An elimination diet, also known as the exclusion diet,is a standard meal plan that removes certain foods or ingredients sensitive to your body that may pose health problems. After a while, the food is reintroduced to the diet to monitor the reactions. Below is how to do an elimination diet, including its health benefits and risk factors.

The diet contains foods that you can eat without diverse effects on your health. An elimination diet is used to avoid food linked to symptoms such as allergies, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and gas. The diet can be effective for your health. However, adverse side effects could occur when more food rich in various nutrients is excluded from the diet.  Below are the benefits, reasons why, and how to do the elimination diet.

Types of Elimination Diet

Elimination diets have a variety of types, but few are discussed below.

Gluten-Free Diet

The diet eliminates all types of food containing gluten, including barley, triticale, wheat, and rye.

Specific Carbohydrates Diet

Specific carbohydrates diet allows unprocessed food, foods free from sugar, grain, and starch. This is because of principles that say not all human digestive tracts can process all complex carbs and sugars.


This type of elimination diet is believed to treat symptoms that affect brain functioning; this includes attention deficit disorder and autism.

How the Diet Works

The diet is categorized into two steps: eliminating food and reintroducing the same food after some time.

Elimination Step

Try to avoid the food you suspect can cause adverse effects on your health for not less than 3 weeks. Furthermore, remove foods that cause effects when taken in your meal. When the symptoms persist, seek medical assistance because it might not be the food causing the symptoms.

Reintroduction Step

The next phase of the elimination diet slowly brings eliminated foods back into the diet. Introduce food and wait for the results of any signs or symptoms after 3 days; if there are no signs, again introduce another group of food and wait for the feedback. However, if you experience any symptoms after reintroduction, you can tell the food that had side effects on your healthand avoid itpermanently. Symptoms include joint pain, headache, rashes and skin changes, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.

Essential Benefits of Elimination Diet on Your Health

An elimination diet helps your body heal without posing long-term effects. Furthermore, it discovers food that can lead to severe illness on your body, and it has a lot of health benefits. Some benefits are discussed below.

Help People with Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic immune system condition where the white blood cells known as eosinophilforms bloat in the esophagus lining and triggers inflammation. When you have this condition, swallowing may be difficult and can result in choking.

Six food elimination diet is the elimination technique used. This is the dietary therapy recognized for people with eosinophilic esophagitis. It involves the removal of 6 foods for the first trial, including eggs, milk, wheat, shellfish, soy, and nuts.

Reduces Symptoms of ADHD in Children

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder of children that leads to poor attention and control of impulsive behavior. This condition may last until adulthood. Food can increase your body’s energy level and brain concentration, resulting in better prevention of this condition. However, a study says that children should not use an elimination diet unless directed by health care. This is because growing children need more nutrients. By use of an elimination diet can restrict essential nutrients for growth.

Control Chronic Migraines

The diet involves avoiding any group of food that may trigger a migraine. You are advised to cut out food and drinks that stimulate inflammation and triggers migraine, then slowly reintroduce them back after some time.

Help to Reduce Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

IBS is a condition that affects the esophagus. Symptoms include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach cramps due to food that triggers them.

Protect Skin Condition Like Eczema

Eczema is a condition that results in dryness, itching, redness, and roughness of the skin. The conditiondestroys skin barriers, making it more sensitive and risk any skin infection diseases. By eliminating diet, avoid food such as fish, milk, and peanut, resulting in eczema.

Weight Loss

An elimination diet plays a major role in weight loss as itrestricts more foods rich in calories. However, excess calories in your body are converted into fats and stored in the body leading to weight gain. Foods such as potato chips, sugar-sweetened beverages, and processed meats are avoided in the diet to regulate body weight.

Side Effects Associated with an Elimination Diet

An elimination diet has a lot of health benefits and is a good tool to discover the type of food that can cause health issues. However, following it may also have a range of risk factors, including stunted growth in children, less nutrient intake, and increased allergies.

Fewer Nutrients Intake

Food avoided may have essential nutrients required by your body for energy production. Therefore, their elimination leads to deficiency in some nutrients, resulting in improper body system function.

Stunted Growth in Children

Most food excluded from the diet may lead to a deficiency of essential nutrients responsible for growth and development in children. Therefore, the absence of these nutrients in the body results in stunted growth.

Risks of Increased Allergies

Your body may respond negatively towards a certain type of food excluded. Reintroducing the same type of food group into the diet after 3 weeks can lead to a negative response, causing inflammation and resulting in allergies.

The Bottom Line

An elimination diet may have essential benefits to your health. However, it’s not recommended to follow for a longer period as it could result in nutrientdeficiency.People allergic to certain food are advised to get prescriptions and guidelines from healthcare. Moreover, food exclusion from the diet may cause health problems, as shown above. Deficiency of nutrients in children can lead to stunted growth and poor attention.

MS, Lund University, Sweden

Nutrition plays an important role in human life. Eating habits are one of the factors that affect our health. There is often a misconception among people that nutritionists force a very restrictive diet, but that is not true. In fact, I don't ban any products, but I point out dietary mistakes and help change them by giving tips and new recipes that I've tried myself. I advise my patients not to resist change and to be purposeful. Only with willpower and determination can a good result be achieved in any area of life, including changing eating habits. When I don't work, I love to go climbing. On a Friday evening, you are most likely to find me on my couch, cuddling with my dog and watching some Netflix.

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