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Food Elimination Diet

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Food Elimination Diet Maff Hot

Written by Maff     September 16, 2008    
 
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The food elimination diet is used to uncover foods which might be causing symptoms due to food intolerance or hypersensitivity reactions. It is generally used in conventional medicine to uncover food intolerances in patients suffering from digestive disorders with no obvious cause such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Research consistently shows that such an approach is effective in IBS. In complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) aside from its use for digestive disorders it is also used for conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, autism, Candida overgrowth and in cases where increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome) has been identified through testing or is suspected. It is thought that in these conditions the immune system may produce IgG antibodies against any number of foods which results in the production of a wide range of symptoms hours to days after consumption of those foods.

The basics of the diet:

 

First Stage

The patient eats a very restricted diet including only foods that are known to have a low chance of causing any symptoms. It is hoped that the patient will feel better during this stage after a few days to a couple of weeks.

Allowed Foods: Fresh meat and fish, vegetables (except peas), fruit (except citrus).

Disallowed Foods: Processed and cured meats, peas, citrus fruits, grains (particularly those containing gluten & corn), dairy products (and any food containing casein and/or lactose), all processed and packaged foods.

 

Second Stage

Once improvement has been seen in the first stage other foods or food groups are slowly added back into the diet one at a time to see if they cause an exacerbation of symptoms. If no symptoms occur the food or food group is kept in the diet and the patient moves onto the next food until problem foods are identified or all foods have been added back into the diet. The order and rate at which foods/food groups are added varies depending on the specific form of the diet and the healthcare professional recommending it. Any foods that are found to cause problems are then avoided indefinitely and lab tests and other investigations may be carried out to identify the mechanism by which these foods are causing the symptoms (i.e. intolerance or immune related reaction).

Avoiding identified trigger foods can bring permanent relief to many patients so the elimination diet is seen as a very useful diagnostic tool in those conditions mentioned above.

 

 


 

 

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