There are many ways clinicians are exploring the dietary and supplement protocols you can use for GI conditions. One of the starting points is the elimination diet, used to identify food allergies or intolerances reported in an individual. An elimination diet can be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. It is not an easy mechanism of identification (for both the patient and clinician), but can identify potential triggers in the patient’s diet.
What is the elimination diet?
The elimination diet entails removing suspected dietary triggers in a patient. Those living with conditions such as Crohn’s and IBS often have many food allergies which trigger their symptoms. A clinician will help the patient to eliminate potential food triggers from the diet over a 3-4 week period. Once the patient starts to show clinical improvements, the practitioner will gradually reintroduce foods until symptoms reoccur. At this point, the doctor and patient are easily able to identify which foods are triggers, as symptoms resurface upon digestion.
This diet is only used for identification purposes, and is not intended for extensive use. Once the patient knows his/her triggers, a dietary plan can be drawn up. It would be helpful, from this point, for the patient to work closely with a dietician. The elimination diet is divided into two phases.
The Elimination Phase
The elimination phase involves removing food groups from the diet that could potentially cause gastric issues. The removal time is usually between 2-4 weeks. The doctor-patient relationship needs to be strong in communicating which foods to start eliminating. A patient will most likely know which foods are triggers due to experience and observation over time. The doctor will know which foods are the most common in causing GI issues.
During this time, both the patient and doctor can determine if the symptoms are due to foods or something else. If the patient’s GI discomfort still remains after this time, it is best to notify one’s doctor for further investigation.
The Reintroduction Phase
The reintroduction phase is exactly what it sounds like – reintroducing foods into the diet. This phase is often riddled with more discomfort, because the aim is to find out if symptoms reoccur when certain foods are brought back into the diet. This will give a good indication that the patient is definitely sensitive to certain foods.
If there are no recurring symptoms when a certain food is consumed, it is safe to assume that it can be reintroduced into the diet until further reaction is noticed. If one plans to eliminate many food groups, it is best to work closely with a dietician or doctor. Eliminating too many food groups may cause a nutritional deficiency.
The elimination diet is a highly effective means of identifying food allergies and triggers. Especially for those living with GI conditions such as IBS and IBD. The discomfort experienced with food allergies is exhausting and often leads to burnout in patients. It is important to identify and eliminate triggers, to ensure the patient is able to live their life comfortably. Integrative and Functional Medicine are now paving the way forward to more effective and efficient means of prevention and treatment protocol.
How do I Become a Functional Medicine Practitioner to learn more about Elimination Diets?
The Institute of Integrative Medicine is a global leader in the field of Integrative Medicine Education. Integrative medicine aims to be at the forefront of modern technology and new discoveries. An elimination diet can assist in identification of dietary triggers in patients. This provides the ability to avoid or restrict certain foods and prevent the onset of allergic reactions. We offer certified online courses helping you to take charge of your practice and improve the quality of life for your patients. Find out more about the courses we offer today!