An elimination diet consists of temporarily not consuming a number of foods or ingredients in order to identify potential food allergies or sensitivities.
This type of diet is mainly used by people who suffer from stomach and intestinal complaints, skin problems or other health-related complaints of which the cause is not immediately clear.
The first phase of the elimination diet is the elimination phase itself, in which certain foods and/or ingredients are removed from the diet. This phase lasts on average three to four weeks, and it is important to keep track of any complaints and symptoms.
The second phase concerns a reintroduction phase . The avoided foods are slowly (read: one by one) reintroduced. It is again essential to carefully monitor any complaints and symptoms.
If the complaints disappear during the elimination phase and then return during the reintroduction phase, there is a real chance that they are provoked by the food in question. The process is often repeated again to reduce the chance of errors.
There are many different types of elimination diets, each involving the elimination of a different group of foods or ingredients.
The gluten-free diet
This type of elimination diet removes all sources of gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye). The diet is mainly used to help people who are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive. People in this last category in particular often remain undiagnosed for a long time, because their complaints can be very diffuse and do not always focus on the gastrointestinal system. While gluten intolerance is only a limited occurrence, research shows that a significant part of the population is gluten sensitive. If you want to know more about this, the book 'grain brain' by Dr. David Perlmutter highly recommended.
The dairy-free diet
This type of elimination diet removes all dairy sources including milk, cheese and yogurt. It is mainly recommended if there is a suspicion of lactose intolerance or a sensitivity to certain proteins such as beta casein type A1.
The FODMAP diet.
This is a type of elimination diet that is often used in a clinical setting and eliminates certain types of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed in the intestine. More specifically, it concerns fructose, lactose, fructans and polyols. This type of diet is usually used for irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive problems.
The GAPS diet stands for “Gut and Psychology Syndrome diet”. The diet was developed by Dr. Campbell-McBride and is used in alternative medicine for conditions such as ADHD, autism, depression, and other psychological conditions. The diet is complex and includes several phases, which often have to be followed for a long time. It is a combination of an elimination diet, in which specific foods such as bone broth and fermented products form an essential part of the daily diet.
Elimination diets can provide extremely useful information and often solve problems that have plagued certain individuals for a long time. However, they do require some willpower, structure, discipline and follow-up. Since certain foods are eliminated, it is always recommended to work with a certified dietitian to eliminate the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Because most varieties of bone broth are free of gluten, lactose, saccharides and antinutrients, they can be used in many elimination diets.