Elimination Diet

An elimination diet is used to detect foods that might be the cause of allergies and consists of fasting or consuming foods which have a low allergic rate (such as rice, lamb, cabbage) for 4-7 days until symptoms clear. If symptoms disappear during this period, commonly consumed foods are then reintroduced one at a time in the hope of finding the culprit.

Some consider it important to be on an elimination diet longer than a week. This is because it may take up to 3 weeks for chronic symptoms to disappear as the body reverts from a state of allergy-addiction (corresponding to Selye’s adaptation stage) to one of increased alertness and sensitivity (corresponding to Selye’s alarm stage). In this hypersensitive state, ingestion of an offending food results in a rapid and exaggerated reaction, allowing the patient to identify previously unsuspected allergens.

An elimination diet can be accurate, but difficult at the same time. Most food allergy symptoms do not appear soon enough after consuming the food to easily make the connection. However, after avoiding the food for some time, as in an elimination diet, reintroduction of the offending food results in a more rapid and pronounced symptom onset. This makes it easier to identify which food is causing the problem.


Elimination Diet can help with the following



Gluten Sensitivity / Celiac Disease

If gluten sensitivity blood testing or endoscopic exam is not possible, simple avoiding gluten-containing foods strictly for several months can help one determine if this is a likely issue. Please see the link between Gluten Sensitivity and a Gluten-free Diet.



Although most people with asthma do not suffer from food allergies [J Asthma 1991;28: pp.5-9], unrecognized food allergy can be an exacerbating factor. [JAMA 1959;169: p.1158] A medically supervised allergy elimination diet followed by reintroduction of the eliminated foods, often helps identify problematic foods. A healthcare professional must supervise this allergy test because of the possibility of triggering a severe asthma attack during the reintroduction. [N Engl J Med 1992;327: pp.380]


Pruritus Ani

Drinks such as milk, citrus fruit juices and those containing caffeine, such as coffee, tea and cola, may aggravate pruritis ani for some people. Similarly, foods that may be a problem include chocolate, fruits, tomatoes, nuts and popcorn.


Urinary Stress/Overactive Bladder

An elimination diet can deal with both food allergens and food irritants which may be causing the irritable bladder.


May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended



Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.


Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.


A substance that is capable of producing an allergic response in the body.

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