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Breaking News For 2024: The AIP Diet Has Been Modified.


Pouring sauce on a salmon filet and salad
The AIP Diet Has Been Modified in 2024 after extensive scientific and clinical research

The Autoimmune Protocol is an autoimmune diet and lifestyle, also known as “Autoimmune Paleo”, “The Paleo Approach”, and “AIP”. It includes a science-based elimination and reintroduction dietary protocol and is known for getting transformative results albeit restrictive and difficult to do. But new research and data is changing that and you may just be able to get the same results with a less restrictive diet, because the AIP diet has been officially modified.


The aim of the diet is to to reduce inflammation, identify food sensitivities, repair gut health and support nutrient deficiencies to help restore immune function, balance hormones and reduce symptoms of autoimmune disease. The lifestyle component includes approaches to sleep, stress, movement, and connection with humans and nature in order to help best manage autoimmune disease.


The protocol's roots originated in the Paleo diet and functional medicine, but in 2012 it was better researched and elaborated on by Dr Sarah Ballantyne who was driven by her own autoimmune diagnoses and research background to establish the foundations and theory, which resulted in the AIP movement. Since then hundreds of thousands of people have improved their health with the diet and its efficacy has begun to be substantiated through multiple clinical trials, usefully by isolating a single disease against the diet. So far the conditions tested have been: Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Crohn's and Colitis (IBD), RA, Eczema and Psoriasis, with more trials to follow soon.


For the last decade the diet has been maintained and advocated by researchers and certified AIP coaches like myself, who have noticed in their work that the original protocol may be unnecessarily restrictive for many people and good results can still be achieved with fewer eliminations. Therefore, the concept of AIP has been updated and divided into two versions. With this move forward, it is hoped that the appeal and undertaking of AIP can be widened to more people and the cost of eating on the diet can be reduced. The other benefits are that it will be a more sustainable diet that people can stick to and offer a wider and more varied diet which ultimately is best for gut microbiome health. The two versions of the Elimination phase are now known as Core AIP Elimination and AIP Modified Elimination.


If previously you struggled to maintain your sanity without coffee, cacao and rice, then you are in luck and I suggest you keep reading!


It is important to remember that there are three phases to the diet and the elimination phase makes up the first part of the protocol. There is the initial transition phase which is a slow and steady approach to the full elimination. Then there is the full elimination phase, which removes foods in order to calm the immune system down and heal the gut, and finally there is the reintroduction phase to identify your sensitivities and start building a personalised diet that you can build on as you heal until you have a varied, nutrient dense diet made up of whole real foods.


So what are the two elimination phase options? The original protocol has not changed what it eliminates but is now known as Core AIP. The new addition includes a more expansive list of foods informed by the results of medical research and clinical experience of health practitioners and AIP coaches. This version, as mentioned is the AIP Modified Elimination. It eliminates the following foods:


  • Cereal grains (except rice): Barley, bulgur, corn, durum, farro, fonio, Job’s tears, kamut, millet, oats, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff, triticale, and wheat (all varieties, including einkorn and semolina).

  • Gluten: Barley, bulgur, farro, rye, wheat, and foods derived from these ingredients.

  • Dairy (except ghee): Butter, buttermilk, butter oil, cheese, cottage cheese, cream, cream cheese, curds, dairy-protein isolates, heavy cream, ice cream, kefir, milk, sour cream, whey, whey-protein isolate, whipping cream, and yogurt.

  • Eggs: Chicken eggs, duck eggs, goose eggs, quail eggs, or any other type of egg.

  • Nightshades (including spices derived from them): Ashwagandha, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, cape gooseberries (ground cherries, not to be confused with regular cherries), eggplant, garden huckleberries (not to be confused with regular huckleberries), goji berries (aka wolfberries), hot peppers (chili peppers and chili-based spices), naranjillas, paprika, pepinos, pimentos, potatoes, tamarillos, tobacco, tomatillos, and tomatoes. 

  • Soy: Edamame, miso, natto, tamari, tempeh, tofu, or other products derived from soy (including soy cheese, milk, protein, ice cream, sauce, and others).

  • Tree nuts and peanuts (including ingredients derived from them): Almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, or walnuts.

  • Nonnutritive sweeteners and sugar alcohols: Acesulfame potassium, aspartame, erythritol, mannitol, neotame, saccharin, sorbitol, stevia, sucralose, and xylitol.

  • Processed food chemicals and ingredients: Acrylamides, artificial food colour, artificial and natural flavours, autolysed protein, brominated vegetable oil, emulsifiers (carrageenan, cellulose gum, guar gum, lecithin, xantham gum), hydrolysed vegetable protein, olestra, phosphoric acid, propylene glycol, textured vegetable protein, trans fats (partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, hydrogenated oil), yeast extract, and any ingredient with an unrecognised chemical name.

  • Alcohol: Beer, liquor, mead, wine, or similar products.


Modified AIP includes rice, pseudo-grains (amaranth, buckwheat, chia, and quinoa), ghee, legumes (except soy), and seeds (including coffee and cocoa). While these ingredients are eliminated in Core AIP, our analysis of the AIP research and feedback from the AIP Certified Coach community indicates that these eliminations are not often problematic for autoimmune patients and they make the elimination phase much more convenient, affordable, and sustainable.


Whether you decide to embark on the AIP Core or AIP Modified elimination protocol is dependent on your practitioner guidance, health conditions, disease severity, ability to implement, cooking skill or ability, food access or budget, family support, time, and other factors.


A leading theory for the efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol relates to the nutrient-density of the overall diet. Therefore, both AIP Core Elimination and AIP Modified Elimination insist on adding in extra nutrient-dense foods that are crucial to success and compounding healing.

These nutrient-dense and anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Healthy fats (olive and avocado oils)

  • Bone broth 

  • Organ meats 

  • Colourful fruits and vegetables 

  • Fermented foods 

  • Fish and shellfish 


This is an exciting new chapter for the Autoimmune protocol and I would love to hear what you think about the modifications. I myself did not need to do Core AIP to improve my health, but by doing so I did identify my food triggers, which were mostly associated with gluten and it's cross-reactive foods.


If this new information has inspired you to feel that the diet is more accessible and sustainable for you now and you would like to explore giving it a go please get in touch with me: sarah@autoimmunehub.co.uk or book your free call here. You can also get in touch with me via social media @autoimmune_hub (Instagram).




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