The elemental diet is a special way of eating for people with serious gut issues. Unlike other diets, this isn’t something that you can just start on your own. Most people who go on the elemental diet do so under the strict supervision of doctors and nutritionists.
What Do People Eat On This Diet?
The elemental diet breaks down food to its smallest unit. Proteins are in the form of amino acids. There are no starches, just simple carbohydrates. And fats are broken down into fatty acids. Vitamins and minerals are added into the liquid mixture to ensure the person is getting everything the body needs to function properly. All these elements are in powder form and mixed with water. People on the elemental diet cannot consume solid foods; water and tea are the only other liquids someone can drink.
When you’re on the elemental diet, there’s no need to chew your food. You can drink the mixture. For people with esophagus issues, they may use a feeding tube. Some people can have the nutritious liquid directly injected into their bloodstream via an intravenous line.
What Does It Cost?
Each packet of nutrients costs about $10 and people need to consume multiple packets a day. This diet is too expensive for someone to just do on a whim, but usually health insurance covers the price of the food. There are other associated costs, including tubing, lines, and doctor visits.
Who Goes On This Diet?
People who need to go on the elemental diet usually suffer from things like Crohn’s disease, Eosinophilic esophagitis, and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Some people, such as cancer patients or people suffering from anorexia, may need to go on this diet to supplement extra nutrients. This formula is easy to digest and absorb, perfect for those with gastrointestinal issues.
Weight loss is definitely a side effect, but that’s not the point. This diet gives a person the nutrients needed to survive, but it’s not how our bodies naturally take in food. If you’re on this diet, you most likely have bigger health issues than being a few pounds overweight.