Salicylates, Amines, Glutamates & Preservatives (RPAH elimination diet)

A sensitivity to the natural food chemicals, salicylates, amines and glutamates can appear at any stage in life. It is not these chemicals per se that are the issue – they are occur naturally in a wide variety of foods, including fresh whole foods – it is a build up over a period of time. For example, all plants produce Salicylates which act as a natural pesticide and the more concentrated the plant source, the more Salicylates. With the promotion of “superfoods” such as chia, turmeric, cacao, açai berries, maca powder and other concentrated plant powders, it has become easier to overload our bodies with these natural chemicals which can trigger a range of symptoms in some people. It really is a case of, “too much of a good thing”.

Natural food chemical intolerance can affect:

  • The entire gut: stomach and bowel symptoms, reflux, mouth ulcers, nausea
  • The nervous system: headaches, migraines, mood disturbances, fatigue, sleep issues, aches and pains, brain fog
  • Skin: eczema, hives, itchy skin
  • Airways: sinus issues, hay fever, asthma, cold and flu like symptoms

As the natural food chemicals are present in such wide variety of foods, it is almost impossible to pin point on your own which chemicals, or which foods, are the issue. In addition, you may find a particular food or meal appears problematic on one occasion and then fine the next time you eat it. If you have tried the low FODMAP diet and felt much better initially but then symptoms returned, or you only felt somewhat better, this may be because the low FODMAP diet also lowers the natural chemicals and this is reason you felt some change.

If your symptoms involve more than just the gut, or if you’ve tried the low FODMAP diet without success, then you may be intolerant to one or more of the natural food chemicals along with certain food additives and preservatives. Book here to make your appointment for a full assessment – what’s involved?
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Our love what you eat dietitians are highly experienced in identifying and managing natural food chemical (salicylates, amines and glutamates) and food additive intolerance in both adults and children (all ages). We use the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) elimination diet and challenge protocol and can guide you through the process. Zoe has developed a series of recipes and food ideas to make the diet easier to manage and she will provide you with email support throughout the elimination trial and food challenges.

Our dietitians have spent time at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allergy Unit in Sydney in order to fully understand the elimination diet and food challenge process.

A word from Zoe…“In order to better understand what is involved in a low food chemical diet, I decided I should try the diet myself. Having done 4 weeks following the moderate approach, and 2 weeks on the strict approach, I can confidently tell my patients that while many foods need to be restricted during the trial period, it is actually not that difficult to do. In doing the trial I developed many quick and easy recipes as well as coming up with a number of practical tips to make it easier for people who have busy lives and families.”

Want to know more?

For more information visit for fact sheets on each of the natural food chemicals and additives and all the various associated symptoms.

You can access more information here regarding the RPAH elimination diet 

It is not advisable to attempt the diet without dietetic supervision due to the complexity of the diet and challenge process. A dietitian can help you work which is the best version of the diet for you and which challenges need to be done.

Do I need allergy testing?

If you suspect gluten or wheat is an issue, you must undergo testing for Coeliac disease before you eliminate gluten. The first step is to see your GP and request the blood test or Coeliac serology. If you have already cut gluten out, you can ask for the Coeliac gene test. Onset of food allergy in adults is rare. Adults with known food allergy, usually nuts and shellfish, will have had the allergy since childhood. Therefore, if you are reacting to certain foods, you may have food intolerance. There are no reliable tests for food intolerance, with dietary elimination and food challenge the only method to identify intolerance. Read this document to see which allergy tests are considered unreliable and therefore a waste of money.

We can also help with the correct diagnosis of Coeliac Disease and provide up to date education on a strict gluten free diet.

We help you with the Non-Diet Approach, Pregnancy, Vegetarian Eating, Fructose Malabsorption and Food Intolerance.

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