Food contains the vitamins and nutrients that the human body needs to carry out its functions. However, some people are more sensitive to certain types of food. For many people, this means completely altering their diets to avoid that particular food. A hypoallergenic diet plan is a way to address this issue.
Is it a food allergy or food intolerance?
Both food allergies and food intolerances can cause physical reactions in the body. However, it’s important to know the difference between the two because they differ in the severity of symptoms. Food intolerances are generally much milder than food allergies.
Food allergies happen when the immune system’s antibodies mistakenly attack harmless substances such as food. Mild symptoms of a food allergy can include tingling in the lips or mouth and hives. Meanwhile, anaphylaxis, a more severe side effect, can be deadly in some cases.
Food intolerances, on the other hand, cause symptoms that are directly related to the digestive system. If you have a difficulty digesting a particular food then you probably have an intolerance. Other symptoms of a food intolerance include diarrhea, excess gas, and even rashes.
Step-by-step guide to the hypoallergenic diet plan
While food allergies can be easily determined by skin or blood tests, food intolerances can be trickier to diagnose due to a lack of existing tests. The only sure way to know whether or not you’re intolerant is to closely monitor your symptoms after eating something that you suspect is causing symptoms.
Aside from that, food intolerances can also be determined by adopting a hypoallergenic diet plan or an elimination diet. This is a simple way to determine which foods your body doesn’t like. From the name “elimination,” this diet consists of completely removing and then reintroducing certain types of food into your diet to see which one causes a negative reaction.
It’s important to note that a hypoallergenic or elimination diet plan is best done under the supervision of a healthcare professional or a dietitian. Although an elimination diet will help you identify foods to avoid, you may accidentally deprive yourself of important vitamins and nutrients.
Step 1: Prepare
Preparation for a hypoallergenic diet plan consists of identifying possible food intolerances and the symptoms you experience. Depending on the severity of symptoms, your doctor might be able to identify only one food to avoid.
Be sure to take note of the following:
- Which foods do you eat most often?
- Which foods are your comfort foods?
- Are there any foods you feel a craving for?
- Are there any foods that I might not be able to avoid or eliminate from my diet?
Additionally, prepare new recipes for your hypoallergenic diet and inform those you regularly eat or prepare food with. Common types of food that cause symptoms of allergies or intolerances are citrus fruits, dairy, soy, nuts, eggs, corn, beef, gluten, and shellfish.
Step 2: Eliminate
For two weeks, your diet will shift to the hypoallergenic diet plan. During this stage, you will have to be extremely careful about what you eat. If you accidentally eat something you’re supposed to avoid, then you’ll have to start over.
If you notice that there haven’t been any changes in the symptoms you usually experience, extend the elimination period to four weeks. You have the option to start eliminating another type of food if symptoms still persist during this time, but it’s best to consult your doctor first.
Step 3: Reintroduce
If you’ve finished the two-week elimination period and notice that your symptoms have improved, wait another 5 days to see if the symptoms completely go away. At this stage, you can reintroduce food that you eliminated back into your diet. This way, you’ll be able to confirm which foods are causing your symptoms.
During this stage, make sure to allot a 3-day period for every food type that you plan to reintroduce into your diet. Also, be sure to increase the amount of that specific type of food as you go since your body might not react to small amounts.
Tips and tricks for the hypoallergenic diet plan
It is important to always consult a medical professional before trying a hypoallergenic or elimination diet plan. You should also contact your doctor if your symptoms worsen at any point during the diet plan.
A hypoallergenic diet plan may be ideal if you’re experiencing symptoms related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). If you suspect that you’re having an allergic reaction (your throat closing up or a severe rash developing on parts of your body) to something you just consumed, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.
Food intolerances or allergies can catch you off guard if you’re not prepared. One way to determine any food intolerances or allergies that you might have is to adapt a hypoallergenic diet plan. Remember to consult your doctor before starting a new diet.
Learn more about Healthy Eating here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.