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April 7, 2012

Elimination Diets: Friend or Foe?

Via Rosie Spinks of EcoSalon

Are elimination diets good marketing or a real phenomenon?

A look at food intolerances, food sensitivities and how we need to look closer at our daily diet.

When it comes to American food culture, perhaps the very embodiment of our cuisine—Burger King—sums it up it best: have it your way. We can have Italian for lunch, Thai for dinner, super-sized, low fat, deep-fried or no onions. As a nation, our taste-buds are accustomed to choice.

However for an increasing number of individuals, having it their way means forgoing certain food groups altogether. According to various studies, the reported number of people with food allergies and intolerances to various food groups is on the rise.

Simultaneously, the growing popularity of elimination diets—such as those which cut out dairy, wheat, soy, corn, and/or sugar—is demonstrated by the appearance of gluten-free aisles in grocery stores and the ever-growing variety of Tetra-Pak cartons offering lactose-free milk substitutes.

It seems that only in a country with such an abundance of food, could people start forgoing certain food groups altogether. But is the popularity of elimination diets a function of marketing and a national obsession with weight loss? And why do food intolerances seem to be far more prevalent in the Western, developed nations where there is unlimited access to a wide array of food?

Roughly 30 percent of Americans believe they have a food allergy. According to registered dietician Tracy Stoker, this could be due to the fact that the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance or sensitivity is commonly misunderstood.

“I think elimination diets, if done carefully, are a good way to…”

…Read the rest at EcoSalon.

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