The Top Three Foods to Avoid with Leaky Gut

“Leaky Gut”, otherwise known as Intestinal Hyper-permeability happens when the tight junctions between cells lining the gut break apart. These gaps allow undigested food particles, pathogens, and other foreign substances to easily pass into the bloodstream. In turn, the body mounts an immune response to deal with “invaders” leading to inflammation, autoimmunity, loss of blood-brain-barrier function and other downstream effects. >>Read more about Leaky Gut from The Facility<< There are three foods to avoid with leaky gut!

While Leaky Gut was once thought to only affect those with serious medical conditions, we now know that even slight increases in intestinal permeability can cause chronic health issues including functional bowel disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and mood disorders. 

It’s true there are lots of things you can do to repair a leaky gut and improve gut barrier function, one of the first steps of gut healing is avoiding trigger foods that cause the breakdown of tight junctions. Here are my top three foods to avoid with leaky gut.

Related: Mindful Eating: Finding a Healthy Relationship with Food

Top foods to avoid with leaky gut

First, you remove the triggers.. then you repair the lining..

So, What are the top three foods to avoid with leaky gut?


In particular, gluten-containing grains like wheat, spelt, rye, and barley can exacerbate leaky gut by inducing the release of Zonulin, a measurable toxin that changes the apical structure of intestinal cells. The Zonulin release has been linked to the Gliadin protein, which can be present in gluten-containing foods as well as grains that mimic gluten. 


Refined white sugar and added natural sugars can cause imbalances in the gut microbiome by feeding “bad” bacteria, like yeasts. When the gut microbiome is imbalanced, the innate defense is interrupted and tight junctions are more vulnerable. Fructose has been implicated as one of the key carbohydrates involved in the regulation of leaky gut.


Conventional milk products can be problematic for those with leaky gut syndrome or hyper-permeability. Dairy is one of the top food sensitivities, and may present cross-reactions to other food allergies. Lactose, a milk sugar, can exacerbate symptoms of leaky gut and milk proteins can create inflammatory responses. 

*There is some evidence that fermented, organic dairy may be beneficial for the gut microbiome and thus a protective food for intestinal hyperpermeability.

Leaky Gut Diet
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free doesn’t mean boring!

While individual food tolerances can vary, a gut-healing diet that excludes grains, sugar, and dairy is a great place to start. The most effective nutrition strategy will avoid these potential triggers while including gut-supporting foods like bone broth, fermented foods, and healthy fats.

Not sure where to start? Click Here to get my 7-Day Leaky Gut Diet.

What’s included in the Leaky Gut Diet?

-Evidence-based meal plan that includes essential foods for gut healing while excluding all damaging foods

-Simple, easy to follow recipes 

-An itemized shopping list

-A prep guide to minimize confusion and time spent in the kitchen

-Education on key nutrients like fiber, zinc, and probiotics.

>>Download a sample recipe here: Gut Healing Green Smoothie<<

Sample Recipe from the Leaky Gut Diet: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free


Stear clear of these foods to avoid with Leaky Gut and heal inflammation!

You can save even more time (and money) by shopping pantry staples with Thrive Market!

from Sarah Ballentyne, PaleoMom

You May Also Like:

Mindful Eating: Finding a Healthy Mindset with Food

What Is the Carnivore Diet?

Shop This Article:

DISCLAIMERS: The statements made on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. You assume full responsibility for how you use this information. Always consult with your physician or other health professionals before making any diet or lifestyle changes. This post may contain affiliate links whereby if you purchase these products I receive a small percentage of the sale price. This allows me to keep the blog running and I thank you for allowing me to do that!


Enter your email below to get on the list for monthly updates from Kate (plus exclusive resources + meal plans!

You have been successfully Subscribed! Ops! Something went wrong, please try again.

Still learning? Here’s more