Elimination Diet: 7 Foods You Should Stop Eating Now

Since the beginning of time, or at least the invention of the scale, health-conscious folks have tried every type of diet to keep themselves in the best possible shape. From fad diets to weight-loss programs to healthy meal delivery services, we’ve seen it all. Even elimination diets, which ban certain food groups to determine what’s best for our body. While an elimination diet can be tailored to a person’s individual needs, concerns and possible symptoms, there are some definite culprits that have proven more common than others when it comes to triggering food sensitivities.

Ready to start an elimination diet of your own? Here are some foods to consider cutting out.

1. Dairy

Large milkshake with straw

You may regret this shake later on. | iStock.com

If you’ve ever felt sub-par post milkshake or cheese dip binge, dairy may be to blame. It sounds sad to give up your beloved ice cream, but are plenty of potential benefits you stand to gain. Got acne? Try skipping the milk and trading it for an alternative. A dairy-free diet could help clear up skin. If you’re constantly feeling gassy or bloated, getting rid of dairy can help there as well. Eliminating dairy from your diet can even help with congestion and clear up bad sinuses.

2. Gluten

sliced loaf of bread

Roll your eyes if you want, but some people really can’t handle this type of protein. | iStock.com

Aside from actually having celiac disease, it seems like you can’t turn your head these days without bumping into someone who follows a gluten-free diet. Luckily, restaurants and grocery stores alike are making the search for gluten-free options easier than ever before. This SFGate article, which discusses what a person can expect when eliminating gluten from his or her diet, mentions an array of potential health benefits. In the piece, Dr. Peter H.R. Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, says a person who cuts gluten from his or her diet may see improvements in energy levels, immune system functioning, and digestive health.

3. Sugar

Funnel Cake on white plate

We all know we could cut back on sugar, so here’s yet another benefit to doing so. | iStock.com

As if fewer trips to the dentist weren’t incentive enough, cutting back on sugar comes with some serious health benefits.  According to Greatist, added dietary sugars can raise blood pressure, which may eventually lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and more. Additional benefits of eliminating sugar from your diet, according to the same Greatist article, could include a decreased chance of experiencing depression, clearer skin, more energy, and fewer cravings. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

4. Soy


You might want to cut back on tofu. | iStock.com

Many people seek out soy products as a way to get plant-based protein into their diets. It’s a smart strategy for vegans, vegetarians, and those just trying to cut back on meat — to a point. As Livestrong.com points out, though, soy sensitivity is incredibly common. For people who fall under that category, digestive issues and even irritability can occur.

If you do find you have a soy sensitivity and need some other protein sources, no worries. You have plenty of other options, many of them meatless.

5. Alcohol

Red and white wine

Wine may be to blame for that uncomfortable sensation in your gut. | iStock.com/TSchon

Sadly, that glass of wine you drink each night may be to blame for certain stomach issues. BBC Good Food explains an enzyme deficiency can make it hard for certain people to break down alcohol, leading to intestinal discomfort. But if the thought of forgoing booze is just too much to bear (we get it), see if you can try a different drink. The publication notes wine, beer, and whiskey tend to cause the most problems, so switching to something different may work out just fine.

6. Eggs

Fresh chicken and quail eggs on a wooden rustic background

They might be incredible and edible to some, but eggs are intolerable to others. | iStock.com/VladislavStarozhilov

Like soy products, eggs lead to issues for quite a few people. And unlike egg allergies, which Mayo Clinic says most children eventually grow out of, an egg sensitivity can actually develop over time. According to WebMD, common symptoms associated with this type of intolerance include nausea, heartburn, and bloating.

It’s kind of a bummer if you’re a huge omelet fan, but bakers have nothing to fear. You can actually create a great substitute using flaxseed meal and water. Pretty clever, right?

7. Certain types of carbs

Apples on table

Going for a banana may be a better bet | iStock.com

It might sound obscure, but Harvard Health Publications notes certain foods containing high levels of fermentable carbohydrates, often called FODMAPs, can really irritate some people. Interestingly, the symptoms are pretty similar to what you see in people who have lactose intolerance. So, if you cut out dairy and see no improvement, a different diet may be in order.

Additional reporting by Christine Skopec