The Elimination Diet for Food Allergies
With the information gained from your history, physical exam and testing, your allergist may further narrow down the suspected foods by placing you on a special diet. If your symptoms occur only occasionally, the culprit is likely a food that you donít eat very often. Your allergist/immunologist may ask you to keep a daily food diary listing all food and medication ingested, along with your symptoms for the day. By reviewing and comparing "good days" with "bad days", you and your allergist may be able to determine which food is causing your reaction.
If only one or two foods seem to be causing allergic reactions, it may be necessary for the patient to go on a food elimination diet. The suspect food must be completely eliminated in any form for a short time - one to two weeks. If the allergic symptoms subside during abstinence and flare up when the food is ingested again, the likelihood of identifying the problem food can be increased.
If several foods appear to cause problems and/or the diagnosis of food allergy is equivocal, your allergist may want to confirm the role of each suspected food by oral food challenge testing. Not all positive skin tests and/or IgE blood tests equal a definite food allergy. With this in mind, food challenges are the best way to determine whether or not a food allergy really exists.
During an oral food challenge test the patient will eat or drink small portions of a suspected food in gradually increasing portions over a given period of time, usually under a physician's supervision, to see if an allergic reaction occurs.
Important information for your elimination diet:
Keep a food journal Ė Write down everything you eat for a specified period of time. Donít forget to include beverages, spices or anything added to your food for flavour. Below is a list of common foods and what they contain. This will be helpful in identifying food contents.
Keep a symptom journal Ė Correlating your symptoms with the foods youíve eaten is the point of this exercise. Make sure to record not only the symptom but the time when it occurred and itís severity.
Dairy (Milk)-containing foods: Cheese, butter, ice cream, margarines, breads, soups, cookies, candies, luncheon meats and other processed or manufactured foods.
Egg-containing foods: Cakes, cookies, ice cream, pies, macaroni, salad dressings, noodles, pancake mixes, and other manufactured foods.
Wheat-containing foods: Breads, cookies, crackers, soups, cereals, candies, batters, luncheon meats, pancake mixes, salad dressings, gravies and other commercially prepared foods.
Corn-containing foods: Candies, breads, pastries, batter, cereals, ketchup, peanut butter, bacon, and many other processed and refines products that contain corn oils, starches or sugars.
Sugar-containing foods: candies, soft drinks, cookies, ice cream, salad dressings, ketchup and countless other packaged and processed foods.
Chocolate and Coca-containing foods: candies, snack foods, cereals, desserts.
Orange and citrus-containing foods: Oranges, limes, grapefruit, Sprite, flavourings in desserts, and other processed foods.
Coffee, tea and alcohol: All coffee and tea (including instant and caffeine free) products must be avoided. Also avoid all alcoholic beverages.
Foods containing coloring, flavouring and additives: Processed and packaged foods, including cereals, soft drinks, ketchup mustard, hot dogs, luncheon meats, and many others.
This material is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the medical advice of your doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult with your physician if you are in any way concerned about your health.
© 2002 SLPM Self care Ltd.