Eosinophilic Esophagitis Clinic
The Challenges of Food Reintroduction
After all of the hard work, it may come as a surprise to patients’ families that reintroducing foods into a child’s diet may not be the celebration of success they had imagined. Difficulty reintroducing foods into a child’s diet can happen for a number of reasons.
Negative feelings for food
Over time, it is not uncommon for children who have had EoE to develop negative feelings toward foods—especially when they realize how much better they feel with foods being partially or completely eliminated from their diets. Because it is difficult to pinpoint foods causing EoE immediately, we often eliminate foods with the purpose of reintroducing them later to see if there is a change in eosinophils. Children who have experienced the six-food elimination diet or a customized food elimination diet, may be nervous to incorporate food back into their diet that they were once told may harm them.
For children who have been through the diets and end up on the elemental formula diet, food reintroduction can be particularly difficult. Children who are used to consuming formula as nutrition often become so used to this way of life and feeling good without the need of foods that they may refuse the idea of eating regular foods all together.
Under or over sensitivity to tastes, smells or textures of foods
While on a restricted diet, a child’s sensitivity toward the textures, tastes and smells of foods can change. This sensory change is particularly true for children who have been on an elemental formula diet—whether they receive their nutrition by mouth or a feeding tube.
Elemental formula has a very distinct taste. Because it isn’t a taste that children particularly love, they often drink it while it is very cold, very quickly. Over time, they can become used to the formula’s taste and find it difficult to enjoy the tastes and smells of regular foods—even those they once enjoyed.