Do you get any of the following symptoms: bloating after eating bread? Rashes after eating strawberries? Kids go wild after drinking red cordial? Migraines after red wine, cheese or chocolate? Short of breath or headachey with a glass of white wine?
For some people, these symptoms (and many more!) can be triggered by food intolerances.
A food intolerance refers to a food component that triggers a symptom in the body (including a wide range of symptoms from different body systems – nervous, digestive, respiratory, skin etc). Unlike food allergies where the immune system is directly immediately activated (e.g. swelling of the lips or tongue), food intolerances often involve the indirect stimulation of the immune system via nerves in the gut after a food is eaten. These nerves can then signal different responses around the body. Or if the gut is in bad condition (e.g. highly inflamed), food components may enter the blood when otherwise wouldn’t be able to, stimulating an immune response.
Food intolerances may be to food additives – preservatives, colours, flavours or flavour enhancers, or to naturally occurring chemicals in fresh foods such as salicylates, amines and glutamates. The natural chemicals give our foods flavor or are there to protect from bacteria while growing). Natural sugars such as lactose and fructose can also be problematic for some people.
As symptoms don’t always occur directly after eating a food, it’s not always obvious which foods may be triggering your symptoms. In fact, some food components may trigger symptoms up to three days after eating! No wonder it’s tricky to investigate when you don’t know what to look out for.
Newtown Nutrition dietitians are highly experienced with food intolerances. We can take a look at your current diet and your symptoms (now and in the past!) to get a picture of whether food intolerances may be playing a role for you. There are a number of investigative elimination diets that you may be guided through, depending on your symptoms, to help identify which foods are problematic for you (and just as importantly which ones aren’t!). Ultimately, we would like you to be able to broaden your diet again as much as possible, while managing how you feel.
While getting you feeling better is top priority, so is considering why you may have a food intolerance. This includes gut issues, immune system responses, nutrient deficiencies, methylation issues, poor detoxification processes, genetic considerations etc. Addressing the underlying cause is important to assist optimal overall health.
Some of the things we can help you with:
- guidance through an investigative elimination diet with the aim to improve your symptoms and identify trigger foods through a systematic food challenge protocol
- provide meal ideas and diet plans throughout the investigative diet process
- learn how to manage eating out with special requests
- guidance for nutritional adequacy when managing dietary limitations
- improve gut health with specific nutrients and probiotic supplements
- investigate potential underlying causes of your food intolerance e.g. genetic methylation issues, nutrient deficiencies – would require tests
Things you may find helpful
- my Symptoms app – record your food intake and your symptoms, then email a report straight from the app to your dietitian before your consult to help you make sense of what foods may be affecting your symptoms
- Food and Symptoms Diary – if you prefer pen and paper, download this pdf Food & Symptoms Diary to print
- RPAH Allergy Unit – Food Intolerance
- Food Intolerance Network Website
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Our dietitians who can support your condition: