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Salicylate elimination diets in children: is food restriction supported by the evidence?

When a food is identified as causing allergic symptoms, that food will usually be removed from the diet. However, inappropriate use of extensive food elimination can be harmful. Salicylate elimination or “low salicylate” diets — which remove foods deemed to contain natural salicylates — can be particularly restrictive, especially as they are often implemented with restriction of other foods such as those containing amines, glutamates, synthetic food additives, gluten and dairy. These diets appear to be commonly used in New South Wales, but to our knowledge are not widely used outside of the state or in other countries. We discuss our own experiences with children who were referred for care to the allergy clinics of three public hospitals, and who had previously used these diets, and review the evidence for using low salicylate diets in treating a variety of disease indications.

For which conditions are low salicylate diets prescribed in Sydney?

We sought to identify the indications for which salicylate elimination is prescribed in Sydney by conducting a retrospective case note review of children attending the allergy clinics of the two main children’s hospitals, Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, as well as a major regional…