungal protocol.

So reason #1 is sometimes related to what a person has done before they came to me for help. Sometimes patients make themselves way worse and sometimes the medications you have been on and prescribed are causing your IBS/SIBO.

Mistake #2 Your Low FODMAP Diet Needs To Be Fine Tuned And Tweaked Based On Your Individual Food Sensitivities-

Does the picture on the right look familiar? If your like most patients who consult our office, You have been following a list like this or one very similar and you are still suffering.  You need to be tested here- this is not something you can guess about. This is not something you can eliminate it, add it back in to your diet and if you feel worse you need to keep it out- it is much more involved than that. When it comes to foods- we have all heard the saying- “One man’s food or bread or meat is another man’s poison” we are all different. You can react to foods from an immune reaction standpoint and then you can be reacting to foods due to the poor functioning in the mechanics of digestion. The symptoms in most cases are the same. 

Most people who go on a Low FODMAP diet are eliminating foods because the bacteria in large intestines have found themselves in the small intestines and now those bacteria are fermenting those foods in the wrong part of the digestive system and this is causing the bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, pain, etc.  This is very different than having an immune reaction to food, as in the case of a food sensitivities or intolerance.

The Symptoms of a Food Intolerance/Sensitivity can overlap with those symptoms of SIBO.

So in the real world, people don’t have just SIBO. Most patients with SIBO are also reacting to foods and you could be reacting to foods that show up on the “Green list” You could be that perfect patient following a low FODMAP diet to the T- but you could also be reacting to those Low FODMAP foods- this is why foods sensitivity and sometimes food allergy testing is needed. This is something I wish more doctors and patients understood because it could potentially save you 12 months or longer wondering why you are not getting better despite following the diet to the T.

So the point here is that if you tested positive for SIBO you need to get a comprehensive food sensitivity test as well. 

Mistake #3 You Lack Consistency With The Low FODMAP-

Let me call this what it is- You are cheating!- you’re going to your friend’s house and you like what they are eating and so you give in, you go out to a birthday party and you have a few drinks, you nephew just got baptized and afterword’s everybody went out and you gave in- you get the idea.

Following a low FODMAP diet requires consistency and self-control- you have to divorce yourself from the idea that food is pleasure. You are eating- with one goal in mind- fueling your body for cellular health. That’s it!

If you are going to respond favorably, it will only be achieved if you are serious about the diet and realize there is no room for cheating.

If you do this for 8-10 weeks and you’re not feeling better- there is much more to you “BIG PICTURE” and you need to work with someone who can identify what those additonal pieces are.

Mistake #4- Relying On Low FODMAP or Elemental Diet To Correct The Problem-

A low FODMAP diet and or elemental diet or any diet for that matter is only 1 piece of the SIBO puzzle. It’s an adjunct to whatever your BIG picture is.

You cant get rid of SIBO without making dietary changes and you can’t correct SIBO with diet alone. Its only 1 piece!

People often think that just because they have SIBO, they can follow a low FODMAP diet that they downloaded off the internet, follow it for a month and then feel better and their problem is fixed. No Chance!

If you are thinking this, I want you to look at this picture here- SIBO is the tip of the ice berg and everything you see below the tip……… are the issues that needs attention. This is your BIG picture- and your BIG picture is different than you Facebook friends BIG picture.

I suggest you watch my video series titled everything you wanted to know about SIBO where I go into some of the advanced topics and reasons why most cases of SIBO return and why SIBO can be so difficult to get rid of. A person with SIBO may also have histamine intolerance, they may have a gluten sensitivity, you may even be sensitive to food that are very similar to gluten- we call this Gluten Cross Reactivity– You may have a leaky gut, you may have a problems with fermented foods and Lectins.

So consider that if a LOW FODMAP diet just isn’t working out as well as you had hoped you should consider these “Dietary mistakes people make on a Low FODMAP diet” a possibility, but also consider all these things that I just mentioned. Don’t be discouraged by this- just understand that when it comes to food, there are many possible scenarios that you or your doctor could be missing. This is where you should work with a doctor who understands these finer points about SIBO but also with a nutritionist who can help you with meal planning and recipes, etc.

That wraps up today’s short video- I’m Dr Hagmeyer I hope you liked today video! I will see you next time……… take care.

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