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When it comes to weight loss, the idea of cutting certain foods from your diet is not a new concept; however, when it comes to elimination diets, the idea isn’t about losing weight at all. Instead, it focuses on curing many different illnesses and conditions by removing entire food groups from one’s diet in an effort to determine if certain foods are responsible for causing the maladies.

HOW IT WORKS

When deciding to do an elimination diet, you have to be prepared to remove all of the foods that are known to cause intolerance issues. This includes, but is not limited to, dairy products, eggs, gluten, nuts, soy, sugar and alcohol. It’s absolutely necessary to abstain from all foods that contain these ingredients for several weeks to ensure that any potential antibodies to the foods are expelled from the body. After a period of time, forbidden foods are added back into the diet one at a time. It takes about two days to notice a negative reaction to the food and if no reaction is noticed, another food can be added to the diet. So it goes until it’s determined which food is the cause of your symptoms.

UNDERSTANDING FOOD INTOLERANCE

Food intolerance is not a food allergy, rather the body’s inability to properly digest certain foods. The main difference between intolerance and an allergic reaction is that when ingesting even a tiny amount of a certain food that you are allergic to, you will generally experience an immediate reaction. Intolerance, however, can take as long as two days to show any symptoms. The most common signs of intolerance are:

  • Gas or bloating
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Hives
  • Runny nose
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue

As you can see, these symptoms are also related to a wide range of issues, from not getting enough sleep to eating too much. If food intolerance is causing these problems, the elimination diet will help you figure it out, which is good. Whether or not a food intolerance is discovered, it’s important to recognize that you are robbing your body of the beneficial vitamins and minerals during the time in which you are moving through the diet.

SHOULD YOU CONSIDER THE ELIMINATION DIET?

If you think you have sensitivities to certain foods, the elimination diet is one means to help determine that; however, ignoring entire food groups for weeks at a time can rob the body of vital nutrients and calories, which can become a bigger issue. Another option is to continue eating normally but remove only one type of food at a time. If you don’t notice a change after a few weeks, add that food back in and remove the next category. This will allow you to continue following a healthy diet while still pinpointing a possible culprit.

If you are determined to follow an elimination diet, you should contact your physician before doing so to prevent any unnecessary health problems or nutrient deficiencies.

By Julia Rogue

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