What can I do?
Help is possible, with the identification of the food trigger or triggers and a sensible management plan; life can be very different for someone with food intolerance.
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 other 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 analysed 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. It is also helpful to keep any food packaging for examination by the healthcare professional, as manufactured food contains many ingredients and the packaging alongside the food diary may help to pinpoint the offending food.
If going to a nutritionist or nutritional therapist it is vital that their qualifications are checked out. If the person holds a degree or equivalent level qualification in nutrition from a recognised university or is a member of the British Association of Nutritional Therapists, then generally the sufferer will be in safe hands. For a registered nutritionist in your area, go to www.bant.org.uk. The preferred route however is to be referred to a dietitian and your GP can refer you on request. You can check www.hpc.uk for the health professions council website, which holds details of all UK 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.
Last updated: October 2012