Are You Ready for the Elimination Diet? – Part 2

Written by Anil Bajnath, MD
Posted August 26, 2021

Dear Longevity Insider,

Do you treat yourself like royalty?

The Elimination Diet was originally conceptualized by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit in Sydney, Australia.

An elimination diet is a type of dietary intervention that removes certain foods from the diet for a period of time to see if they are causing health issues such as bloating and stomach pain. This type of diet isn't much different than other diets in that you need to monitor what you're eating and be calorie aware. It sounds simple, but an elimination diet can be difficult and time consuming.

The idea is to remove all irritants from the diet for a specific number of weeks, then introduce one food group at a time back into the person's normal eating pattern to see if any new symptoms arise. Common food groups eliminated in an elimination diet include dairy products, gluten-containing grains (wheat, oats, barley), soy products, or some other foods such as corn or eggs. 

There are many types of elimination diets. For example, the Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, And Polyols (FODMAP_ elimination diet may be used in irritable bowel syndrom (IBS) patients. Studies have shown how a diet low in FODMAPs reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 

Your health care provider may recommend an elimination diet to identify what’s causing symptoms including but not limited to:

  • Heartburn
  • Bloating
  • Distension
  • Regular Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritable Bowel Wyndrome
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal Discomfort
  • Skin Rashes.

Common foods eliminated include but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated Beverages
  • Fructose
  • Nut Products
  • Dairy Products
  • Gluten-Containing Grains
  • Soy Products
  • Corn 
  • Eggs.

Common foods you can eat during an elimination include but are not limited to:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Meat and Fish
  • Dairy Substitutes: Including Coconut Milk and Unsweetened Rice Milk.
  • Fats
  • Spices, Condiments, and Others

This type of diet isn't much different than other diets in that you need to monitor what you're eating and be calorie aware.

The Benefits of Elimination Diets

Elimination diets are a useful clinical diagnostic tool to help people learn what foods they can’t tolerate. Eliminating certain food groups for a time can help individuals identify their personal sensitivities or intolerances, which will allow them to make informed decisions about whether they want to continue eating that specific type of food in the future. Other benefits include weight loss, clearer skin, and better sleep. Additionally, being aware of your food triggers (and abstaining from them) is the safest way to manage a food intolerance or allergy. 

What Happens After an Elimination Diet?

An elimination diet can feel very restrictive as you are removing processed foods that generally contain gluten, dairy, soy, and corn. However, it is not permanent. After you have finished an elimination diet, it is important to reintroduce foods into the diet. This allows people who are sensitive or intolerant to a specific food group to identify which foods they can eat and which one’s cause symptoms. For patients with leaky gut and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), elimination diets help heal the intestinal lining by removing irritating ingredients and supplementing with foods that help rebuild. 

While each person's reintroduction phase may vary, the most common way of reintroducing foods is by scheduling rotations for each food category.  For example, after removing dairy for a particular number of weeks, you would then reintroduce it into your diet in a rotation of one day at every two-week period.

Conclusion

An elimination diet is a temporary way to remove certain foods from your regular diet and see if any of them are causing symptoms. It can be helpful for people who have food sensitivities or allergies, but it’s also recommended with patients suffering from autoimmune conditions and inflammation.

There are many different kinds of elimination diets such as the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), which removes most grains, legumes, dairy products as well as nightshades like tomatoes and peppers. There's Paleo, which eliminates processed goods. There's also the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Diet, which avoids lectins found in wheat, corn, rice and other gluten containing grains. The Specific Carbohydrate (SCD) Diet cuts out sugar-free treats that contain high amounts of carbohydrates such as breads.

All of this talk about food has made me famished. Here's one food I eat every single morning without fail!

To your longevity,

Anil Bajnath MD
CEO/Founder, Institute for Human Optimization
Chief Medical Officer, Longevity Insider HQ