Elimination Diet: An Overview
An elimination diet is a meal plan that involves eliminating food items that you suspect are not good for your body and health. This technique focuses on figuring out meals that your body fails to tolerate.
In the future, these food items are reintroduced to your body. This technique helps check on the symptoms if the person is still sensitive to or allergic to the food.
This form of therapy is not about losing weight or calories. The only reason behind practicing an elimination diet is to figure out certain foods that might be the reason for your allergy symptoms.
For people who have a food allergy or food intolerance, a sensitive gut can help identify the reason behind these symptoms. The reaction caused by these symptoms lasts 5–6 weeks.
Once you have recognized the reason behind these symptoms, you can remove that particular food from your diet. This therapy further helps alleviate symptoms, such as gas problems, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and nausea.
The elimination diet has two phases:
- The elimination (avoidance) phase
- The reintroduction (challenge) phase
If you are aware of your allergy condition, you must get medical guidance and practice only an elimination diet. Whereas if you suspect a food allergy, consult with a naturopath doctor before commencing an elimination diet. Rashes, swelling, hives, or breathing problems are common signs people face due to food allergies.
How Does It Work?
The Elimination Diet works in two phases – eliminating the food responsible for allergy and reintroducing the food to check symptoms and follow the correct diet.
The Elimination Phase
This phase helps suspect the food that triggers your symptoms and eliminate them from your diet plan. The symptoms last for 2-3 weeks.
If you suspect certain foods are notorious to your health or your body fails to cooperate and causes uncomfortable symptoms, a naturopath recommends eliminating such food items.
Nuts, soy, dairy, citrus fruits, corn, wheat, Shellfish, foods containing gluten, pork, eggs, and seafood are some of these food items.
Few Food Additives are also responsible for triggering food allergy symptoms. Aspartame (artificial sweetener), Monosodium glutamate (flavor enhancer), Sulfites, benzoates, and sorbates (preservatives), Artificial food colors, Nitrate and nitrites (preservatives) are few Food Additives that one must consider. Every person has a different body functioning. A Naturopath doctor recommends observing and then take a step.
During this phase of Diet Therapy, one can determine which food is responsible for causing uncomfortable symptoms. If you suspect there is no change in the symptoms after removing the food from the diet, visit the nearby doctor.
The Reintroduction Phase
The second phase is the reintroduction phase. Under this phase of the elimination diet therapy, you need to reintroduce, one at a time eliminated food into your diet.
Keep a watch on the symptoms over 2-3 days as you introduce each food group individually. Keep a close eye on some of the listed symptoms:
– Pain in your joints
– Sleeping Disorder
– Breathing Issue
– Cramps or Stomach Pain
– Change in your bowel habits.
If after reintroducing eliminated food (over 2-3 days), there are no symptoms, you can continue with its consumption. Later, practice another set of food groups earlier eliminated from your diet.
However, if the results are negative and sound similar to the ones listed above, then it is a trigger food. Most importantly, avoid eating that food and remove it from your diet plan.
This whole process of analysis, identification, and elimination takes roughly 5-6 weeks.
If you are unsure of the reaction from food, consult your doctor or an expert dietitian. Proteins and nutrients are essential for healthy living. If you plan to eliminate each food group, it can impact your health and cause nutritional deficiency.
How to Do an Elimination Diet and Why?
Our body at times fails to tolerate certain food items, also referred to as a health condition of Food intolerance or sensitivity.
As per research, around 2-20% of people may suffer from this condition worldwide.
Elimination Diet is a trusted diet therapy technique that helps identify food intolerances, allergies, and sensitivity through the meal plan.
By keeping a check on the diet and eliminating certain foods, we can fix food allergies. The elimination diet helps eliminate food and later reintroduce to check on the symptoms.
Naturopaths, expert dietitians, and allergists have been using this practice for decades. They recommend practicing an elimination diet to help people remove foods that their body can’t tolerate and cause uncomfortable symptoms.
Other Forms of Elimination Diets
Apart from the one listed above, there are several other forms of elimination diet that one can practice.
FODMAPS is a diet recommended for people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It classifies groups of carbs that trigger digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, and stomach pain. With the help of a Low-FODMAPs diet, one can remove FODMAPs that our body can’t tolerate.
Few foods elimination diet:
This form of elimination diet involves consuming a diet combination of foods that you don’t eat regularly.
A rare foods elimination diet:
This form of an elimination diet is similar to a few foods diet. Under this type of elimination diet, one can only rarely eaten foods as the chances of showing symptoms are less.
Fasting elimination diet:
Under this technique, one has to Drink water (for five days). Later one needs to reintroduce food groups. Consult your doctor before continuing with this type of elimination diet as it can affect your health.
Other elimination diets
Practice sugar-free, gluten-free, and wheat-free diets for identifying your health condition.
An elimination diet guides you on what to eat and what to avoid as per your body’s mechanism.
There are certain foods our bodies can’t tolerate. If you’re noticing signs that you feel are related to your diet plan or meal structure, then practicing an elimination diet is the right choice. It helps you discover which foods are responsible for such uncomfortable symptoms.
However, these diets are not for everybody, especially children. Consult a naturopath doctor or dietitian for expert advice.
People with known or suspected allergies must only practice this therapy. Also, the therapy must be in practice for the short-term only. A long-term elimination diet can affect your health and cause nutritional deficiency.