what is an elimination diet?

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Ideally, to create an optimal Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) diet, all you’d have to do is avoid a certain food or food group to discover whether it was triggering your IBS. Unfortunately this is easier said than done.

It takes a great deal of time, persistence, and education to properly construct a diet that will adequately treat IBS. Proper lab testing can help you avoid all of this.

The purpose of an elimination diet is to identify whether or not specific food groups trigger your IBS symptoms. Essentially, during an elimination diet you stop eating the foods you normally eat until your symptoms improve. If you feel better after you’ve eliminated a food or stopped eating altogether, then you might strongly suspect that your diet is involved. You may have gone on a fast or a cleansing diet, or simply avoided food for a day or two and discovered that your IBS was much better. Of course, eventually you have to eat, and the trick is figuring out exactly what you can eat.

If, when you reintroduce a food, your symptoms return, then it’s likely that the food or one of its ingredients is an IBS trigger for you. It’s sounds simple enough, but it can be a very slow process and very time consuming. And even after going through this process you may still not see a pattern or you may still be confused about which foods are causing your problems.

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(image thanks to twokidscooking.com)

Ideally, to create an optimal IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) diet, all you’d have to do is avoid a certain food or food group to discover whether it was triggering your IBS.
Unfortunately this is usually easier said than done.

It takes a great deal of time, persistence, and education to properly construct a diet that will adequately treat IBS.

Proper lab testing can help you avoid all of this.

The purpose of an elimination diet is to identify whether or not specific food groups trigger your IBS symptoms. Essentially, during an elimination diet you stop eating the foods you normally eat until your symptoms improve. If you feel better after you’ve eliminated a food or stopped eating altogether, then you might strongly suspect that your diet is involved. You may have gone on a fast or a cleansing diet, or simply avoided food for a day or two and discovered that your IBS was much better. Of course, eventually you have to eat, and the trick is figuring out exactly what you can eat.

If, when you reintroduce a food, your symptoms return, then it’s likely that the food or one of its ingredients is an IBS trigger for you. It’s sounds simple enough, but it can be a very slow process and very time consuming. And even after going through this process you may still not see a pattern or you may still be confused about which foods are causing your problems.

More information on lab testing for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Food Allergies here.

Image thanks to twokidscooking.com

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This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

Objective

In Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the gut-associated immune system may be up-regulated resulting in immune complex production, low-grade inflammation, loss of Class I bacteria, and translocation of inflammatory mediators and macromolecules outside of the GI lumen. Since food intolerance may be one of the reasons for this upregulation, our goal was to investigate the role of food intolerance in IBS patients.

Methods

In this open label pilot study, we enrolled 20 patients with IBS by Rome II criteria (15 women, ages 24–81) who had failed standard medical therapies in a tertiary care GI clinic. Baseline serum IgE and IgG food and mold panels, and comprehensive stool analysis (CSA) were performed. Breath-hydrogen testing and IBS Quality-of-Life (QOL) questionnaires were obtained. Patients underwent food elimination diets based on the results of food and mold panels followed by controlled food challenge. Probiotics were also introduced. Repeat testing was performed at 6-months. We followed up with this cohort at 1 year after trial completion to assess the reported intervention and for placebo effect.

Results

Baseline abnormalities were identified on serum IgG food and mold panels in 100% of the study subjects with significant improvement after food elimination and rotation diet (p < 0.05). Significant improvements were seen in stool frequency (p < 0.05), pain (p < 0.05), and IBS-QOL scores (p < 0.0001). Imbalances of beneficial flora and dysbiotic flora were identified in 100% of subjects by CSA. There was a trend to improvement of beneficial flora after treatment but no change in dysbiotic flora. The 1-year follow up demonstrated significant continued adherence to the food rotation diet (4.00 ± 1.45), minimal symptomatic problems with IBS (4.00 ± 1.17), and perception of control over IBS (4.15 ± 1.23). The continued use of probiotics was considered less helpful (3.40 ± 1.60).

Conclusion

These data demonstrate that identifying and appropriately addressing food sensitivity in IBS patients not previously responding to standard therapy results in a sustained clinical response and impacts on overall well being and quality of life in this challenging entity.

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If you’ve done much reading about IBS diets, then you’ve seen advice urging you to increase fiber if you’re constipated, increase fiber if you have diarrhea, cut back on sugar, drink more water, avoid lactose, avoid dairy, avoid bread, avoid red meat, cut back on yeast, reduce spicy foods, cut back on carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners, eliminate chocolate, eliminate caffeine, eliminate alcohol, eat smaller meals, and so on and so on. You may be wondering if you can ever eat again without triggering your symptoms.

The problem with this approach is that different foods trigger IBS in different people, and many foods can potentially trigger IBS symptoms – far more than in the list mentioned. Therefore the best diet for you may not be the best one for someone else. Certainly some people have been helped by one of the recommendations above, but most people have not.

Elimination Diets

Ideally, to create an optimal IBS diet, all you’d have to do is avoid a certain food or food group to discover whether it was triggering your IBS. Unfortunately this is easier said than done. It takes a great deal of time, persistence, and education to properly construct a diet that will adequately treat IBS. Proper lab testing can help you avoid all of this.

The purpose of an elimination diet is to identify whether or not specific food groups trigger your IBS symptoms. Essentially, during an elimination diet you stop eating the foods you normally eat until your symptoms improve. If you feel better after you’ve eliminated a food or stopped eating altogether, then you might strongly suspect that your diet is involved. You may have gone on a fast or a cleansing diet, or simply avoided food for a day or two and discovered that your IBS was much better. Of course, eventually you have to eat, and the trick is figuring out exactly what you can eat.

If, when you reintroduce a food, your symptoms return, then it’s likely that the food or one of its ingredients is an IBS trigger for you. It’s sounds simple enough, but it can be a very slow process and very time consuming. And even after going through this process you may still not see a pattern or you may still be confused about which foods are causing your problems. There are many reasons for this. For a further explanation please click on the link below.