Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a type of chronic allergic inflammatory esophageal disease. It develops once excessive white blood cells called eosinophils build up on the esophagus. The unusually high number of eosinophils cause damage and swelling of the gullet. It can make consuming food painful, which leads to poor development, severe pain, and dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing.
The symptoms of people living with eosinophilic esophagitis differ from person to person and vary based on age. Babies and toddlers sometimes avoid eating their meals or have problems growing up normally. In contrast, school-aged children might have recurrent chest pain, difficulty swallowing or throwing up. Meanwhile, teens and adults have painful or uncomfortable swallowing, and their esophagus is restricted, causing food to stagnate (impaction), prompting a medical emergency.
Why is diet important with EoE?
EoE is a form of anaphylactic reaction similar to other allergies, but it can have the same causes. Elimination diets are designed to remove triggers from the patient’s diet to improve their condition. Then, the aim is to incorporate the safe foods back to enhance dietary range and palate. A dietitian will support you with guidance on your diet while living with eosinophilic esophagitis. It is to ensure that you are receiving the nourishment your body needs while you cut off a few foods from your regular diet.
What is the Six Food Elimination Diet?
The six-food elimination diet or SFED is becoming more popular as it overrides comprehensive food allergy testing required by the tailored elimination diet. As you would know, allergen tests, including blood tests and skin tests, are not flawless, and there are always false positives that could contribute to making the medication plan more challenging and tedious while missing some triggers. SFED removes the six main food allergens: dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, nuts, and seafood.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of SFED?
Whole-Food Based: You may feel deprived when you are the person who eats processed foods regularly. But, as long as you are getting adequate fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains, these feelings will gradually subside thanks to the satiating variety of whole foods.
Short term: Starting an elimination diet involves a great deal of preparation, but it is only intended to go on for a limited time. Proceed with some limitations indefinitely if you establish any food intolerances.
Safe: Typically, elimination diets are safe if you need to know about how the body responds to certain substances and increase awareness about your eating patterns. Try experimenting with other food products and get essential minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium and vitamin D and B12.
Nutritional Consultation Advised: It might be tempting to undervalue the energy demands needed to replace milk, wheat, and nuts. These foods are rich in essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals necessary for your wellbeing. Ensure you get a plan in mind before you remove whole grains from your dietary plan. You may also want to get a blood test to recognize any existing deficiencies.
Not advised for specific groups: An elimination diet can trigger individuals who are suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Resource and Time-intensive: The elimination diet could be a radical departure from traditions and daily activities. Thankfully, human beings are highly adaptable. Be prepared for a period of transition as you adapt to new food groups.
Usually, elimination diets start by cutting off all food items known to carry significant allergens, such as soy, milk products, gluten, and nuts, then reintroduce them to verify suspected triggers later. However, when you have a recognized food allergy, you must only start an elimination diet with the guidance of a healthcare professional to prevent a possible anaphylactic shock.
Your medical provider is the best avenue for beginning an elimination diet and can also help you with the process by providing recipes and recommendations.