Elimination Diets: Why Dietary Diversity Is Better for Our Bodies
A medically necessary elimination diet is used as a tool to identify or treat gastrointestinal allergies, but, even with supervision, these limited diets present a medically recognized risk of nutrient deficiencies.1 Essential micro-nutrients which are present in only a few foods can easily be eliminated in the process.
Many people create their own exclusion diet based on current fads and eliminate entire food groups or severely limit calories in an attempt to find a diet that works for them. They might stay on these diets indefinitely, unaware of the links between the missing micro-nutrients and healthy bodily function.
When a Diet Is Too Strict
Some DietQ types are more prone to choosing an elimination solution to exercise control over food. By following a strict fad diet or creating their own diet rules, they seek to control binge eating or weight gain. Some of the effects on overall well-being include:
- Being so restricted that they rebel against the diet with a binge.
- Unfairly judging that they have failed or that they lack willpower.
- Implementing tighter controls or trying another exclusion diet.
- Ignoring the body’s natural cravings for variety and the missing nutrients.
- Focusing so much on the eliminating behavior pattern that it leads to eating disorders and other health risks.
The Health Effects of Elimination Diets
When dieters choose to simply stop eating a certain type of food, they might shut the door on important nutrients that go beyond the basic ones. For example, by completely eliminating eggs they would remove the most common source of choline from their diet. Without in-depth knowledge of the few foods which contain it, they begin to go without this vital nutrient.
In other cases, people eliminate so many food options that they start overeating the remaining items they are “allowed” to eat. The digestive system is designed to process a mixture of food types. By leaning too heavily on certain items, a personal tolerance level is reached and side effects develop.
Some examples are:
- Eliminating carbohydrates in Paleo and Atkins-style diets may cause hard stools and constipation.
- Substituting too many green leafy vegetables for breads in gluten-free diets may cause digestive distress and diarrhea.
- Replacing cooked foods with uncooked fibrous foods such as raw nuts and raw vegetables may exacerbate acid reflux.
- Eating low-fat foods that contain more sugar than similar, regular, foods may trigger binging for DietQ Type A.
Not all calories are created equal. Some are more readily absorbed, and some pass through the system naturally. Very low-calorie diets trigger the body to slow metabolism and become ultra-efficient. This survival response can result in a rapid regaining of any weight lost when the calorie level is raised to a normal amount.
In an effort to reduce calories, this DietQ type might cut out the heart-healthy fats and other foods which are full of nutrients in small serving sizes. They might continue to eat the low-calorie foods to excess because they aren’t getting the filling and satisfying effects of the healthy fats and grains that are part of a varied and complete diet.
Restoring Dietary Diversity
If exclusion diets are one of the ways you are defining your relationship with food, find out the root cause of your eating habits with the DietQ Quiz. Understanding your DietQ type will empower you to redefine your eating habits and again enable you to eat the foods you enjoy. You will become aware of your own reactions to different foods. Then you have the freedom to choose, knowing how your body and emotions respond to those foods. You can break free from your elimination diet and reintroduce the foods you love while reaching your wellness goals.