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Elimination Diet

What is it?

  • An eating plan that omits a food or group of foods believed to cause an adverse food reaction, often referred to as a “food intolerance”
  • By removing certain foods for a period of time and then reintroducing them during a “challenge” period, you can learn which foods are causing/worsening symptoms
  • Most often, the foods you eat most often/struggle to give up are the foods you should try to avoid consuming

Top 10 FOODs that can contribute to inflammation include:

  1. Gluten
  2. Dairy
  3. Eggs
  4. Sugar
  5. Corn
  6. Soy
  7. Citrus
  8. Caffeine
  9. Peanuts
  10. Omega 6 Fats

Elimination Diet Process
1.  Prepare Yourself

  • Determine if this is a good time to undertake a major diet modification  
  • 2-4 wks is the timeframe you must commit to
  • If you accidentally eat one of the foods, you will have to restart the diet
  • Work with a healthcare practitioner to learn which foods might be causing problems
  • Keep a food tracker for a week, listing the foods you eat and keeping track of the symptoms you have throughout the day

*A complimentary food and symptom tracker is available for PHS Canada members

2.  Take Action

  • Begin the elimination diet and follow it without any exceptions
  • Check ingredient labels so if, for example, you are avoiding dairy, you don’t eat anything with whey, casein or lactose in it
  • Eating out is not recommended unless the restaurant can provide you with a full ingredient list

3.  Challenge

  • If your symptoms have not improved in 2 wks, continue the diet for an additional 2 wks
  • If your symptoms have not improved by the end of 4 wks, stop the diet and decide whether you would like to try the diet with a different combination of foods
  • If your symptoms have improved for at least 5 days, begin to challenge your body with the eliminated foods, one food at a time
  • Use the purest form of the food available
  • Add a new food back in every 3 days to ensure your symptoms have time to return if they are going to
  • Eat a small amount on day 1 of re-introduction, twice the amount on day 2, and an even larger portion on day 3, as some foods may be tolerated in small amounts
  • If a symptom returns, remove the food from the diet, make a note in the food tracker and place that food on the “allergic” list
  • If you are unsure if you reacted to a food, remove it from your diet and re-test it in 4-5 days
  • If a food does not cause symptoms, it is unlikely to be a problem food and can eventually be added back into your diet once you’ve completed the food challenges

Elimination Diet Calendar

4.  Prepare your New Diet

  • Be sure you are getting adequate nutrition
  • Include some foods you are reactive to on an infrequent/rotational basis
  • Use a dietitian/certified nutritionist to help you create your plan