Elimination Diet - What is it?
This article will explain what an elimination diet is. It is not intended to be a manual for an elimination diet because those should be tailored individually to fit each client’s specific needs.
This method is a self-test which is done at home for figuring out possible food allergies. It takes time – a few weeks. It’s not a good idea for people who have had severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis. If you have, it is important for you to find out your trigger food as soon as possible so you can avoid it. You should consult your healthcare professional.
How does the elimination diet work?
The most common types of elimination diet involve removing specific foods or ingredients from the diet because you and your healthcare professional think they may be causing allergic symptoms. Common allergy-causing foods include gluten, milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, and soy. Your healthcare professional will supervise this diet over a few weeks. There are usually several steps to this diet.
1. Stop eating suspicious foods.
During this time, you will be required to:
Read food labels carefully and inquire how foods are prepared at restaurants so you can be sure to avoid possible triggers.
Make a record of all the foods you are eating in a food diary.
If you remove a certain type of food and the allergy symptoms diminish while following this diet, your healthcare professional can usually confirm that that food may be the cause of your problems.
While on this diet, make sure you eat other foods providing similar nutrients as those you're avoiding. (For example, try tofu-based foods instead of dairy products.) A nutritionist can help you plan meals.
2. Slowly add back in suspicious foods, one at a time.
After eliminating or taking foods out of your diet, your healthcare professional will ask you to gradually reintroduce into your diet the foods you have eliminated. You’ll add them one at a time over several days. This process helps link allergy symptoms to specific foods.
Carefully record any allergy symptoms that you get as you add each food back into your diet. If symptoms return after eating a food, your healthcare professional can usually confirm that this is a trigger.
3. Last, you will be asked to once again to stop eating the foods (one at a time) that you and your healthcare professional think are causing your allergy symptoms. The list should be smaller this time. The goal is to see if the symptoms clear up permanently.
The elimination diet is not a sure thing. Other factors can affect the results. For example, if you think you're sensitive to a food, you could have a response to it, but it may not be a true allergy.
Before making big changes to your diet, always talk to your healthcare professional. If you randomly remove foods from your diet, you may not have a balanced diet -- and that can cause other health conditions. You may also become exasperated because it may seem that everything you eat is causing a reaction.