“Nine in ten Britons who believe they have a food allergy are perfectly healthy, researchers say“.
Harcombe Diet followers will immediately spot the error – either in this write up from the Daily Mail Science reporter (Fiona MacRae) or from the press release itself. Food allergy and Food Intolerance are seriously different – potentially fatally. Food allergy absolutely is not in the mind – ever! If you suffer an anaphylactic shock after coming close to a peanut, you have a peanut allergy (and likely problems with many, or all, nuts). If you are like a friend of mine, who has a life threatening allergy to kiwi fruit, you know about it and it’s not in your mind – if it gets near your body, let alone inside you, it can kill.
Food Intolerance is the ‘too much/too often’ problem and the body literally becomes intolerant to this over-consumed substance. It’s the body’s way of saying “I can’t tolerate this substance any more“. (Sadly the withdrawal symptoms that accompany intolerance mean that you will crave the very food(s) to which you are intolerant).
What’s the most likely food intolerance in the UK? (USA and Australia also)? Wheat. Why? Because we eat it several times every day as a general rule: wheat toast or wheat cereal for breakfast; wheat muffins, wheat biscuits, wheat cereal bars etc for mid morning; wheat sandwiches or wheat pasta salad for lunch; more wheat snacks in the afternoon; wheat pasta, or wheat pizza or wheat pies or wheat pastry for dinner and then more wheat snacks in the evening.
The Flour Advisory Bureau statistics tell us “UK flour consumption per capita reached 73.3kg in 2002.” That means 1.4 kilograms of flour consumed per average person in the UK per week. I can’t find a single ingredient that we eat more of .
So – back to this study: researchers at the University of Portsmouth blamed internet searches and celebrity food fads for “make-believe allergies and intolerances” (that allergies mistake again) and said that, as a result, millions of people are unnecessarily restricting their diets – starving themselves of their favourite (interesting choice of word; try ‘addictive’ also) foods and of key nutrients (no nutrients in sugar and bread/cereals need to have added vitamins to be worth consuming, so clutching at straws here nutritionally).
You read on and find that the report was written by Dr Carina Venter – a dietician who specialises in allergies (allergies or intolerance? This is quite important). Then you get to the point in the article where I break out into something between a smile and a grimace – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The study was funded by the Flour Advisory Bureau. Now what was the most common food intolerance again?!
Dr Hilary Jones (love him) answered a question in the News of the World Sunday supplement (love it) in the October 2009 issue and said “About 45% of people suffer from food intolerance“. Personally, I have yet to find someone who does not feel better and lose weight faster when they avoid wheat. Sugar and flour are still the two products that I rarely consume – even after over 10 years of being in Phase 3. Has my health suffered in any single way? Quite the opposite.
Sadly in this world of conflicts of interest and food interested parties sponsoring diet advice – you are better off being your own judge and taking charge of your own health. If you do Phase 1 (it’s only 5 days) and feel better and then try the advice on food intolerance – reintroducing foods and testing and keeping a diary – you will see what makes you feel well and unwell. Your body will tell you – if it can be heard over the conflict of interest advice!
Good luck – Zoe x