Why and How is the Elimination Diet Done?

Food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies have become common around the world. Elimination diets, on the other hand, emerged with the goal of finding all kinds of foods that cause ailments. Although it is called a diet, its main purpose is to treat.

What is an elimination diet?

An elimination diet is the elimination of foods that the body cannot tolerate and the improvement of symptoms. In particular, foods that cause indigestion, bloating and stomachache are excluded from the diet.

According to the elimination diet, these nutrients are determined by trial and error method. It cannot be done for a long time. It takes about 5-6 weeks and is used to determine the nutrients that the body cannot tolerate.

Once these foods that the body cannot tolerate are identified, you can remove the irritating foods from your diet to prevent these symptoms.

The elimination diet is divided into different types, and the common goal of all is to add or remove certain types of nutrients.

If you suspect that you have a food allergy, then it would be appropriate to try the elimination diet under expert control.

How does the elimination diet work?

The elimination diet has two stages. Selection Phase (elimination) and Reinstatement phase;

Selection phase (elimination)

At this stage, foods that you think trigger your symptoms are removed from your diet for 2-3 weeks. Thus, the factors causing the symptoms are determined. If you continue to experience these complaints after the foods you have removed from your life, then you should consult a specialist.

You should first eliminate foods that you believe your body cannot tolerate or that are known to be irritating.

Dairy products, soy, corn, nuts, citrus fruits, nightshades, foods containing gluten, eggs and seafood can be counted among the disturbing foods.

reinstatement step

The next stage is the reinstatement stage. At this stage, you gradually begin to replace the foods you remove from your diet.

In the reinstatement phase, symptoms should be followed for 2-3 days. Here are the signs you should watch for:

  • flaky rashes

  • joint pains

  • migraine or headache

  • Insomnia

  • Tiredness

  • respiratory changes

  • Swelling

  • stomach cramps or stomach aches

  • Irritations in the intestines

If your complaints do not persist in the food that you reintroduced to your body during the replacement phase, then you can start eating these foods and move on to the next food group.

But if you continue to experience the above-mentioned complaints, then you have found the trigger foods. You need to remove these foods from your diet.

If you have problems in many food groups and need to remove them from your life, then you should definitely get support from a specialist. Because removing too many food groups from your life is to prepare the environment for nutrient deficiencies.

Prohibitions of the elimination diet

The more food you remove from your life during the selection phase, the easier it will be to find out which food is bothering you.

The foods that are removed from the nutrition list at the selection stage are generally as follows:

Citrus:orange, grapefruit

Eggplants:Tomato, white potato, eggplant, red hot pepper

Oilseeds and nuts:All nuts and seeds (nuts, peanuts, etc.)

Legumes:All legumes, especially beans, lentils, soy-based products

Starchy foods:Wheat, flour, bread, corn, barley, rye and other gluten-containing foods

Dairy products:All dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream

Meat and fish:Processed meats, delicatessen, eggs, shellfish, etc.

Oils:Butter, margarine, trans fats, mayonnaise etc.

Beverages:Alcohol, coffee, caffeinated drinks, black tea, soda etc.

Candy and sweets:Sugar, honey, flavoring syrups, sweets and chocolate

Condiments and spices:Mustard and all seasonings to taste

If there are foods outside of this list that you think are not good for you, it is recommended that you remove them from your diet.

The elimination diet is very restrictive and very effective. So you can quickly find trigger foods

The releases of the elimination diet

The foods that you can continue to consume at the selection stage are:

Fruits:Most fruits except citrus

Vegetables:Most vegetables except nightshades

Cereals:Buckwheat and rice

Meat and fish:Lamb, turkey, most game, and cold-water fish such as salmon

Substitutes for milk:Coconut milk and unsweetened rice milk

Oils:Flaxseed, cold-pressed olive oil and coconut oil

Beverages:Herbal teas and water

Condiments, spices and the like:Fresh herbs and spices, black pepper (except paprika), apple cider vinegar

Other types of elimination diets

Low FODMAP diet:Short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs) that are difficult to digest in some people are removed from their diet.

Elimination diet with less consumed foods:It requires you to combine foods that you do not consume regularly.

Elimination diet with rare foods: It is similar to a low-consumption elimination diet. Since the probability of triggering complaints is low, combinations are made with rarely consumed foods.

Fasting elimination diet: It is quite rigid. It aims to drink only water for up to five days and then replace the food groups. Since this method may threaten your health, it is recommended only under expert control.

Other elimination diets: It happens in a way we are more familiar with. That is, in the form of lactose-free, sugar-free, wheat-free and gluten-free diets.

What Are the Benefits of an Elimination Diet?

It allows us to discover safe foods. Thus, it helps us to remove the disturbing foods from our lives.

The elimination diet also has health benefits:

Reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

IBS is an intestinal disorder that is beginning to become widespread around the world. Studies have indicated that elimination diets relieve IBS symptoms such as gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.

Reduces ADHD symptoms

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder. Elimination diets have been observed to reduce ADHD symptoms.

However, the applications to be made on children must be under the control of experts. Also, for growing children, restricting essential nutrients can stunt their growth when it turns into long-term limitations.

Improves skin problems such as eczema

Eczema has many different causes, but it has been observed that symptoms increase after consumption of certain foods. As a result, these symptoms decreased as a result of elimination diets.

Relieves chronic migraine

Although the causes of migraine are unclear, it has been observed that inflammation triggers migraine. In elimination diets, there was a decrease in migraine symptoms with the elimination of foods that cause inflammation.

What Are the Risks of an Elimination Diet?

It should be applied for as short as 4 or 8 weeks in people who have just experienced it.

It is not recommended to follow the elimination diet for a long time and to remove essential food groups, as nutrient deficiencies will occur.

It is a method that can only be applied under the supervision of an expert for people and children with suspected allergies.


The elimination diet works if you remove the foods that cause discomfort from your life. Afterwards, the symptoms should be controlled and these foods should be reintroduced to the body.

Elimination diets help us find foods we cannot tolerate.

But it is not a diet for everyone. Especially children, those who are growing up and those who have allergic conditions should definitely be under the supervision of an expert.

Most importantly, elimination diets should be applied short-term, as long-term limitations will cause nutritional deficiencies.

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