The elimination diet has been the standard in order to recognize food sensitivity. Unlike with food allergies which consist of an immune system response and diagnosed easily, skin prick test and blood tests are not reliable in identifying food sensitivity.
The food sensitivities can trigger various symptoms that range from headaches, abdominal pain, asthma, hives, restless leg syndrome and lethargy. The elimination diet should be carried out properly with the supervision of a doctor since the strictness of the diet can cause certain side effects that you should be well aware of. If you want to learn how to handle an allergic reaction, read here.
How the elimination diet works?
The precise protocol utilized when following an elimination diet tends to vary depending on the symptoms experienced and the suspected foods, but the rules are quite similar. It is vital to eliminate all potential foods from the diet such as dairy products, gluten-containing grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables, sugar, soy and some fruits and vegetables for a few weeks.
In case the elimination diet allow the symptoms to diminish, the individual can carry out the provocation challenges by introducing the eliminated foods again one by one with a space of at least 3-4 days to determine which foods are triggering the symptoms. The elimination diet will enable the individual to determine the foods that must be avoided since they are capable of triggering the symptoms and foods that can be tolerated and to be included in the diet.
A major side effect of the elimination diet is that it can be restrictive, particularly if the protocol being followed eliminates several various foods and food groups including dairy, grains, soy and some vegetables and fruits. During the course of the elimination diet, the diet might only be based on limited foods and leaves the individual feeling deprived as a side effect. The elimination of various foods that the individual used to enjoy all at once requires a lot of willpower and determination as well as adjustments to the meal planning and preparation.
Due to the limited food choices during the elimination diet, the individual faces the risk of ending up with nutritional deficiencies as a side effect. Various foods or food groups that are eliminated are vital sources of nutrients for the body.
Depending on the time frame required to follow the elimination diet, the body might miss out on vital minerals and vitamins. It is vital to follow an elimination diet that is specifically designed by a doctor to avoid missing out on essential vitamins and minerals. Mineral or multivitamin supplements can also be recommended during the elimination diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
During the stricter phase of the elimination diet, it might be difficult to attend family dinners, eating outside or any celebration that involves foods. If the individual eats out, he/she has to ask about the ingredients used and how it was prepared. In most cases, the individual is required to bring his/her own food. Many end up socializing less as a side effect of the elimination diet.