Why use an elimination diet?
Elimination Diets are dietary programmes designed to clear the body of foods and chemicals that an individual may be allergic or sensitive to, helping the body handle and dispose of these substances. These diets require the removal of certain foods or food categories from the diet.
The idea is that these modifications allow the body’s detoxification processes, which may have become overburdened or compromised, to recover and start functioning efficiently again. These dietary changes help the body eliminate or “clear” various toxins that may have accumulated due to environmental exposure, foods, drinks, drugs, alcohol, or smoking.
How to use an elimination diet?
There are a number of ways to adopt an elimination diet, with varying degrees of strictness according to need.
The types we use most commonly at IBS clinics include
Oligo Antigenic diet
Allows only 1 fruit (banana, apple, pear), 1 vegetable (brassica family), 1 meat (lamb or chicken) and 1 starch (potatoes or rice) plus healthy oils such as olive oil and so is very restrictive.
IBS elimination diet
Removes gluten, dairy (even lacto-free) soya, corn, legumes, processed foods and most e-numbers.
Comprehensive elimination diet
Removes all common trigger foods from an individual’s diet
Elimination diets are generally well tolerated and can be very beneficial. It’s important to remember, however, that your initial response to any new diet will be affected by
Physiological, mental, and biochemical differences
The degree of exposure to, and types of, any toxins
Other lifestyle factors
There is no typical or normal “reaction” to any new diet: responses are highly individual, but people on elimination diets report
Increased energy and mental alertness
Decreased muscle or joint pain
A general sense of improved well-being
However, some people report initial reactions, especially in the first week, as their bodies adjust to dietary changes. Symptoms experienced can include
Changes in sleep patterns
Joint or muscle stiffness
Changes in gastrointestinal function
Such symptoms rarely last for more than a few days.