Conditions/symptoms I may be able to help with:
I will provide dietary advice based on your diet and medical history. It is important to take time to review this in detail as symptoms can overlap between conditions. In some cases, I may ask your GP or Consultant to carry out blood tests to confirm food allergies or check for coeliac disease or nutritional deficiencies. There are no reliable tests for food intolerances however, so the diagnosis is made by exclusion followed by reintroduction to determine level of tolerance.
Pollen Food Syndrome/oral allergy syndrome
Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
Chronic fatigue Syndrome/ME
Coeliac disease/gluten sensitivity
Irritable bowel syndrome
Inflammatory bowel disease/ulcerative colitis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common condition which affects around 20% of the population. Symptoms can range from being unpleasant to debilitating and can significantly affect quality of life. Dietary changes can greatly improve symptoms e.g a low FODMAP diet, altering fibre intake, avoiding lactose. I will decide with you which approach to take once I have taken a detailed diet and medical history and if necessary may also request tests or investigations through your GP.
Further information on IBS can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome-ibs/
First line dietary advice can be found here: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/irritable-bowel-syndrome-diet.html
Food intolerances (e.g. sensitivity to dietary histamine/vasoactive amines, salicylates, sulphites, wheat, gluten or lactose intolerance) may lead to a variety of symptoms such as: Abdominal symptoms (e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, wind, bloating, nausea, pain, reflux); Skin symptoms (e.g. flushing, itching, hives) ENT symptoms (e.g. rhinitis, sinusitis, glue ear); Other symptoms: (e.g. fatigue, muscle and joint aches and pains, headaches, wheezing, chest tightness). The only way to find out which foods are causing symptoms is to follow an exclusion and reintroduction diet under the guidance of an experienced dietitian. Unfortunately, there are no reliable tests that can identify food intolerances. I can decide which approach is best for you to find out if your diet is causing your symptoms, whilst ensuring your diet remains nutritionally balanced.
Food allergy involves the immune system and symptoms can range from being immediate and life-threatening to chronic but less severe. Symptoms can include: diarrhoea, constipation, reflux, vomiting, abdominal pain, wind, bloating, itchy skin rashes (redness or hives), flare up of eczema, itching or tingling of the lips, tongue or throat, swelling of the face, eyes or lips, rhinitis or nasal congestion, wheeziness, coughing and swallowing or breathing difficulties.
Can tests help to diagnose food allergies? Tests carried out by a trained doctor or nurse may help to make a diagnosis but need to be interpreted by a health professional with the relevant training. Your GP can refer you to a consultant specialist for relevant tests. I can help you to decide whether tests are likely to be helpful and recommend who to see for these to be carried out if needed. Once a diagnosis has been made I can then advise as to what can and cannot be eaten safely and ensure the diet provides all the necessary nutrition whilst avoiding the relevant foods.
It is thought that as many as 1% of the population is coeliac although only 10-15% of these get diagnosed. It is caused by an auto-immune reaction to gluten (found in wheat, rye, barley and contaminated oats) which causes damage to the lining of the gut. This can lead to symptoms similar to IBS, but unlike IBS, can lead to malabsorption of nutrients such as iron or calcium. It is therefore very important that Coeliac Disease is ruled out before removing gluten from your diet as the tests will not be accurate if you are not consuming gluten. More information about coeliac disease can be found here: www.coeliac.org.uk. Once a diagnosis has been made, I will advise how you should avoid gluten and ensure that you still meet your nutritional requirements.
This is a new classification suggested by researchers for people whose symptoms are the same as for coeliac disease and respond to a gluten free diet, but who have negative tests for coeliac disease. Taking gluten out of the diet for whatever reason can lead to a restricted diet. I can help you to decide whether gluten is causing your symptoms and how to manage a gluten free diet safely.
Advice for gaining weight
Although many of us would like to lose weight for health reasons, a lot of people lose weight through illness or have always tended to be underweight and feel unhealthy as a result. I can advise on how you can gain weight whilst maintaining a healthy balanced diet.