Many people look at elimination diets and think, “How hard could it be?” After all, you’re just cutting one food or food group from your diet, so it shouldn’t be too difficult, right? You might be surprised! When you’re accustomed to eating certain foods every day, it can be tough to give them up completely. Finding replacements for those foods or the nutrients they provide can be equally difficult. Below is everything you need to know about elimination diets before you start out:
Do It For the Right Reason
Going on an elimination diet for weight loss or fat burning isn’t usually the best idea. Giving up sugar is always a good choice, but giving up dairy, gluten, peanuts, seafood, or other foods you think may be causing weight loss issues might not be what you need to lose weight. Elimination diets are best for reducing food sensitivities or allergies, not dropping pounds or burning fat. If you’re going to try one of these diets, make sure you’re doing it for the right reason.
Know Your Food Types
When you’re trying to give up certain types of foods, it’s worth researching as much as possible into that food so you know everything you have to cut out of your diet. For example, if you’ve giving up gluten, that doesn’t just mean bread, pasta, and white flour. There are dozens of products containing hidden gluten, which could trigger the allergic reaction or sensitivity if you don’t cut them out. Or, if you’re cutting out seafood, you need to know the risk of cross-contamination in restaurants and delis. Information is crucial for a successful elimination diet.
The Benefits are Real
Many people find that cutting specific foods from their diet can improve their overall health in any number of ways. Food intolerances and sensitivities can wreak all sorts of havoc on your digestive system, but cutting out the foods that trigger them can improve digestion, increase nutrient absorption, and reduce intestinal problems. Cutting inflammatory foods from your diet can reduce inflammatory conditions, while cutting out FODMAPS (foods that trigger gas production due to fiber fermentation in the gut) can help to reduce irritable bowel syndrome. Elimination diets can provide very real health benefits, but only if done right.
It’s Not Just Food
Did you know that a lot of beverages can also trigger problems with your digestive system, autoimmune response, or inflammation? For example, high-sugar drinks can cause inflammation, which can worsen psoriasis or arthritis. Diet sodas and beverages can raise your blood sugar levels, contributing to diabetes and insulin resistance. When considering an elimination diet, remember that it’s not just foods that you’re trying to cut out. You may also want to consider cutting the majority of drinks from your diet, as they could be contributing to your allergies or intolerances.
When it comes down to it, you can only learn so much through research. You may spend hours trying to dig up every fact on the type of food you’re cutting out, but in the long run, it’s better to ask a professional for help. If you suspect that certain foods are harming your body, talk to your doctor or a trained healthcare professional to get their expert opinion. They may be able to run tests to determine whether or not that elimination diet will help, and they can certainly offer recommendations on how to do the diet right. Getting help will ensure that you have as much information as possible so you can be prepared to do the elimination diets properly.