What Is The Elimination Diet About? 11 Things To Keep In Mind On The Diet

by Funmi // in Diets

What is the elimination diet? Eating is more than just a way to keep our bodies fueled. If you're feeling sluggish or moody, it might not only be your work schedule - it could also be what you eat.

The elimination diet is designed to help identify which foods are giving you these unpleasant symptoms by eliminating them from your diet one at a time for two weeks each.

In this blog post, I'll tell you why you might want to go on a diet, 11 things to keep in mind while going on the elimination diet. Whether your goal is weight loss, clearer skin or just more energy- this article will help you get started.

What is the elimination diet about?

what is the elimination diet

An elimination diet is a dietary regimen that restricts you from consuming a particular type of food for a specific period.

This process can be repeated with new foods to get more information about sensitivities.

Elimination diets are commonly used to diagnose food allergies and intolerances that would not be revealed through other means of testing, such as skin prick tests or blood tests for antibodies against particular foods. 

Elimination diets have also been used to help people who suffer from Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease and an Autism spectrum disorder.

How the elimination diet works

what is the elimination diet

The diet's premise is that by eliminating certain food groups, you can determine if a specific food causes adverse reactions in your body.

The purpose of the process is to isolate foods that cause symptoms in a person and eliminate them from the diet until all reactions stop.

The period for elimination diets varies depending on the individual. Some people may need more than 30 days to determine whether they have reactions to food, while others may react to a food after consuming it for just one meal, making the elimination diet process relatively quick.

The benefits of doing the elimination diet

There are numerous possible benefits from following an elimination diet. They include:

  • Discovering your hidden food sensitivities
  • Help with diagnosis process of ADHD, Autism, and other food-related disorders
  • Decrease your chances of being allergic to a food.
  • Possible reduction in the symptoms of one's chronic illness or condition
  • Improvement in mood and well-being (often felt by those with depression, anxiety, and/or fatigue)
  • Improved digestion for those with frequent diarrhea or constipation
  • Relief from chronic pain and improved sleep
  • Clearance of acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, hives

The benefits of doing an elimination diet are that you can create a more personalized diet and find out your sensitivities without having to guess.

This means that you're able to know exactly what does not work for you, and when considering the side effects it'll have on your body, it's worth trying an elimination diet if you know there is a problem with your diet.

What are common reasons to go on the elimination diet?

what is the elimination diet

1. Sensitivities and intolerances

When you eliminate foods from the diet, most people notice that they feel better in general. This is because certain foods can cause inflammation in the body, known as sensitivity or intolerance. It can be challenging to determine the cause of these reactions without eliminating certain foods from your diet for at least thirty days. Then reintroduce them to see what triggers symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, headaches, and other minor health issues.

2. Finding out if you have food allergies

When someone has a food allergy, the immune system overreacts to proteins in that particular type of food. Symptoms can include skin reactions such as hives, swelling of the face and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are often serious enough to require immediate medical attention, if not an emergency room visit. If you suspect you have a food allergy, it is best to consult your local allergists for testing and treatment options.

3. Finding out if you have an autoimmune disease

Food allergies are one of the symptoms of a person who suffers from an autoimmune disorder, so people use elimination diets to test if they suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease. These disorders can range from very mild to severe, and they can also be life-threatening.

4. Testing for other conditions

Some people have used elimination diets to test if certain foods make them feel a particular way, such as improving headaches or reducing symptoms of depression. This is not recommended, but some individuals have claimed it has helped with these conditions.

5. Treating a disease

Some medical professionals have used elimination diets to treat Autism spectrum disorder and Irritable bowel syndrome. The effectiveness of these treatments is not conclusive, but anecdotal evidence suggests that they can provide relief for some people in addition to more conventional treatments and therapies.

6. Dieting

Even though elimination diets are not considered safe to lose weight, some people use elimination diets to lose weight. Some dieters also report feeling more energetic after eliminating certain foods from their diets.

How to start the elimination diet?

what is the elimination diet

Step One: 

Make a list of possible foods that may cause problems. Write down anything you eat regularly, including dairy products, preservatives and other additives.

Step Two: 

Eliminate each food from your diet for 30 days. Some people may need to eliminate a few foods simultaneously, while others find it easier to eliminate one type of food at a time. During this process, you should also look out for other possible reactants that could be causing problems in your body.

Step Three: 

After thirty days, try to reintroduce the foods you eliminated from your diet and see how you react. For example, suppose a person suffers from stomach cramps after eating dairy products.

In that case, she can eliminate all traces of dairy products from her diet for thirty days and then add them back into her diet one food group at a time, testing for each food separately.

After several weeks, she should have a better idea of which dairy products are causing the reaction and can then avoid them in her diet in the future by choosing non-dairy alternatives.

Step 4: 

Repeat the process until you know which foods are causing reactions in your body and can create an elimination diet plan for yourself.

11 things to keep in mind on the Elimination Diet:

what is the elimination diet
  1. Once you have eliminated the food that causes the problem, you will need to work on a diet that allows for as many foods as possible while avoiding the offending food. In some cases, it is safe to eat small portions of the offending food to maintain a healthy diet without any problems.
  2. If your symptoms disappear or change when you eliminate a particular food, you may have an intolerance or a sensitivity to that food. In this case, it would be best to continue your diet for six months before trying the food again in small portions to see if any symptoms reappear.
  3. If you add the food again and do not experience any problems, you can resume your regular diet. However, you should continue to pay attention to how your body responds to the food if you develop a reaction at some point in the future.
  4. This process could take up to six months, depending on what you are looking for and the type of foods included in the elimination diet. It is not uncommon for dieters to try specific diets for a month, only to see no results. However, elimination diets can be safe and effective if you follow the proper steps.
  5. If your symptoms worsen or do not change after eliminating a food from your diet, stop the elimination process and consult your doctor before trying again at some other time. For this reason, it is important to use elimination diets under the supervision of professional healthcare providers.
  6. Once you have identified the food or foods that cause problems in your body, try to avoid them whenever possible and increase the intake of fruits and vegetables to improve your overall health. In addition, work with a dietitian/nutritionist who can help you identify good foods for your body.
  7. Continue to monitor your symptoms and eating habits while trying to maintain a healthy diet. At some point, when you feel comfortable with what you eat, it may be possible to reintroduce the eliminated food or foods in small servings without experiencing any problems. However, if a problem occurs, you need to eliminate the food again from your diet.
  8. Remember that elimination diets are not considered a cure and do not replace more conventional diagnostic methods such as blood testing, skin prick tests or other allergy tests. Elimination diets help identify foods that cause digestive problems in your body, which is useful information for creating personalized eating plans that are healthy and sustainable.
  9. If you cannot see any changes in your symptoms or continue to have digestive problems, consider other possible causes for your discomfort before starting with elimination diets. In most cases, a change of diet can go a long way to help ease the problem.
  10. Keep a journal of what you eat and your reactions to the foods. This will be useful when trying to determine what works for you as well as what does not.
  11. Finally, remember that what may work for one person with allergies or intolerances may not work for another person. If you have any questions about elimination diets, consult a medical professional before making any diet.

Deeper Dives:

August 13, 2021

August 9, 2021

what is the elimination diet

During an elimination diet, you should avoid all processed foods, wheat, eggs, dairy and gluten. This includes foods or products with added sugars, which are common in processed foods.

It is important to select organic dairy, meat and produce because they do not have the unwanted chemicals used in standard farming practices.

There are several variations to the elimination diet process. The most common method is as follows:

The individual commits to abstaining from all forms of dairy products for at least two weeks and eliminating gluten from their diet. This is often referred to as the gluten and dairy flush, though some sources recommend continuing this diet for a more extended period than just two weeks.

For two to three weeks, eliminate all of the foods above - processed foods, wheat products and gluten.

After week 2 or 3, reintroduce one food group at a time and keep a journal noting how you feel after consuming these foods. What types of symptoms do you experience? What length of time after consuming that particular food do you feel a difference? What time of day are the symptoms worse? What quantity of that food must be consumed for symptoms to start to occur?

what is the elimination diet

Final Thoughts on - What is the elimination diet

The elimination diet is an interesting and intriguing process that can be beneficial for many people.

The idea of the elimination diet is to eliminate certain foods from your diet to see if there are any allergies or intolerances present which you may not have identified through other means. 

Intolerance, on the other hand, may not cause illness at all. Common symptoms of intolerance include digestive problems after eating certain foods and uncomfortable feelings in your body (e.g. headache).

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before beginning an elimination diet, as you may be at risk for nutritional deficiencies if the diet is not carefully monitored.

Hope this has been helpful. Drop a comment or question below, and I will be glad to answer it.

More Resources:

Different Diets for Weight loss

Elimination diet

Role of the elimination diet in adults with food allergy

About the author 


Funmi is a Certified Functional Health Coach. She is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs transform from Stress and burnout so they can begin to thrive in their body and, by extension, their businesses.

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