Food allergies plague a lot of people, but food allergies are not a type of allergy that are as easily diagnosed as other allergies. The best way to see if you are allergic to certain foods is to eliminate them from your diet for a bit to see if your symptoms persist. The elimination diet is often recommended by an allergist as a first attempt of diagnosing food allergies. However, even the elimination diet has room for error, so there are certain things you do have to try to remember. Here are a few of the biggest mistakes people make when using the elimination diet to track down the foods that they could be allergic to.
Mistake: Not taking the time to fully understand the ingredients in foods.
If there are certain foods you think are causing a reaction, you do have to be really careful about what you eat during the elimination diet. Even foods that are cross-contaminated with certain ingredients can still cause a reaction. For example, if you like certain granola but it is produced in a facility that handles tree nuts, the granola itself may not contain tree nuts but could have been contaminated because of close contact.
Mistake: Not reintroducing foods at a slow enough pace.
Once you have fully eliminated suspect foods from your diet, they should be reintroduced one at a time to check for symptoms. Some allergens will not cause a reaction right away, which means if you are reintroducing the suspect foods one a day, it can get confusing if symptoms start showing up. You may not know which food is acting as the trigger. It is best to reintroduce a certain food or ingredient and wait a few days or so before reintroducing anything else to get a better idea of what is generating an allergic reaction.
Mistake: Not keeping suspect foods out of your diet for long enough.
It can take a while for the allergic effects to subside after you have removed something from your diet. For example, if you suspect that you are allergic to wheat gluten because it causes you to have hives and problems with eczema, eliminating the suspected allergen from your diet for a day or two may not be enough. According to Healthline, foods should be eliminated for two or three weeks at a minimum before they are reintroduced to test for symptoms.
For more information, work with a local allergist.