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Elimination Diets

Elimination Diets

Considered a useful tool for assessing food sensitivities and intolerances, elimination diets can assist in the identification of potentially irritating foods.  Gluten-free, low FODMAP, and lactose-free diets are all simple forms of elimination diet protocols that can have significant effects on individuals.

The Protocol

Elimination diets can be a safe and reliable alternative to food sensitivity testing. They are particularly useful when constructed with a Registered Dietitian and a client who is motivated to commit to this approach.

Elimination Phase

Protocols can vary but generally, elimination and reintroduction phases are standard. Depending on the client and his/her symptoms, certain culprit foods may be identified and replaced with suitable alternatives.  This elimination phase typically lasts for 4-8 weeks, depending on how much healing time an individual may require.

Some suspect foods include: gluten-containing grains, dairy, legumes, nightshade vegetables, peppers, soy, monosodium glutamate, and high FODMAP foods. Keep in mind there is no universal safe food and no universal elimination diet.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

One of the most common digestive issues seen in doctors’ offices, irritable bowel syndrome often encompasses: bloating, abdominal pain, abnormal bowel movements, and other digestive complaints.

While there are several factors to consider, such as: environmental, social, physical, and emotional issues, diet manipulation can prove highly effective. Many clients who reduce or substitute: grains, legumes, and dairy products with suitable alternatives can experience enormous gut relief.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

An autoimmune condition that is characterized by joint pain and inflammation, arthritis sufferers may benefit from eliminating such foods as: gluten, casein, whey, lactose, omega-6 fatty acids, and nightshade vegetables.


Suspect foods in migraine sufferers include: phenylethylamine, tyramine, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, nitrates, nitrites, alcohol, and caffeine. Elimination of these foods/chemicals will require thoughtful planning as these ingredients can be found naturally and as a result of processing.

Issues to consider:

With respect to food sensitivities, keep in mind that small doses of certain suspect foods and/or chemicals can be tolerated. It is large, frequent doses that can be problematic.

Know your vitamin D status. Lack of this essential nutrient can increase gut permeability thereby increasing sensitivities.

If gluten is thought to be irritating, have celiac disease ruled out. An accurate diagnosis cannot be made once gluten has been removed from the diet.

Eliminate herbal supplements during the elimination phase of the diet. Components of certain preparations, such as yeast can be irritating for some.




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