Allergies and Rotation Diets
The goal of a rotation diet
You may have heard of rotation diets, especially if you or your child has food allergies. Usually people with several allergies to different foods may be told to eat a rotation diet by their allergist. A rotation diet involves eating foods that are closely related biologically one day, and then not eating these foods for several days. The goal is to identify which foods you are allergic to and to develop a tolerance to a greater variety of foods.
Rotation diets can limit your exposure to foods that you may be allergic to
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common foods that cause allergies are egg, soy, cow's milk, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and fish. In a rotation diet, if you eat one of these high-risk foods, you do not eat it again for 3-5 days. You need to also avoid other foods that are in the same family. If you drink milk one day, you need to also avoid yogurt, ice cream, and other dairy products.
Benefits of a rotation diet
When you are on a rotation diet, you basically take a break from foods that may cause allergic reactions. This allows the immune system to rest or to stop responding as it would if you ate the high-risk food day after day. Allergies often develop with repeated exposure to foods that can potentially cause allergic reactions. When you eat less of the high-risk foods, there is not as great of a chance that your immune system will respond with an allergic reaction. Many people can tolerate far more foods when they follow a rotation diet.
Another common benefit of a rotation diet for a person who has a peanut allergy or other food allergy is that it is often easier to identify foods that are causing the allergic symptoms. When you do not eat the same food for days, it becomes apparent which foods may be causing your allergic reaction.
How to begin a rotation diet
A rotation diet should always be approached under the supervision of an allergist or other doctor. Some people who have had a serious reaction to peanuts or tree nuts could risk developing anaphylaxis. Rotation diets are usually recommended for people who know that they have a food allergy, but they are not such which food they are allergic to. Three or four foods are usually chosen for the rotation diet, and they are not eaten for a week or two. These foods are then reintroduced to the diet one at a time. By doing this, it is easier to see which food is causing your allergic reaction.