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Elimination Diets: How To Know If They Will Work For You

The foods you eat provide nutrients that keep you healthy and energized. However, certain foods may cause gas, bloating, indigestion, and other stomach problems. An allergy or intolerance could cause your symptoms after eating certain foods.

Elimination diets are the best way to pinpoint which foods make you sick. By identifying the trigger foods, you can avoid or limit them.” Sarita Salzberg, M.D., board-certified family medicine and addiction medicine physician at the virtual health platform PlushCare, explains the objectives of an elimination diet.

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Elimination Diets: What Are They?

You probably already know which foods cause you problems. Dietary changes require eliminating these food suspects.

According to Julie Stefanski, R.D.N., a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, an elimination diet may exclude allergens, gastrointestinal irritants, or foods suspected to cause inflammation, depending on the condition it’s prescribed for.

Elimination Diets: What They Can’t Determine

Elimination diets can identify foods causing stomach problems, but they don’t determine whether you have a food allergy or sensitivity, especially without a doctor’s advice. Stefanski said, “Following an elimination diet without seeing a GI doctor isn’t going to reveal the underlying cause of the issue.” She says they also focus on specific foods rather than amounts of nutrients, which makes them short-term experiments rather than permanent solutions.

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An Elimination Diet: How To Do It

Following these steps can help you with stomach issues if you decide to try an elimination diet:

  • Consult your doctor
  • Reduce trigger foods by removing them from your diet
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Gradually reintroduce foods

Your doctor can help you develop a long-term eating plan once you figure out what foods trigger you. She stresses the importance of following your doctor’s recommendations for an elimination diet. Dr. Salzberg said, “you cannot cheat on an elimination diet – the experiment will be invalid if you do. Be intentional about completing the process before you begin.”