It time to When you identify all of the food components involved in your food-related reactions and formulate the diet that will allow you to remain symptom-free and, at the same time, to be well-nourished and nutritionally healthy. The diet should aim to meet several important goals:
◆ It must exclude all foods and additives to which a positive reaction has been recorded.
◆ It must be nutritionally complete, providing nutrients from non-reactive sources.
◆ It must be designed to take into account your lifestyle and finances.
◆ It should be flexible enough to accommodate “unusual” situations such as religious festivals, celebrations (e.g., as birthdays and weddings), vacations, travel, and eating in social settings where obtaining substitute foods might be a problem.
If dose-related intolerances are a problem, a rotation diet might be beneficial. However, at the present time there is no clear consensus on the benefits of rotation diets in the management of food allergies, although many practitioners seem to favor their use, and there are a number of popular books on the market that provide details about a variety of rotation diets and schedules.
The premise behind the use of the rotation diet holds that people who are mildly intolerant to certain foods may benefit from a diet that spaces those foods so that no one of them is eaten too frequently. Theoretically, if the foods that cause a reaction are not allowed to “build up” in the body, a person’s “limit of tolerance” is not exceeded and symptoms do not occur or are kept to a minimum. In the “traditional” rotation diet, a food that is eaten on Day 1 is then avoided for from 3 to 30 days, depending on the type of rotation selected. The aim is to give the body a rest from each food family to prevent new or increased sensitivity to food developing. Four, five, seven, and thirty-one day rotations have been advised by various practitioners. Because two to four days is the approximate time for a food to pass through the gastrointestinal tract, a four-day rotation is considered to be the most effective schedule. After four days, the amount of a specific food in the body is considered to be sufficiently low that eating it again will not increase the level to a reactive threshold.
Rotation Diets and Food Allergy
There have been no well-designed controlled studies on whether rotation diets based on food families are of any real value in practice. In fact, most authorities consider rotation diets as a management strategy for food allergy to be controversial and of little or no benefit. Because cross-reactivity between foods within a food family is unusual, diets that are based on avoiding entire food families are illogical. Furthermore, following a strict rotation diet can be very tedious and time-consuming, and it can put a person at risk for nutritional deficiency.