This site is intended for health professionals only

Brits cutting out wrong foods

A study by a food diagnostic company discovered that many hypochondriacs have changed their diet after carrying out self diagnosis on the internet. And incredibly one in 50 reckon they only noticed the condition when a friend had similar symptoms.

The research, carried out by to mark food tolerance week, also revealed 39% of people think it's trendy to declare themselves food intolerant. Almost 12 million claim to be food intolerant, but less than a quarter of those have had it medically diagnosed.

A spokesman for said: "Food intolerances are on the increase, but it's worrying to think that many sufferers have never actually been tested or diagnosed. There is a surprisingly diverse range of foods which people are now intolerant to."

Nutrition expert Patrick Holford says that people spend decades suffering unnecessarily from hidden food intolerances because most doctors aren't aware of the symptoms than can be caused, and cured, by avoiding unidentified food intolerances.

Mr Holford said: "People who feel tired, or have digestive problems, or eczema, asthma or joint aches often have a food allergy or intolerance. Likewise headaches or depression are often symptoms of hidden food intolerance.

"Food intolerance symptoms aren't as severe as food allergies; so many people might not want to worry their doctor about them and will just blame it on the busy, hectic lifestyles we lead."

Twenty two per cent of the 1,500 polled have to put up with constant sneezing, and 18% have a stuffy nose. Another 13% suffer from hives while 11% even have a shortness of breath thanks to their allergy or intolerance.

The range of foods people are intolerant to is incredibly diverse with grapefruit and sushi being named as two of the worst offenders.

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"The most important thing to ensure is that you seek advice from a nutritional therapist and get properly tested for the food intolerances if you are going to restrict your diet. There are now blood tests that indicate a rise in antibodies which indicate a food intolerance on the market (Cambridgeshire Nutritional Sciences and York Test to name a couple). These reliable tests can easily and quickly pinpoint whether it is a food intolerance you are suffering from or if there is another reason for your ill health. I strongly believe that in many cases people would benefit from omitting certain foods from their diet, but cannot stress enough how important it is to be under the guidance of a qualified practitioner" - Hannah Love, qualified nurse and Nutritional Therapist

"I suspect a good many patients do have problems triggered by foodstuffs. It is not at all "imaginary" in some cases, but I do think that some people would rather blame food than accept responsibility for their own health. I have been studying health and nutrition (naturopathy) for ten years now and there is a great deal one can do to identify intolerances and get better by avoiding the culprits, wheat and dairy products the most common" - Name and address supplied