How to get your RDA with allergies and intolerances
Currently the only treatment for food allergies and intolerances is to eliminate the food in question from the diet. Depending on the nature of the allergy, and also the number of allergies an individual has, there may be no other option but to cut out food groups in order to effectively manage the symptoms. However, there are consequences to this, affecting the nutrient intake of an individual and potentially meaning they’ll be missing out on vital vitamins and minerals.
This is especially a concern for children who are still growing and need an adequate intake of food to do this sufficiently. A recent study found that children with food allergies in the UK are more underweight than the general population, particularly those who needed to remove at least 3 foods from their diet. It is difficult to separate this from effects of the allergy itself however (e.g. malabsorption in coeliac disease may contribute to weight loss before gluten is removed from the diet).
Obesity also still occurs in children with allergies. If the child’s diet is not well balanced this may affect energy levels, potentially limiting the amount of activity the child can do, which is another health concern.
The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is the amount of each vitamin and mineral needed to meet the nutrition requirements of most of the population, to prevent deficiencies. This may be more difficult to achieve if you or your child suffers from food allergies or intolerances. Below are some tips for how to achieve a healthy diet whilst controlling your allergies:
- Always seek supervision and advice from a dietician to effectively manage your diet – only cut out foods when a full diagnosis has been made and following their advice. If you are unsure how to achieve a balanced diet alongside managing your allergies, ask your GP to refer you to a dietician.
- Consider alternative foods e.g. fortified milks made from nuts or soya are a great alternative to dairy products – many are fortified with at least calcium and some contain other important vitamins and minerals. Or if you’re allergic to certain fruits and vegetables, make sure you eat the ones you’re not allergic to as these are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
- Use supplements if necessary. This is a way to ensure intake of certain nutrients, particularly during times when it is hard to manage your diet, such as following a recent diagnosis, or for growing children. Again, always do this following the guidance of a dietician who will be able to recommend what to take and how long for.
Remember, a balanced diet with a variety of foods is important, so aim to include as many different foods as possible into your diet that you are not allergic or intolerant to.
Communication with schools is an important step in making sure your child receives a balanced diet. Food Freedom can train school staff so they understand the importance of providing alternatives for children with allergies, and ensuring that those children can grow up strong and healthy. Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if there’s any schools you would like to see receive training in food allergies, intolerances and coeliac disease.Tags: Advice, Food Allergies, Food Intolerance, Managing Allergens, Recommended daily allowance
Categorised in: Managing Allergies