Can You Safely Do an Elimination Diet on Your Own?

The most important thing to consider before starting an elimination diet is that it should only be done with the guidance of a medical professional. Although this type of diet is very restrictive, there is still enough variety to prepare healthy and delicious meals. For instance, if an IgE blood test or a skin prick test confirms that you are allergic to wheat, then your treatment plan could include a diet that eliminates wheat. Whenever you make drastic changes to your diet, your body may react in different ways, and this can be especially true with elimination diets.

It is essential to seek the advice of a certified allergy specialist before attempting an elimination diet. Children and individuals with known or suspected allergies should not follow an elimination diet unless they are monitored by their physician. As an expert in this field, I often use elimination diets to help diagnose a food allergy or to identify a food intolerance or sensitivity. This type of diet helps collect and analyze empirical evidence, through experimentation and observation based on what happens in the body when you change what you eat. In my practice, I usually ask patients to eliminate individual foods for an eight-day period, while other healthcare providers may recommend eliminating them for several weeks.

A good elimination diet is very restrictive, helping to identify as many trigger foods as possible. This way, an elimination diet can alleviate symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. Combined with laboratory testing, an elimination diet is the gold standard for diagnosing food allergies and intolerances. In a study with 15 participants with eczema, 14 found that an elimination diet reduced their symptoms and helped identify trigger foods (1). There are also specific types of elimination diets, such as a low-FODMAP diet, which is used for patients with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine (SIBO).

Amber Pankonin, RD and founder of Stirlist states that there are some foods that are low in FODMAP and are generally safe to eat during a simple elimination phase. It is important to remember that an elimination diet should only be done under the guidance of a medical professional. If you have any questions or concerns about your health or nutrition, it is best to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.