Paleo, SIBO, Fodmaps, Gaps……. What does it all mean?

Paleo, SIBO, Fodmaps, Gaps……. What does it all mean?

Ok, Ok – are you swearing at me? What are all these words – I have no clue what they mean.  So my GP/naturopath/nutritionist/homeopath/dietician/insert practitioner modality here……… has told me I need to go on a specialised eating plan.  I don’t even know what it stands for! Fodmaps????  They told me I was reactive to (something, anything, everything)……… and now I need to change my eating.

How do I begin?  If this seems so very overwhelming, bring it back to basics.

“The reason why you have to do this”.

That is: something is not working properly in your digestive tract so you need to take away the foods (for the time being) that are causing the issue.  Don’t be frightened of the funny names they have.  The next big thing to do is RESEARCH.  Also note that you can over research.  Knowing too much can be just as detrimental as not knowing anything.  You can get bogged down in the details.  Fear of what is wrong with you or what you can and can’t eat can something rule your life.  As I said bring it back to basics.

“I am doing this so I can feel better”.

There are so many different diets or eating plans out there who knows what is the right one.  The interesting thing is that one size doesn’t fit all.  For example you may have been told to follow the Fodmaps diet (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides And Polyols) as you have trouble with excessive fermentation of short chain carbohydrates such as lactose or fructose – you do this, however you may still have tummy disturbance after eating, say, sweet potato, which is a legal fodmaps food.  Or you may be following the paleo way of eating, but you get stomach cramps after eating anything that contains cocoa.  WHY!!!!  As frustrating as this is, you need to work out within the particular style of eating that you have chosen (or it may have chosen you!) what foods are ok for you to eat and which ones aren’t.

This is where food sensitivity testing comes in handy.  We can go through as many foods as we need to so we can tailor an eating plan to suit you.  If you are having trouble with your digestion and you have been told to follow a strict eating regime and it is sometimes still not working for you, make an appointment with Sharyn, so she can tailor and eating plan for you!

There is the possibility that you have a mix of these and trial and error can take a very long time to be able to eliminate the problematic food/s.  Sharyn is able to work with you and perform testing allowing you to see and recognise where you need the help, and work with you to create a plan that is sustainable and effective to combat your individual requirements.

Below are the descriptions of  Paleo, SIBO, Fodmaps, Gaps. They can be quite complex and confusing. sibo bloating

Paleo – a diet based on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit and excluding dairy or cereal products and processed food.

SIBO – Small intestine bacterial Overgrowth

In healthy people, the small intestine contains low levels of friendly bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, especially in the upper part of the small intestine where our own critical digestion takes place. SIBO involves the invasion of the small intestine with much greater numbers of bacteria from the large intestine. The official definition of SIBO is “the presence of an abnormally high number of bacteria (more than 100,000 bacteria per milliliter) in the upper part of the small intestine”. At this level, the normally harmless bacteria that live in our gut can become harmful. They produce toxins, enzymes, and intestinal gases, including hydrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide that can disrupt digestion, cause intense physical discomfort and even damage the small intestine.

The symptoms of SIBO include abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, acid reflux, flatulence, nausea, dehydration and fatigue. More severe symptoms related to SIBO can include weight loss and “failure to thrive,” steatorrhea (the body’s failure to digest fats), anemia, bleeding or bruising, night blindness, bone pain and fractures, leaky gut syndrome, and autoimmune reactions, among others.

FODMAP is an acronym that stands for:

Fermentable – meaning they are broken down (fermented) by bacteria in the large bowel

Oligosaccharides – “oligo” means “few” and “saccharide” means sugar. These molecules made up of individual sugars joined together in a chain

Disaccharides – “di” means two. This is a double sugar molecule.

Monosaccharides – “mono” means single. This is a single-sugar molecule.


Polyols – these are sugar alcohols (however don’t lead to intoxication!)


FODMAPs are a collection of short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols found in foods naturally or as food additives. FODMAPs include fructose (when in excess of glucose), fructans, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), lactose and polyols (eg. sorbitol and mannitol).


GAPS – Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAP Syndrome or GAPS) is a condition which establishes a connection between the functions of the digestive system and the brain. This term was created by Dr Natasha Campbell–McBride, MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (human nutrition) in 2004 after working with hundreds of children and adults with neurological and psychiatric conditions, such as autistic spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD⁄ADD), schizophrenia, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, obsessive –compulsive disorder, bi-polar disorder and other neuro-psychological and psychiatric problems.