Sensitivities to food chemicals are pharmacological and dose-related (like the side effects of drugs), rather than immune-mediated like allergies. Different people have different tolerance levels to salicylates, amines, glutamates, sulphites, food colourings and other additives, and sensitivity symptoms (intolerances), occur when a person’s tolerance levels are exceeded.
The symptoms caused by food chemicals appear to be allergy-like, which can make determining their true cause very confusing. Despite food chemical intolerance being more common than true allergy, a lack of knowledge about this syndrome means that the symptoms are rarely understood properly by the layperson or the medical practitioner. Food intolerances are not mysterious, however: there are specific, well-known metabolic reasons for these symptoms.
The failsafe diet excludes strong tasting and smelling foods and environmental chemicals, in particular:
- About fifty artificial food additives including colours (like tartrazine, sunset yellow), flavours, preservatives and antioxidants (sulphites, nitrates, benzoates, sorbates, parabens).
- Salicylates (aspirin) and polyphenols (natural flavours, colours and preservatives) found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables.
- Neurotransmitters in food: free glutamates (MSG) and amines (histamine, serotonin, dopamine, phenylethylamine, tyramine and others) found in aged proteins and fermented foods like cheese, chocolate, game, and hung meat.
- Aromatic (strong smelling and tasting) chemicals found in perfumes, cleaning products, commercial cosmetics, and scented and coloured toiletries, especially mint and menthol products.
- Some pharmaceutical drugs, including aspirin, NSAIDS and other COX II inhibitors including ibuprofen, and the methyl-salicylates found in decongestants and anti-inflammatory creams.