Eosinophilic esophagitis liquid diet--is it paleo?

by (1479) Updated May 07, 2012 at 6:21 PM Created April 12, 2012 at 4:43 PM

This question is prompted by a friend of mine who has been diagnosed with EE (for those who don't know, it's a rare auto-immune disease in which white blood cells attack the esophagus and make it hard to swallow. Treatments can include elimination diets and steroids like for asthma).

The doctor put him on a liquid diet for about a year to see if it was food allergies causing the flare-ups. My friend didn't really know what was in the liquid diet (I think it's pre-digested food, so that all potentially offensive food proteins are eliminated, but I'm not sure).

I was wondering if anyone knew more about what's in the liquid diet and whether it's paleo? I would like to recommend paleo to my friend, but not sure if a liquid diet would have already accounted for any allergens that the paleo diet would eliminate.

Also, am I right to assume that there might still be other reasons to recommend paleo, outside of ruling out allergens, such as to reduce overall inflammation that exacerbates auto-immune disorders? I'm assuming his doctors are not paleo friendly and wouldn't have though to recommend it. Thanks!

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85 · April 12, 2012 at 6:44 PM

My 3 year old has Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and her treatment involves a restricted diet plus a liquid formula to help fill in any nutritional and caloric gaps. The formula is made by Neocate (Elecare also makes some)and includes amino acids instead of whole proteins. The fat comes from coconut oil,high oleic sunflower oil and canola oil. It also contains maltodextrin, sugar, and of course vitamins and minerals.

I originally became interested in paleo because of her restricted diet and there is some overlap between common EoE triggers and common paleo no nos, but it is not a homerun. For example, some common EoE triggers include dairy, wheat, and soy (not paleo), but also includes eggs, potatoes and beef (paleo). Some people have many triggers and some have only one or two.

Even if your friend is not interested in going paleo, paleo cookbooks might be useful for him if he is on a restricted diet.

For me, I am interested in learning whether a paleo/evolutionary perspective can help explain why so many autoimmune diseases (asthma, EoE, celiac, allergies)are becoming more common.

18794 · April 12, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Oh man, I didn't know that existed. I got esophagitis when I was on a canoeing trip in mid-Canada when I was 16. (I basically scratched my esophagus somehow). I lost 19lbs in one week (I was in the wilderness canoeing for hours everyday). Someone brought Wurther's butter candies and gave me the bag -- it was pretty much all I ate all week. That was incredibly painful. I can't imagine what your friend is going through.

Liquid diets (for elimination diet medical purposes) are indeed supposed to reduce or eliminate common allergens. There's a good chance most, if not all, common allergens are gone. However, take a look at the ingredients.

A "liquid diet" is not really paleo, but hopefully it's helping your friend. If his liquid's brand does contain things like wheat and barley, there may be other brands he can try. Definitely keep the doctor involved with this treatment.

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