Food Intolerances

Food Intolerances

As detailed by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit, food intolerances DO NOT involve the immune system, which is a fundamental contrast to food allergies. Food intolerances are caused by food chemicals which inflame nerve endings around the body. Symptoms are varied and include stomach pain, bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, rashes, hives, recurrent mouth ulcers and/or headaches. If food intolerances are poorly managed, then these symptoms may significantly affect quality of life.

People vary in their food sensitivity and this can depend on the amount of food chemicals consumed. Some people are more sensitive and react more readily than others. The concentration of natural food chemicals differ significantly with the most common culprits being salicylates, amines and glutamates. Individuals who are more sensitive to food chemicals are also usually more sensitive to the added food preservatives, artificial colours and flavourings.

Symptoms of food intolerance can include one or more of the following:

- Hives and swellings
- Stomach and bowel irritation
- Headaches
- Nausea
- Sinus trouble
- Mouth ulcers
- Flu-like aches and pains
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Mood swings
- Irritability and restlessness
- Behaviour issues (noted in children)
- Colic, reflux, loose stools, eczema and/or nappy rashes

how can I help?
There are many groups of food chemicals which first need to be identified to determine whether food sensitivity is present or not. This involves following a “baseline diet” which will be chosen from many diet options. I will first be personalising challenges and then trialling individual foods. The goal of this process is to help develop your own ‘best diet’ so that food variety can be increased as much as possible. Wheat, milk and soy drink may cause stomach and/or bowel issues. This is the reason why they may need to be avoided in the elimination diet.

Following this, food chemicals that are tested include:
1. Natural Chemicals: salicylates, amines and glutamates.
2. Food Additives: antioxidants, artificial/natural food colours, propionates, nitrates/nitrites, sorbates, benzoates and sulphites.

Adequate nutrition on a low chemical diet is vital so that nutrient deficiencies are avoided. I will help to provide you with alternatives and we will work together to devise substitutes to problematic foods.

Book an appointment to learn more about how a qualified dietitian can help you manage food intolerances.
- Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Diagnostic Elimination Diet Handbook Volume 1
- Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit Friendly Food Recipe and Food Intolerance Book
Are you Food Sensitive? How to investigate you own diet with dietitian Joan Breakey

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