What can I do to manage food intolerances?
Help is at hand, with the identification of the food trigger or triggers and a sensible management plan, enabling you to enjoy a nutritionally balanced and enjoyable diet, without the culprit food or foods.
There are no valid tests for intolerance and the Gold Standard and only way to ascertain which foods cause adverse reactions is by accurately recording the times and duration of all symptoms, illness or stress, as well as everything you eat and drink. This includes all prescribed medicines and nutrition supplements, all sweets, nibbles, and even licking out the mixing bowl when cooking!
This record or food and symptoms diary, should be continued for two to three weeks and should represent your normal diet. Ideally, it should be reviewed by a registered dietitian, as they will be able to advise you on alternative foods so that you still are able to follow a healthy well balanced diet that is also acceptable to you. It is helpful to keep any food packaging for examination by the dietitian, as manufactured food contains many ingredients and the packaging (write the date eaten) alongside the food diary may help to pinpoint the offending food. Allergy UK has a food and symptoms diary, ideally use a new page each day. Food Symptoms Diary
The suspected food is then removed from the diet for up to 4 weeks. When the symptoms have gone, you can introduced small portions of the food that has been excluded to see if your symptoms reappear, which proves that this the problem food. If there is no improvement, you can eat that food.
Your GP can refer you to a registered dietitian. Should you wish to see one privately, you can check the British Dietetic Association website www.bda.uk.com, which holds details of all UK Registered dietitians.
Allergy UK is able to help people with food intolerance by providing a telephone helpline on 01322 619898, online webchat and a forum; factsheets on a wide range of foods and how they can cause reactions, leaflets explaining the difference between food allergy and food intolerance, and very importantly a food and symptoms diary which is a major tool in helping to identify the food trigger.
See our resources section for useful books that can help you.