Most alternative diet programs center on the belief that you can improve your health by eating or avoiding certain foods. Alternative approaches to nutrition vary widely. Some alternative diets have been developed as a way to stay healthy. Others have been suggested as therapies for specific illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease. Most programs emphasize dietary changes plus lifestyle changes, such as routine exercise and stress reduction.
Some examples of alternative diet programs include:
Alternative diets attempt to improve physical and/or mental well-being. Many alternative diets claim to prevent or cure diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. But alternative diets have not been studied enough to prove that they work.
Some people believe that diet can help prevent or treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. But there is not conclusive research to determine whether these conditions have a dietary link.
Some alternative diet programs are safe when practiced in moderation. But diets that severely limit food choices or exclude entire food groups can lead to nutritional deficiencies or other health problems.
Children, pregnant or nursing women, and people with chronic illnesses should not start any alternative diet without first consulting a doctor.
Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.
Other Works Consulted
- Barrett S (2006). Alternative nutrition therapies. In ME Shils, M Shike, eds., Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 10th ed., pp. 1762–1773. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
- Borstoff J, Gamlin L (2000). Food Allergies and Food Intolerance. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.
- Hubbard SK (2008). Medical nutrition therapy for food allergy and food intolerance. In LK Mahan, S Escott-Stumps, eds., Krause’s Food and Nutrition Therapy, 12th ed., pp. 739–760. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier.
- Katz DL (2008). Food allergy and intolerance. Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 2nd ed., pp. 275–280. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2010). Food allergy: An overview. Available online: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/foodallergy/documents/foodallergy.pdf.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Marc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD - Complementary and Alternative Medicine|
|Last Revised||June 29, 2011|
Last Revised: June 29, 2011
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