The Autoimmune Protocol, or AIP, is an elimination diet to help relieve symptoms of autoimmune disorders. The ultimate goal of the diet is to reduce inflammation and heal the gut by eating nutrient dense foods and eliminating foods that trigger inflammation. AIP is very restrictive and not meant to be a permanent diet. Rather, it is an elimination diet used to first calm down the immune system. Once symptoms improve, foods are added back one at a time to see if they cause a reaction.
What foods can you include?
AIP is a stricter version of a paleo diet. The diet includes most vegetables, animal proteins, most fruits, and healthy fats. Foods that are not allowed include all grains, beans and legumes, nightshades (peppers, eggplant, tomato, white potato), seeds (including spices from seeds like coriander, cumin and nutmeg), nuts, dairy, alcohol, processed sugars and artificial sweeteners, eggs, coffee, and cacao. So yes, it is very restrictive. The biggest challenge with this diet is meal preparation. It is difficult to eat out, so all meals must be cooked at home. Luckily, there are a number of websites and cookbooks that have AIP specific recipes to make life a little easier.
What is the research supporting this diet?
There have been a few small studies looking at the effect of AIP on autoimmune diseases. One study included 15 subjects with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Patients underwent a 6-week phased elimination diet followed by 5 weeks of complete AIP diet. By week 6, 11 of the 15 patients achieved remission and maintained remission during the maintenance phase (1). In another study, 16 women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis completed a 6-week phased elimination diet with 4 weeks of maintenance. At the end of the 10 weeks, inflammatory markers had significantly decreased and symptoms based on a symptom survey all improved. However, there was no meaningful change in any thyroid function measurement (2).
The AIP elimination diet can be an effective tool to help reduce inflammation and start healing your gut. If you are trying to manage your autoimmune disease and seeking alternative therapies, please click here to book a free call with me to learn more about my approach to improving your quality of life.