Foods to Avoid

The Elimination Diet is to be used as a tool for identifying food sensitivities that may contribute to various symptoms and health conditions. This is a very comprehensive program that involves removing several types of foods from the diet for 6 weeks, and then reintroducing them one by one to identify potential triggers. Dr. Kneessi recommends to focus on the “foods to include” rather than this list. It’s easier to follow if you focus on the foods that you can eat.

Foods to Eliminate


  • Wheat, spelt, rye, barley, and kamut
  • Yes remove gluten free grains as well, such as Millet, Buckwheat, and Amaranth
  • Rice
  • This includes most processed foods (make sure to read labels)
  • Bread and baked goods (including cakes, cookies, and pastries)
  • Pasta
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Crackers and snack foods
  • Beer and some other alcoholic beverages
  • Processed meats (such as sausages and deli meats)
  • Soups and broths
  • Sauces and gravies

Dairy products

Many processed foods may contain milk or milk-derived ingredients, such as whey or casein

  • Milk (including cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and sheep’s milk)
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese (including hard, soft, and processed cheese)
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Ice cream and other frozen desserts
  • Puddings and custards
  • Some types of chocolate
  • Baked goods, such as cakes and cookies, that contain milk or butter

Soy products

Commonly found in many processed foods, especially those that are marketed as vegetarian or vegan alternatives

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Soy milk
  • Soy sauce
  • Edamame
  • Miso
  • Soy protein powders and bars
  • Meat alternatives made from soy, such as veggie burgers
  • Baked goods, such as bread, cookies, and cakes, that contain soy flour or soy lecithin


Common grain that is used in many processed foods and is often used as a filler or thickener in packaged foods

  • Cornmeal
  • Cornstarch
  • Corn flour
  • Popcorn
  • Tortilla chips
  • Corn chips
  • Corn syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Canned or frozen corn
  • Some types of bread, crackers, and cereal
  • Some types of snack foods, such as pretzels and cheese puffs
  • Some types of beverages, such as soda and some types of beer
  • Some types of processed meats, such as sausages and hot dogs


  • Eggs (in any form, including scrambled, fried, hard-boiled, or poached)
  • Egg whites or yolks, used in many baked goods and recipes
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad dressings
  • Some types of bread and pasta
  • Some types of baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, and muffins
  • Some types of processed meats, such as meatballs and sausages
  • Some types of vegetarian meat substitutes, such as tofu scrambles or veggie burgers
  • Some types of sauces, such as hollandaise sauce or bĂ©arnaise sauce

Nuts & Seeds

  • Peanuts (technically it’s a legume but still must be avoided)
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Nut Butters such as almond or tahini

Cooking Oils & Fats

  • Vegetable oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Ghee and Butter


  • Shrimp
  • Lobster
  • Crab
  • Clams
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Scallops

Nightshade vegetables

Some people may be sensitive or intolerant to the alkaloids found in nightshade vegetables, and may choose to avoid them during the elimination phase of an elimination diet.

  • Tomatoes (including cherry and grape tomatoes)
  • Eggplants
  • Peppers (including bell peppers, chili peppers, and paprika)
  • Potatoes (excluding sweet potatoes and yams)
  • Tomatillos
  • Goji berries

Citrus fruits

Some people may be sensitive to the acidic compounds found in these fruits

  • Oranges (including navel oranges, blood oranges, and mandarins)
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Tangerines
  • Clementines
  • Ugli fruit
  • Kumquats

Added sugars

Refined sugars, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners

Dr Kneessi also recommends avoiding processed foods, food additives, and artificial sweeteners. Instead, the focus is on whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protein sources.

After 6 weeks on the Elimination Diet, individual foods can be reintroduced one by one to identify potential triggers. This process can take several weeks and is completed to ensure proper nutrition and monitoring of symptoms.