Finding the Ideal Diet for Your Gut

Finding the Ideal Diet for Your Gut

Which diet plan is the best for improving gut and overall health?

The truth is, there is no magic diet plan that works perfectly for everyone.

Fortunately, there are a few options that we know can be very impactful. My advice with any diet is to try it for 2 or 3 weeks to see if it works for you. If your symptoms improve, great! Keep going. If there is no change, don’t persist with that approach. Try another dietary plan for 2-3 weeks.

The ultimate purpose of all of these diet plans is to learn what foods are best for your body and what foods you need to avoid.

I like to organize diets in a pyramid fashion, ranging from the least restrictive to the most restrictive. Some diets (in the Paleo family) are designed to reduce common food allergens and inflammatory foods. Other diets (in the low FODMAP and SCD family) are designed to reduce bacterial overgrowths and carbohydrate malabsorption.

I always advise patients to start with the Paleo diet, which is the least restrictive. It’s a diet that works really well for many people. After 2-3 weeks on the Paleo diet:

  • If you’re happy with your results, stick with this diet.
  • If there has been no improvement, don’t continue with other Paleo diets. Instead, try the standard low FODMAP diet.
  • If Paleo helped, but only partially, try the Paleo low FODMAP diet.

After 2-3 weeks on one of the 2nd tier diets (see pyramid diagram):

  • If you’re happy with your results, stick with this diet.
  • If the diet helped, but you want more improvement, you could finally escalate to either the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) or low FODMAP with SCD diet.

If none of the diets provides satisfactory improvement, stick with whichever one felt best, and then move on to other gut interventions (see Healthy Gut, Healthy You)

Tip: after diet, a comprehensive probiotic protocol (which most who have used probiotics have not yet done) can be quite helpful. 

Here are simple food guides for each one of these diets: