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Food Lovers. Summer 2009
January 19, 2009

Davis Dietetics Newsletter 2009

Diet and Chronic Pain

Do you Suffer with?

Hayfever, asthma or sinus problems Irritable bowels Headaches/ migraines Chronic fatigue Behavioural problems, attention deficit Skin rashes (e.g. eczema or hives) Mouth ulcers Changes in irritability, activity, sleep, concentration or impulsivity

Did you know, diet can play a part and help these conditions? Food does not need to be the cause - it may be stress or inhalants.

Are You Food Sensitive?

Apart from the benefits of eating a health diet some people are sensitive to one or more food chemicals, either naturally occurring, or used as food additives. It may appear small and insignificant but the amount of these chemicals can cause or contribute to multiple symptoms that can cause chronic disruptions to our lives. Examples of these food chemicals include salicylates, amines, MSG or wheat (naturally occurring), and preservatives, flavour enhancers, colours and anti-oxidants (food additives).

Although not well-understood as yet, it seems that these food chemicals can cause symptoms in susceptible individuals by irritating nerve endings, such as those in the gut. If you have other symptoms listed above, or are aware that you are affected by some particular combinations of foods or food additives, it is worth investigating this further. Common foods people may suspect in there diet may include apples, tomatoes, spice, chocolate, additive colour and flavours. The process to determine whether food intolerances contribute to your symptoms is to undergo an elimination diet, followed by food challenges to determine which substances are the culprits. Note that it is always wise to run a diet trial under the supervision of an Accredited Practising Dietitian rather than go for years trying to exclude various foods and additives and not being sure which are necessary and possibly causing nutritional deficiencies.

Why an Elimination Diet?

The aim of the Easy Elimination Diet is to find out if food sensitivity is present or not, particularly where reactions to food are not obviously noticeable. The first part is the exclusion of the suspect additives and natural chemicals, which include salicylates, amines and mono sodium glutamate. These should be seen as chemicals which "aggravate the underlying condition". Many people note that spicy food, citris or high additive food make symptoms worse, but do not realise they can do more. After three to four weeks on this diet, a change in symptoms or behaviour will usually be seen if food sensitivity is present. It is important to follow the diet trial for at least 3 weeks. It is important to note that during the first week symptoms or behaviour may get worse as withdrawal occurs and can last up to two weeks. This is a sign that the diet effect is beginning, so it is important to persist with the diet.

Once symptoms have settled the dietitian will discuss how to trial or challenge various excluded suspect foods. If symptoms worsened after the challenge further investigation is needed to determine how much of a particular food you can tolerate. Reactions to these suspect chemicals can be tricky as the symptoms only become worse when the total sum of several additives and natural chemicals add up to that person's tolerance threshold. It is therefore essential to see a dietitian to do this as you will need a long term plan to retain any benefits seen, and to ensure adequate nutrition. If your symptoms improve on the diet it is wise to have further appointments so you can most effectively do diet detective work in your family to gradually expand food choices for your long term health.

The process is not a difficult as it sounds but you need commitment but it does make dramatic improvements to peoples lives. So if you have had enough with chronic pain an Accredited Practicing Dietitian may have the help you have been looking for.

Health Plus Chiropractic 52 Dunmore Street Wentworthville NSW 2145

Appointments ph: (02) 9631 8944

Podiatry One Suite A4, 24- 32 Lexington Drive Bella Vista NSW 2153

Appointments ph: 0438431981

(02) 8824 4211

Copyright Davis Dietetics 2009
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