In this era of increasing autoimmune disorder rates, the AIP diet can be a real-life savior. However, tons of info is available out there about it. Despite the case, you don’t have to be in a pickle anymore.
This comprehensive feature will offer you a precise overview of this diet. Besides, we have covered the underlying scientific facts here.
To clarify, our thoroughly discussed segments include the latest facts and findings, benefits and pitfalls, and many more from the autoimmune diet experts’ journal. Now it’s your time to explore.
What is AIP Diet or the Autoimmune Diet?
Before we run into the information crowd, here is the introductory concept for you.
The AIP diet is the short form of the term” Autoimmune Protocol Diet.” It refers to a systematic diet approach for autoimmune disease patients. Basically, this diet is designed in such a way that it can assist in curing particular inflammatory health problems.
It is just that the human digestive system is prone to get triggered by these inflammatory issues.
Probably, you have the following questions on your mind.
What is Exactly an Autoimmune Disease?
Well, we all know the power of a sound immune system. Simply putting, our body gets the desired protection from various infections plus diseases. But, unavoidably, the system malfunction can result in further complications.
Scientists have discovered 80+ autoimmune diseases to date. Some mostly occurred conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, type-1 diabetes, lupus, etc. They are somewhat diagnosable.
However, physicians face trouble in diagnosing rare autoimmune disorders.
Besides, patients with undiagnosed disorders may suffer for years. The majority of these illnesses have no known treatment. Some people require lifetime therapy to ease their problems.
So, now that’s the matter of concern. But, that goes without saying, our today’s topic, the AIP diet, holds the solution.
This particular diet structure includes the elimination of some foods that stimulate autoimmune disorders. However, from person to person, the trigger may vary.
Foods to Avoid on the AIP Diet
In the early stage of the diet, the dietitians totally remove a list of items. Moreover, the patients are also susceptible to experience autoimmune responses from some foods. We are providing a basic checklist of those foodstuffs.
Let us have a glance:
Fully Natural Sources
- Grains (barley, millet, oats, rice, rye, Job’s tears, wild rice)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, pine nuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, pumpkin seeds)
- Nightshades and nightshades derived spices (bell peppers, eggplant, cayenne peppers, red pepper, goji berries, hot peppers (chili peppers), paprika, potatoes (sweet potatoes can be eaten), tomatoes, tomatillos, etc.)
- Legumes (kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, green beans, black beans, butter beans, mung beans, cannellini beans, etc.)
- Dairy (cheese, ghee, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, kefir, butter, ice-cream, dairy-protein isolates)
- Nonnutritive, refined, and processed sugars (aspartame, erythritol, saccharin, sorbitol, stevia, sucralose)
- Processed oil like soybean oil, sunflower oil, corn oil, peanut oil, canola oil
- Soybeans and other soy products, plus soy isolates
- Coffee, chocolate, egg (especially the whites)
- Food processing chemicals, including raising agents, thickeners, additives, emulsifiers
- Alcohol (includes beer and wine, but a small amount while cooking is okay)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as aspirin and painkillers like ibuprofen, diclofenac, naproxen, etc.)
Foods to Eat On the AIP Diet
Here is a food list from the AIP nutritionist’s journal. These items are called microbiome superfoods. And they are beneficial for your gut health.
- Leafy greens (celery leaves, lettuce, kale, spinach, etc.)
- Recommended oils (palm oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil)
- Onions, garlic, leek
- The cruciferous family of vegetables (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, turnips, arugula, watercress, etc.)
- Grass-fed, organic-quality meats (especially organ meats are highly nutrient-dense)
- Sea vegetables except for some algae which stimulate the immune system(such as spirulina, chlorella )
- Probiotic(fermented)foods (water kefir, coconut milk yogurt, fermented vegetables, fermented fruits)
- Root vegetables (sweet potato, parsnip, beets, carrots, fennel, etc.)
- Other vegetables like squash, cassava, rutabaga, acorn spaghetti squash, etc.
- No-sugar added vinegar (such as balsamic or cider vinegar)
Some Other Food Varieties-
- Fatty fish
- Bone broth
- Apple family
- Honey (including other bee products)
- Mushrooms along with edible fungi
Now, you can see, grass-fed meats plus vegetables are the foundation of the AIP diet. As you have to cut out many nutrition supplies on a diet, preparing a nutrient-dense meal chart is essential.
Foods That are Allowed Moderately
- Green tea, black tea
- Natural sugars (example- blackstrap molasses)
- Saturated fat (can be taken up to 10 to 15 percent of total calorie count)
- Salt (unrefined salt like Himalayan pink salt, Celtic gray salt is recommended)
- Fructose from natural sources like fruits
- Dried fruit
Tips From the Experts
- Incorporate the top-quality ingredients into the diet chart
- Add organ meat, offal at least five times a week. More than that is better.
- Switch the menu frequently. Having food varieties makes the process more effective.
- As for fish items, the wild version works best. Otherwise, you can consider farmed fish.
- Fish items should be added a minimum of three times a week.
- You should aim for eight or more vegetable meal servings per day.
- Per day 3/4 cups of beverages (black or green tea) are acceptable.
Phases of AIP Diet: How Does it Work?
Now we know the fundamental autoimmune diet food structure. Therefore, it’s time to delve deeper into the diet phases.
This section is a critical informational segment. We have discussed the two major phases of the AIP diet, which are-
- The elimination phase
- The reintroduction phase
The Elimination Phase
The name says it all. So this phase starts with following the ins and outs of AIP procedures. And that, too, needs to be followed to the point.
You need to cut off some food items and medicines at this stage. We have already listed them above. Experts believe that these foods-
- Create an imbalance of the internal useful and harmful bacteria level
- Cause inflammation in the gut
- May trigger an immune reaction
So, to begin, nuts and seeds, eggs, dairy foods, grains, nightshades varieties, and legumes need to be eliminated. Also, coffee, processed foods (all sorts), tobacco and alcohol, and some NSAIDs are on the list.
In contrast, this phase introduces fresh and healthy food in your diet style. (See the list of allowed foods in the AIP diet). Thus, it inspires the
consumption of less or non-processed meat, bone soup, and other nutritional plus permitted fruits and vegetables.
Accordingly, after cutting the possible food culprits out, this phase fulfills the nutrient requirements also. To add, the elimination phase gives emphasis to the lifestyle improvement factors. These factors include- stress management, proper sleep, and regular physical activities.
Usually, the duration of the diet’s elimination phase varies. It is continued until a person notices a significant reduction in symptoms. Nonetheless, most individuals keep this phase for almost 30–90 days on average.
Typically, some people may see changes within the first 21 days. So, we can say these variables improve with the changes in diet as well as lifestyles. In addition, the tolerance of particular foods increases in patients.
And the most excellent thing about this diet segment is, you can reintroduce the eliminated foodstuffs gradually.
The Reintroduction Phase
Here comes the revitalization part of the AIP diet plan. The reintroduction stage starts after some visible improvement. Also, an overall healthful condition is necessary to move onto this phase.
This is because the diet experts recommend adding the removed foods bit by bit. However, it depends on the person’s level of tolerance.
Hence, the purpose is to detect the triggered food items first. And then, the other well-tolerated foods (eliminated from the first stage) can be added one by one.
Surprisingly, after the first stage, most people on a diet feel great. As a result, they get a bit afraid to add the same problematic foodstuffs into the meals. Nevertheless, like the previous step, reintroduction plays a vital role in the whole autoimmune diet journey.
Maybe you are wondering what’s the need for these reintroducing things if the person is already feeling great. Here are the facts to consider.
- Foods like nuts, legumes, dairies, eggs, and some seeds can boost the immune system more brilliantly.
- Due to their outstanding food value, the diet’s nutrient density improves.
- Moreover, it initiates lifestyle flexibility.
All the above pointers count if the person associated can tolerate the reintroduction.
Once a person adds a removed food to the meal, they should wait for at least one week to observe the aftereffects. Thus, this period will allow them to identify whether any old symptoms have reappeared or not.
With the process, they can continue eating the foods with zero-symptom occurrence. Meanwhile, if any uneasiness happens, the foods can be again put into the removed list.
Well, that does not mean that you should not try the foods ever. Over time, the tolerance level increases significantly. As such, you can again take the test of reintroduction for those backfired food items.
Steps of Reintroduction Protocol
Any specific medically researched diet style has some relevant and fixed step-by-step criteria. Likewise, these strict AIP guidelines can be overwhelming for you. Furthermore, it is natural to get more confused about this re-adaptation period.
So now, we are going to explain the reintroduction steps in the most down-to-earth form ever.
- Step – 1
Firstly, pick one food item from the avoided food item’s list. Then, on the trial day, add this item into the chart several times. Afterward, do not add it back for the next 5/6 days.
- Step – 2
Do a taster. Have a small amount of the food (one or two teaspoons). Then observe your body condition for any possible reaction. The period can be 15 minutes.
- Step -3
Stop the testing as soon as any symptoms appear. Then, change and avoid this food. And when no signs are seen, consume a slightly bigger portion of the same meal. Watch your condition for the next 2 to 3 hours.
- Step- 4
Throughout this time, when you have symptoms, end testing and eliminate this meal again.
If there are no symptoms, consume a regular quantity of that meal. Then again, skip it for 5/6 days without adding other food.
- Step 5
After 5/6 days, if you feel okay with zero symptoms, reintroduce the tested dish to your diet.
Then, you can continue the 5-step reintroduction method with another new food item.
Usually, during this phase, experts recommend skipping the food reintroduction under situations that are more likely to cause inflammation. This is because those circumstances create trouble in possible result interpretation.
In addition, reintroducing foods by maintaining a specific order is suggested. For instance, while re-adding dairy meals, we recommend starting with the ones with low lactose concentration.
Is AIP and Paleo Diet Same?
The AIP diet is quite similar to the paleo diet. This is because their list of permitted and prevented foods and the diet phases resemble a lot. Consequently, people consider the AIP as the paleo diet extension.
However, the autoimmune diet rules are somewhat stricter despite the similarities.
Who Should Try It and Who Should not?
Undoubtedly, practicing AIP means getting used to an intensely nutrient-packed diet. But can anyone jump into this diet plan? Well, some should do it, and some should not. We have discussed a combining theme of both categories below.
Patients Who Should Try This Diet
As you know by now, patients with autoimmune disorders should highly consider this diet. Additionally, with experts’ supervision, other people can also go through this phase.
- First, patients with single to multiple autoimmune diseases can adapt to the AIP diet.
- People with food intolerances can try it. Also, those who face mild to critical reactions with multiple types of foods should consider AIP.
- It works well with people who have lifestyle-affecting symptoms (occasional or regular).
- If a patient’s autoimmune disorder is resistant to regular medicine, then maintaining this protocol can help.
- Those who have messed up with other diet versions can rearrange their meal plans with AIP.
- Lastly, it’s also suitable for people who have not noticed any positive change in their disease symptoms or antibody level tests.
As you can see, these pointers are applicable to a large number of people. However, it possibly represents only 5 to 10% of all autoimmune disease sufferers.
Patients Who Should Avoid this Diet
If any of the following categories represent your current condition, we recommend avoiding autoimmune protocol (with experts’ advice).
- People having an urge to lose weight rather than controlling the autoimmune disease symptoms
- People who have several hormonal imbalance issues with undiagnosed state
- Patients with a mild rise of antibody levels who hardly show any significant signs
- Those who must follow particular dietary guidelines or consume specific macromolecules to tackle different health conditions
To add, AIP can fail if a person has a severely broken metabolic state. In any case, this can further damage the metabolism with the calorie deficit. So, we discourage going with the plan.
To keep it short-
- Patients with more problematic treatment spectrums can go with the AIP diet.
- Conversely, patients with some ongoing improved conditions can push this diet a bit forward. At first, some easy-going diets may serve their moderate or less severe symptoms better.
The autoimmune protocol system reinstates the ‘under the pump’ lifestyle. Here’s how-
- This process works as the immune system regulator.
- Stabilizes the hormonal imbalance
- Improves gut health plus internal tissue healing process
- Aids in removing the inflammatory stimulants from the regular diet.
- Plus, the diet offers a wide-ranging nutrition package
- Helps to cut out the intake of empty calories
- Generates the habit of avoiding processed foods
In short, this protocol can do wonders to create a person’s healthy version. Also, this diet ensures the balance of vital nutrients like carbs, proteins, and fats. The food chart also offers an extensive range of antioxidants, vitamins (both water-soluble and fat-soluble types), and minerals.
Thus, the AIP diet holds a crucial part in revitalizing the body’s metabolism system.
Possible Side Effects
Diets like AIP or paleo eliminate some entire food groups from the regular meal chart. Hence, the risk of missing out on essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals increases. Some critical side effects cum downfalls of autoimmune diet are-
- Long term elimination phase may cause oral food intolerance.
- It may worsen the metabolism state because of incompatible calorie restriction.
- Also, the removed sources of whole-grain fibers can affect heart health.
- Moreover, the person concerned may face trouble maintaining all the rules of the diet strictly.
- Lastly, this diet cannot be of much help without addressing the underlying autoimmune factors.
In the final analysis, we can undoubtedly say that the autoimmune protocol structure is extensively effective. Yet, some facts of reconsideration will always be there. It is a more advanced diet version.
So, treating its rules as the regular low carb or moderate carb diet is not recommended. To get the best out of the AIP diet, your doctor will take your overall health check-up report into account.
And these comprise your food habits, body movement, nutrient needs altogether.
Hence, seeking expert help regarding this matter is crucial. Hope you have enjoyed reading the feature. Happy dieting!