By Katie Talarico
Having aches and pains, migraines, stomach issues, or other problems and not sure what the cause is? Consider that it could be the food you are eating. Elimination diets can help determine if food is causing the issue. Some foods are otherwise healthy, but may not be healthy for you if they don’t agree with your body.
What are some signs an elimination diet could be helpful for you?
- Joint pain
- Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Stomach pains or cramps
- Migraines or headaches
- Sinus issues
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Skin changes
- Hormonal problems
What is an elimination diet?
An elimination diet is a way to uncover if you have an allergy or intolerance to a particular food. You eliminate foods from your diet you suspect could trigger your symptoms.
What are common types of food to eliminate?
- Processed and refined grains (wheat, barley, corn, oats, rye, bread, white rice, enriched flour)
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream)
- Beans, legumes, nuts and seeds
- Foods with added sugar (candy, baked goods)
- Foods and drinks with aspartame
- Drinks such as alcohol, soda, or coffee
- Nightshade vegetables (such as tomatoes, eggplant, peppers)
- Citrus fruits
- Red meat
What are some tips for doing an elimination diet?
- Pay attention to what you eat and see if any foods stick out as suspected triggers
- Eliminate one at a time versus multiple types of foods
- Read food labels carefully to make sure the food doesn’t contain the ingredient
- Try eliminating a food for 4 weeks, and then slowly add it back into your diet in small amounts
- Log what you ate and how you felt after your meals (right after and a few hours later)
- Use replacements for important nutrients (like protein, calcium, fiber, etc.)
- Don’t cheat and eat the food! It will throw off the results
If you suspect a serious allergy or health problem, consult a medical professional/doctor right away before attempting an elimination diet.
What if I want to eliminate something completely from my diet?
If you eliminate something from your diet long-term that would be a significant change (such as eliminating a food group like dairy or grains), please consult a health or nutrition expert first to make sure you are eliminating it safely and still getting the right nutrients in your diet.
Sources: WebMD, HealthLine, Women’s Health, Food Allergy.org, Institute for Functional Medicine