Chronic Gut Discomfort: How Elimination Diets Can Help

March 22, 2024
Chronic Gut Discomfort: How Elimination Diets Can Help

Your gut is among the most sensitive and vital parts of your body. In fact, it affects your body so much that studies have coined the gut system as one’s second brain. Hence, as soon as you have an imbalanced gut, your whole body is thrown into an array, resulting in issues other than just gut discomfort.


More often than not, chronic gut discomfort is caused by inflammation. As such, your gastroenterologist may recommend attempting an elimination diet.


What is an elimination diet?

The aim of an elimination diet is not about losing weight but rather determining which foods your body does not agree with. Thus, it causes various underlying signs, such as chronic gut discomfort, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and skin issues. By eliminating all food groups or specific foods, you and your gastroenterologist will be able to ascertain the food that is aggravating or causing certain symptoms.


How does an elimination diet work?

As the term implies, an elimination diet functions by eliminating specific food for up to several weeks with the goal of determining which foods are the cause of a food intolerance or reaction, which often leads to chronic gut discomfort.


After removing them from your daily diet for a period, you can start reintroducing them into your daily routine, recording which ones cause any distress to your gut and which ones do not.


Types of elimination diets

There are three common types of elimination diets, depending on the condition causing the discomfort.


1. GAPS diet

GAPS diet stand for Gut And Psychology Syndrome. Your gastroenterologist might recommend it in order to allow your gut lining to recover. It involves a strict elimination plan that requires the individual to eliminate grains, starchy vegetables, pasteurised dairy, and refined carbs from their daily routine. Invented by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride, her theory for having a GAPS diet is that leak gut syndrome causes several brain-related conditions. The GAPS diet allows the gut lining to recover, preventing unwanted bacteria and chemicals from entering our bloodstream, affecting our brain’s development and function.


2. Gluten-free diet

A gluten-free diet is one that excludes foods that contain gluten, a protein that can be found in triticale, rye, barley, and wheat. It is typically recommended for individuals who suffer from celiac disease and gluten-related conditions, such as wheat allergy, gluten ataxia, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Apart from gluten products, the individual also has to avoid processed foods.


3. Low-FODMAP diet

A low-FODMAP diet reduces the intake of specific carbohydrates that are hard for individuals to digest. It is often recommended to identify food triggers in those who may experience IBS symptoms. Basically, FODMAP is an acronym for a specific class of carbohydrates called Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols. 


In other words, the individual cannot consume vegetables like onions and mushrooms, fruits like watermelon and apples, dairy products, protein sources, breads and cereals, as well as sugars and sweeteners. In fact, many least expect fruit to be the cause of digestive and gut issues.


Who benefits from an elimination diet?

Basically, anybody can benefit from an elimination diet. However, specific individuals undergo an elimination diet to target food that might result in their gut discomfort, such as IBS, flatulence, and GERD symptoms.


How to implement an elimination diet?


1. Plan first

Always come up with a clear plan. Do not jump into it blindly. Work with your doctor, nutritionist, or gastroenterologist to determine the best course of action. If you are aware of the possible foods that may be causing your gut discomfort, list them out.


Starting an elimination diet is not easy. In order to get a successful result for your diet plan, you will need to eliminate every food trigger completely for up to four weeks. Hence, some of the things you need to ask yourself before starting the elimination diet are:


  • Do you have any upcoming major events in your life?


  • Do you have any overseas trips planned?


  • Are your family and friends supportive and able to accommodate your temporary diet restrictions?


2. Avoiding the food triggers

Once you have started with your elimination diet, you will need to avoid every food trigger. This also means checking every food label meticulously so that you do not eat them unintentionally. For example, if you have to avoid dairy, you need to check food labels for ingredients such as whey, casein, and lactose, as they are considered dairy. Adequate research is vital in this step. For optimal results, you should start over from scratch should you consume restricted food.


3. Challenging

Should you not see any change in your condition even after conducting an elimination diet for four weeks, you should speak with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause. The eliminated foods might not be the cause of your gut discomfort.


However, once you have been symptom-free for a minimum of 5 days, you can begin reintroducing the eliminated foods one at a time. As long as you do not experience any discomfort and other effects for three days, you can reintroduce another food, repeating the same process until all the foods have been reintroduced back.


4. Creating a new diet

It is vital to account for the eliminated food in your diet and its associated nutrients. For example, if you have to eliminate dairy, you will need to supplement calcium in your diet with alternatives, such as spinach and other leafy greens. 



An elimination diet is not about weight loss. It is about finding the food triggers that are causing your gut discomfort. Do not take it lightly. Always speak to your healthcare provider about the possible course of action.


With that being said, as a digestive care specialist, GUTCARE is committed to treating all sorts of gut conditions, from fatty liver symptoms to pancreas cancer symptoms. It is vital to take charge of your gut health. Conduct regular colonoscopy.


Click here to make an appointment with us today!




About-us-Have-an-enquiry-scaled 1-min

You may also send in an enquiry via our online form if you have questions pertaining to your visit or consultation.

Find doctor thumbn

Unsure of which doctor to speak to? Take a look at our doctors’ profile to find out more.