Friday, January 22, 2010

How to miss the point and offend millions

I can see what this report in Britain's Daily Telegraph was getting at .... but it, oh, so misses so many points.

The writer quotes experts as saying too many people are diagnosing themselves with food allergy and that food allergies are much rarer than people think. They then state that people are starving themselves of nutrients in pointless attempts to avoid food allergies.

Yes, up to a point Lord Copper.

I'm one who self-diagnosed with wheat allergy. I lost half a stone in a year. But I didn't give up wheat or gluten before seeing my GP. As I've said before, I was lucky - I developed obvious symptoms. My mouth and tongue swelled and my skin sprouted peculiar rashes. So I got a referral to a specialist. Before that I'd suffered from all those general symptoms associated with food intolerance. After a big meal of pizzas I spent about a week in the bathroom.

And when the wheat allergy tests came up negative, the specialist made another suggestion by letter. That was salicylate. Subsequently I was able to follow this through with a specialist hospital dietician. I understand not everybody gets this service, not everybody gets obvious symptoms.

The point it is wasn't wheat. It wasn't the pizza crust, it was everything else - the tomato, the spices, the herbs. I'd never liked tinned tomatoes.

Now there is no test for salicylate hypersensitivity. I understand there are other basic chemicals, such as sulphates, that can cause similar problems.

So yes, I accept that wheat allergy is rare. I starved myself of wheat and gluten unnecessarily for a year - but it was an experience and I lost weight. If somebody has allergy or food intolerance symptoms, it doesn't mean there's not a problem - just that there may not be an easy answer.



Anonymous said...

From what I understand, true food allergies are rare, but food intolerances and sensitivities are totally different and are indeed on the increase. I am presently under a doctor`s supervision to discover what foods I am having reactions to and my doctor was very quick at suggesting salicylate sensitivity. I have lost 10kg in 6 weeks, now my weight has stabilized and I look and feel better than I have in many years.

Sheryn said...

My kids have food "intolerances" not allergies, that yes, I initially found with out seeking advice from a Dr. I put two & two together, ie extremely bad behavior and diarrhea, after some foods, eczema, etc etc googled some things and found heaps of help. We still are able to eat a varied diet as I found some of our main trigger foods. But I did think it best I seek some medical advice so I have tried to discuss it with two dr's and they just nodded their heads agreeing but didn't bother to suggest I follow it up with more professional advice from a dietician or anything??? I had to ask. I felt they were just looking at me like...'well what do you want me to do and didn't ask me any questions about what I was doing. I thought they would or should incase I was being some crazy mother not feeding my kids many fruits and vegies.