Fedup Newsletters


The Food Intolerance Network provides information and support for people worldwide using a low-chemical elimination diet free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers (FAILSAFE) for health, behaviour and learning problems.


“This diet has literally saved my life”

White sugar does not cause children's behaviour problems

Now targeting: A new way to hide MSG in your food - please sign the petition!

Research: CAUTION on white colour 171 titanium dioxide, based on report in Nature

Book review: Food sensitive babies: dietary investigation for breastfed babies by Joy Anderson

In brief: One third mistrust food labels in Australia; 7 hints for fragrance sensitivity; Sensory play ideas for failsafe; Poor labelling of food products - submission made to the Review on Australian consumer law; Scurvy, vitamin C and failsafe foods; “Unusually aggressive” behaviour triggered by new antibiotic; How the food industry ‘games’ food regulation; Drugs, additives and ingredients used to make your food that you don't know about

Your questions: Is histamine intolerance the same as being an amine-responder or is it a form of allergy?

Success stories: [1398] – [1423]

Failsafe shopping list: new products, warnings

Factsheets: Update on chronic fatigue and a funny video

Support community: Failsafers talking to each other

Cook's corner: Amazing quac dip; Potato pastry (very low fat); Potato pastry quiche; Potato pastry pear lattice pie

Thanks and admin:



I was shocked recently to read in an email “I rewrote my will & wrote farewell letters to my boys”. Can the effects of food intolerance really be this bad? I searched through our reader stories to find which reactions and foods are the main problems. My conclusion is that food intolerance needs to be taken more seriously. Results are summarised below “This diet has literally saved my life”.

Meantime it is becoming more difficult to know what is in our food. Some food companies respond to consumer concerns by hiding additives as ingredients, or lately as "processing aids". Please jump in and sign a petition just launched to stop a new way of hiding MSG in foods.

The main feedback we get on the Failsafe Newsletter is that people love the personal stories, so there are lots of those this time, plus you can catch up on new blog posts, research and support. Thanks again to everyone for support so freely shared.

Happy failsafeing - Sue Dengate


  “This diet has literally saved my life”


Every day we receive grateful emails and sometimes people say the diet has been a lifesaver – but the following words made me realise just how seriously food intolerance should be taken:

“I rewrote my will & wrote farewell letters to my boys”

So I looked through our reader reports for similar stories and was astonished by what I found.

Most people regard true food allergies as potentially fatal but don’t take food intolerance seriously. Some doctors even say “I don’t believe in food intolerance”. Obviously, this is wrong.

Six ways food intolerance be life-threatening

Our readers report:

·         asthma, anaphylactoid reactions (hives; swollen lips, tongue, throat; breathing difficulties) or severe chronic irritable bowel symptoms

·         cardiac conditions such as unexplained heart arrhythmias

·         suicide attempts due to food-related  agitation or depression

·         side-effects of aspirin and other medications in people whose salicylate intolerance is misdiagnosed or misunderstood

·         living with so many chronic health issues such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, itchy rash/swelling and/or irritable bowel symptoms that people feel their lives are a misery, they are on a downward path and will never recover

·         parents of food intolerant babies or children can be so overwhelmed by sleep deprivation combined with the demands of a difficult child that they feel they are being dragged down – as I well know myself

There's a blog post with brief reports
. The full stories are in an inspiring lifesaver story collection.

What about doctors?

“Immunologist who put me on the diet has literally saved my life”


Some doctors are happy to refer patients to a dietitian who specialises in food intolerance for a trial of the RPAH elimination diet, some are not. In fact - as reported to us - no doctor has ever identified symptoms due to additive 635, although the first time we realised the appalling effects of 635 was in 1994 – as soon as 635 first appeared in foods – because a paediatrician asked us which ingredient in chicken flavoured noodles could cause “a dramatic skin eruption” in a 4 yo boy.

What are the main problem foods?

In the lifesaver story collection there are three main groups mentioned: natural food chemicals and two artificial food additives.

·         people eating a particularly “healthy” diet with heaps of high-salicylate fruit and vegetables, unaware of the effects of salicylate intolerance

·           people who worked out for themselves - usually by seeing our website or a media article about one of our members - that they were reacting to a particular additive, mostly either sulphites (known to cause death which is why they have to be listed in allergy warnings) but more often the relatively unknown MSG booster called flavour enhancer 635 (consisting of 627 plus 631).


White sugar does not cause children's behaviour problems


When parents think their children are affected by sugary foods such as sweets, icypoles, soft drinks and birthday parties, they are usually reacting to additives such as colours and preservatives.

If children on an additive-free diet appear to react to sugar, their problem is more likely to be due to food chemicals called salicylates that occur naturally in foods from plants such as fruit.

Although white sugar does not cause behaviour problems, it can contribute to obesity and tooth decay, so should be consumed in limited amounts, preferably as part of a balanced meal or nutritious snack such as rolled oat bars, not in drinks. Processed foods are likely to contain both hidden sugar and additives. Home-cooking with foods as grown is healthier. READ MORE


changeorgglutaminase The rash in this photo is a reaction to a dietitian-supervised MSG challenge [1398]

Reject a new way of hiding MSG in foods.
Permission will soon be sought for protein glutaminase as a "processing aid"
Please sign our new petition urging Government to reject it.

There are two things wrong about this enzyme:

•    It considerably increases the level of free glutamates in your food. This makes your food more flavour enhanced or, to put it another way, increases the MSG which many consumers seek to avoid.
•    It will never be shown on the ingredients label because it will be classified as a “processing aid”, part of an international food industry trend to hide the additives which many seek to avoid.

If this enzyme is approved and hidden, there will be many more used to manufacture currently regulated food preservatives inside your food so that they are not listed on the label. You will have no idea that there are propionate or benzoate preservatives hidden in the food. You will have no idea that the free glutamates have been vastly increased then boosted further with hidden ribonucleotides. And the label may legally say “No MSG” or “No added MSG” or "No preservatives".

Please jump in and sign the petition now.


CAUTION: 171 Titanium dioxide, mineral colour, white, CI 77891

Titanium dioxide TiO2 is commonly used in foods like lollies, biscuits, chewing gum and sauces, and in personal care products like toothpaste and in cosmetics as a whitener. Recent research in Nature (January 2017) expressed growing concerns that daily oral TiO2-NP intake is associated with an increased risk of chronic intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis. http://www.nature.com/articles/srep40373#abstract




Food sensitive babies: dietary investigation for breastfed babies by Joy Anderson ( www.dieteticsandlactation.com.au ISBN 9780995356603, 2016, 280pages, $44.95) is an essential book for every new breastfeeding mother. Joy is a dietitian, internationally certified lactation consultant and Australian Breastfeeding Association counsellor with deep practical insight impelled by her own experiences of food intolerance. This book brings her sensible knowledge to bear on reasons for unsettled babies, lactose intolerance, allergies and food chemical intolerances, then proceeds to clear guidelines for dietary investigation. Her views on several currently popular but unproven diets, such a Paleo and GAPS, are also very sound.


One third mistrust food labels in Australia


One in three Australians do not trust the information on food labels, according to recent government survey. The national food regulator FSANZ released a 149 page survey in October 2016 called “Food Labelling Use and Understanding in Australia and New Zealand”.

Approximately 67% of Australians and 77% of New Zealanders somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement: Generally speaking I trust the information on food labels. Putting this another way, the information on food labels was NOT trusted by fully one third of Australian respondents and one quarter of NZ respondents. READ MORE

7 hints for fragrance sensitivity


Fragrance sensitivity is increasing. Nearly 1 in 5 adults reported adverse health effects from air fresheners and 1 in 3 found scented products on others irritating.

"Some fragrances give me an instant headache and  make me feel sick to my stomach, I feel as if I am going to vomit and just want to get away from it as quickly as possible" - failsafer comment

Avoidance is the key. You need to avoid any smell that bothers you - not just fragrances, but also other chemicals - such as "new" smells - that are known to be sensitisers. Avoid perfume, ‘parfum’, fragrance and scent including essential oils and natural fragrance such as eucalyptus in ‘fragrance free’ shampoos. Here are 7 hints to help you manage. READ MORE

Sensory play ideas for failsafe


Looking for low-chemical, allergen-free ideas for creative / messy / sensory play for young kids? Here are some ideas collected from the facebook group. READ MORE 

Poor labelling of food products - submission made to the Review on Australian consumer law


The Food Intolerance Network, with other activist groups, has made a submission on a current review of Australian consumer law, focussing on the poor labelling of food products and seeking to have the Australian Competition and Consumer Council (ACCC) take it over.

Lack of labelling impacts on the right of consumers to know what is in their food and how this can result in consumers being misled. READ MORE

Scurvy, vitamin C and failsafe foods


A doctor discovered scurvy among a group of diabetes patients at a major western Sydney hospital.

Scurvy is a rare condition that used to be associated with sailors on long voyages in sailing ships. It is caused by a chronic lack of vitamin C that is found in fresh fruit and vegetables. Vitamin C is needed to promote healing. Symptoms of scurvy can include wounds that don’t heal, gums that bleed easily, and people who bruise easily.

How do failsafers ensure that their Vitamin C nutrition is adequate? See best cooking methods for potatoes and other sources of vitamin C on the RPAH Elimination Diet. READ MORE 

“Unusually aggressive” behaviour triggered by new antibiotic


A mother wrote:

“My 4 year old daughter is now on a strict failsafe diet which makes the world of difference! Since her grommets fell out recently she has had 2 ear infections and has to go on antibiotics. Each time her behaviour changes dramatically and is shocking!”

“She starts acting aggressively, defiant, kicking, spitting, screaming etc. and it can be hell to live with her.”

My first guess was artificial colours, flavours or preservatives in the medication, because all children’s medicinal syrups contain problematic additives. In this case, I was wrong. As recommended in the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook, the family was using an adult version (white tablet in the correct dosage) and crushing the tablet. It appeared to be a known side-effect of clavulanic acid. What are the options? READ MORE 

How the food industry ‘games’ food regulation

The food industry has understood that 80% of consumers don’t want additives in their food and their response has been not to change the food but to change the labels on the food, the Clean Label Strategy.

Now lawyers are running multiple sold-out intensive workshops to help the food industry simplify their long ingredients list, leave ingredients off the label, refine whether an additive is “natural” or “not artificial”, redefine ‘nasties’ as an (undeclared) processing aid, use the 5% rule to advantage, find ways to not declare Genetically Modified ingredients and how to achieve a clean label without breaching the Australian Consumer Law. READ MORE

Drugs, additives and ingredients used to make your food that you don't know about

Did you know farmed salmon is actually white or pale grey? The nature-identical synthetic additive astaxanthin gives it that ‘salmon’ colour through the fish feed, but doesn’t appear on the label in Australia.


Did you know that a synthetic chemical banned in 160 countries is likely to be in your pork in Australia? That is ractopamine, a feed additive added to promote leanness in animals raised for their meat
What about antibiotics in your chicken meat? Are they being used to help cure disease or to promote animal growth?
And then there are many others, such as illegal sulphites in some meats and arsenic in imported rice  and spices. READ MORE


Q: Is histamine intolerance the same as being an amine-responder or is it a form of allergy?

A: Much of the confusion between histamine and amine intolerance is actually the poorly understood mechanisms behind each condition. The lack of simple, accurate diagnostic tests for either condition is also frustrating. A carefully conducted, well supervised elimination diet is recognised as the best method of diagnosis for both conditions.  In theory histamine intolerance occurs when histamine degrading enzymes are unable to function normally. The mechanism of amine intolerance is still unknown. Neither condition could be considered a true allergy.

If a person tolerates salicylates and egg white they are less likely to be histamine intolerant as the research suggests that many foods classified as being either high in histamine or having histamine-releasing capacities contain salicylates (e.g. strawberries). If an individual reacts to both amines and salicylates and they suspect histamine intolerance or mast cell activation disorder then careful and well supervised testing with certain anti-histamines, mast cell stabilisers, and foods thought to be low in histamine may allow the diet to be expanded in some circumstances.

There is much confusion between which foods are considered to be high in histamine and/or possessing histamine releasing capacities. The lists of foods which fall into each category are not clear at present, leading to many inaccurate diagnoses. It is possible for a person to have both forms of reaction, to further complicate the issue. RPAH's elimination diet and challenges, preferably with an experienced and supportive dietitian, is the best place to start. (Thanks very much to dietitian Marie Hazelwood APD for this response.)


You can scroll through the full text of all stories: for every story we report, there are probably another 10 that cover similar issues. And these are just the ones we get to hear about. Names have been changed to protect privacy.
Success story collections: organised by symptom or by additive keywords are proving the most popular downloads from the website. They'll be added to as time permits.

As always there are too many stories to send them all out in a Newsletter, but so many are positive this time there are a lot of stories in full.

[1423] One-liners (January 2017)

Try going cold turkey, you may be surprised by the benefits. I went hardcore as soon as I'd digested all the info and my entire life started turning around for the better within three days. I was gobsmacked by how fast Failsafe worked for me – Pam

Sue changed our lives, our eldest daughter was intolerant to salicylates and amines. And we then learnt how important it is to avoid additives and preservatives in foods – Stephanie

I was first exposed to your work 7 years ago when our daughter was 3. Her behaviour went off the wall all of a sudden and we had no idea why. My mother-in law asked if I had changed the bread we were eating. Which we had. We had gone from buying Brumby's to Aldi for budget reasons. She told me to check if it had 282 in it & sure enough it did. We changed back and the behaviours dissipated. Of course I started checking everything for 282 then. She also gave me her copy of Fedup she used for her youngest son. What an eye opener! – Belinda Smith, The Root Cause www.therootcause.com.au  

160b, annatto: Twice I had severe heart irregular beat and ended up in hospital. Felt like dying. It happened to me one hour after eating red Leicester cheese – from UK

[1422] “eczema has now gone completely, bowels now normal and he’s generally doing well” (January 2017)


First photo prior to failsafe eating. I saw numerous doctors regarding my son’s reaction to foods, this includes two allergists, neither mentioned RPAH diet. His eczema has now gone completely, bowels now normal and he’s generally doing well thanks to the diet and help from members of this Network. His other symptoms were runny nose, watering eyes, warm to touch, loose bowels/diarrhea and the red skin.

Second photo today, 9 months after starting failsafe. He is still sensitive to sals, dairy and egg but tolerating amines much better and seems to be gaining more tolerance every week. Looking forward to introducing more foods - thanks to Lia.

[1421] Adult failsafers report success – facebook thread (December 2016)

[1420] ADHD diagnosis and failsafe: facebook thread (December 2016)

My 6 year old has recently been diagnosed with ADHD. I've been on this group for a couple of years and watched and thought about doing this failsafe approach. Honestly it's looked so daunting. I take little bits here and there and try and keep packets out of the house as often as I can. However this new diagnosis makes me think I need to do this now! I've seen random posts of ADHD parents on here. Do you find it helps to keep your children off medication? This is my absolute aim, as well as improving my daughter’s behaviour!

Failsafers respond:

Simplistic version, but pretty much four options:

1. It's truly ADHD, and ADHD without any comorbid food intolerance. Elimination diet will make no difference.

2. It's an incomplete diagnosis that is missing other elements such as processing disorders, without food intolerance. Elimination diet will make no difference.

3. It's ADHD, with or without other conditions, but with comorbid food intolerance. Elimination diet won't be a fix, but may improve your child's experience, potentially removing much of the emotional instability.

4. It's food intolerance misdiagnosed as ADHD. Elimination diet will remove the symptoms, removing the diagnosis.

How will you know? Elimination diet. In 3-4 weeks you'll know if diet is involved. – Tracy  READ MORE

[1419] Salicylates: “devil child from hell!!” (December 2016)


This is my 9 year old. He survived meningitis twice as a baby and was constantly unwell. Dr's thought he had IgA Deficiency but by around 2 he seemed to become much healthier. But then he was allergic to everything and his eyes would swell and itch and run. "Just allergies" they'd say. His behaviour was getting out of control too. One minute I'd see the most loving caring child, next minute... devil child from hell!! As a kindy teacher and childcare director for 19 years I tried everything! He had become... THAT kid!! Angry, impulsive, unable to control his emotions or his temper. I was having flashes of his future being a jail cell!! Then I noticed yellow and orange set him off the most and so the painful, looooooong, mistake-ridden, blind trial began! At first it was tomato sauce, pumpkin, yellow or orange lollies etc. but then he would react with something completely different and once again I would just go back to... he's not food sensitive... it's just poor parenting!!!

For years we did this until one lady said... "He's not allergic to Salicylates is he???? Omg.... after a 'what the' face... I investigated!! We are 3 weeks in to the failsafe diet and OMG!!!!! I have my patient, beautiful, well mannered, no trucker talk, caring son back!!! The school has even taken my number off speed dial!!! This is a long story I know... but I just want to say thank you to each of you people on this page! Your stories, your pictures, your advice have helped our family so much! The allergies have almost disappeared and now we are able to recognise triggers!! And to all those new mums starting off... there is hope at the end of this long road. Xo – Madonna

[1418] “this diet has literally saved my life” (December 2016)

For me personally, this diet has literally saved my life. Last year I was very sick with constant diarrhea for months on end, I lost 20 kg in weight & was so weak I could barely get out of bed to use the ensuite. My husband took me from doctor to doctor, naturopath to naturopath & no one had any answers. The more things I took to 'heal' me, the worse I got. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that I would die. I rewrote my will & wrote farewell letters to my boys. It wasn't until I developed hives, that I thought this might be food related. I scoured the internet & found this site. After reading about this diet everything made sense to me. And I haven't looked back since starting it.

I don't see this diet as dangerously restrictive but rather a traditional diet. My grandmother died last year at the ripe old age of 100 & never had any health issues. Some of that is genetic but I now believe it was also the traditional diet she ate. My parents are both in their 80's & they eat the same diet & are very healthy. Most of what they eat is on the low level - porridge, fresh meat, green beans, choko, eggs, brushed potato, with a few mods as well, carrots, pumpkin etc. They don't eat much fruit & when they do its usually apples & bananas – Sharyn

[1417] Salicylates removal avoided anti-depressants for 11 year old boy (December 2016)

Today I saw an 11 year old boy who had been so depressed and anxious that the paediatrician had prescribed anti-depressants. Everyone was at their wits’ end - there had been quite a rapid onset over 9 months or so of bedwetting, violence at school, terrible anxiety and sadness. We delayed starting the anti-depressants until he had tried salicylate exclusion and 4 weeks later, he sat in my consulting room laughing and smiling. All bed wetting had ceased and mood was back to normal.  He said to me “I am not going to eat those salicylates ever again- they make me feel so bad”! His mum said “I have my beautiful boy back” – from a supportive GP

[1416] 635: The crystal meth of MSG (December 2016)

This Melbourne person ended up in hospital with a severe reaction after eating a veggie burger and soy sauce containing flavour enhancer 635, a booster for MSG.

This additive was approved for use in Australia without any scientific evidence and has caused severe itchy rashes and a wide range of other serious symptoms in hundreds of people. Numerous attempts to get the food regulator FSANZ to examine the issue have been met with silence.

Here is his story.


"I bought a veggieburger at the supermarket based on 'natural', fresh' etc labelling.  It contained 635. Fortunately, I only had one.  Within a couple of hours I was having difficulty breathing because of angiodema - swollen lips, tongue and throat.  Hospitalisation and steroids with antihistamines reduced the swelling, but several weeks later I am still having problems.  I have never had an allergy problem, despite being very adventurous with food.

"In addition to the veggieburger, I used some soy sauce on it and that contained 635, and had eaten some savoury biscuits earlier in the day that also contained 635. Presumably that was enough to push past the danger level.

"It is madness that we are allowing these contaminants into our food willy nilly.  The photo was taken after several hours of treatment with hydrocortisone and antihistamine."

Since this additive was approved by the national food regulator FSANZ (Food Standards Australia New Zealand) in the mid 1990's, there have been hundreds of reports of serious side-effects, mostly severe itchy rashes that have caused hospitalisation and years of suffering. Unfortunately, many health professionals are unaware of the role of food additives in causing these problems.

These reports have been collected by the voluntary Food Intolerance Network and provided several times to FSANZ without response.

Sometimes there are reports of serious reactions as with Graeme.

Of particular concern is that often people then develop a range of allergies that they have never had before as a result of exposure to this flavour enhancer booster, which is found in many tasty and savoury products like crisps and chips. It is conceivable that the startling rise in allergies in Australia has been triggered in part by this booster.

Flavour enhancer 635 is a mixture of 627 and 631 and is called 'ribonucleotide' or more chemical names such as disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate. It is added to boost the effects of added or natural glutamates such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) by a factor of 10-15 times and appears to boost adverse reactions in the same proportion.

People who react to 635 regard it as the crystal meth of flavour enhancers. It needs to be banned or at the very least subjected to a rigorous scientific evaluation as the Food Standards Act requires.  Factsheet on 635 flavour enhancers

[1415] Extreme mood swings and self-harming behaviours due to Strattera (December 2016)

I just wondered if you had heard the news about Strattera, a medication prescribed for ADHD that has only been used here in Australia on about 2000 patients, 1400 of them children.  It turns out that the medication causes extreme mood swings and self-harming behaviours.

My son took it for six months and that's exactly what we saw in him.  He got so bad he said he wanted to kill himself and he was only 10 at that time!  His mood swings were so extreme I asked his psychiatrist about bipolar disorder!!!  We stopped the medication cold turkey without the support of his doctor and that's when desperation led us to the failsafe diet, purely by accident as I stumbled upon your website while searching for something, anything to help my son.
Fast forward a year and I'm sure I've emailed you before about the happy, well adjusted, stable, "normal" child he is now, moving on to high school next year which we never thought was possible and only last month receiving his black belt in karate.
Your diet literally saved his life and every day I say a quick prayer of thanks that we have found the failsafe way and completely changed the course of his life. He was on the verge of being sent to either a special school or a psychiatric ward and now, while he still has some slight autistic tendencies that we are teaching him to manage, he is going to lead a normal life and hopefully he will be able to do whatever he wants to do with his future.
Thanks again for all you do – Lu

[1414] ADHD, bulimia, chronic fatigue, obesity, IBS, sinus problems, migraines & food intolerance (December 2016)

I want you to know how much your books have helped me. As a young girl, I grew up like your daughter, struggling with the difficulties of ADHD and food intolerances, chronic fatigue and obesity just to name a few. But we didn't know what these things were back then.

My mother tried as much as she could, but it was difficult considering she was dealing with her own inner demons (psychological & physiological), she had suffered mental illness from terrible childhood experiences and many health problems which she had always thought were food related.

Her way of dealing with me was at times very harsh - but then again she was out of control half the time. She didn't know why I behaved the way I did and she didn't know what to do, and I didn't realize I had a problem, I was just VERY energetic.

My mother went through similar searches as you - taking me to countless doctors, specialists, naturopaths etc from a young age up till when I was 16, trying to find an answer, but to no avail. She didn't have the state of mind or social support to help her to help me. My parents just accepted the way I was - our whole family was suffering in similar personal ways.

I passed many years in a complete blur, some days I felt as if my mind couldn't function, my body was so sick I couldn't function as a normal human being. Other days, I felt alive again and able to think again. This lasted through all my high school years.

From the age of 16-22 I suffered from Bulimia & Bipolar (formerly known as manic depression) and this is the period during which the food intolerances affected me the worst. My IBS couldn't be explained or treated by GPs and when I had sinus problems I went through 3 courses of antibiotics before I realised they weren't helping.

One day mum drove me to the library, I was too sick to go to work (sinus, fatigue, migraines). I accidentally picked up one of your books at the library. It was literally one of the worst (healthwise) days of my life, yet one of the best days. Sitting in that library reading your book (even through the haze and numbness that my mind had become), I started crying. It was everything I had ever experienced, what my whole family had experienced and it was right there in front of my eyes, in black and white. I was overwhelmed with joy (through tears) that some greater force had led me to your book, which started a ripple effect of changes that I am still experiencing to this day.

I started the elimination diet the next day. Within 3 days the sinus problem completely disappeared - I had had a runny nose, and headache for 7 weeks prior to that! It was clear proof to myself and my mum that something pretty big was happening when I ate certain foods.

A few months after I did a complete turnaround in my diet I decided I wanted more out of my life and through the strength and clarity that I was starting to experience in my mind and body, I decided to apply for uni. I am now more than half way through my first year of uni and I LOVE IT! And it wouldn't have been possible, without your help.

I have grown so much as a person in the last year, most people wouldn't recognise me. I have found a love of life and enjoy looking after my mind and body. Thank you so much for all the hard work, investigation and love it took for you to put together the food intolerance network, its publications and for sharing that knowledge with the world.  - by email

(Sue's comment: see other stories about Bulimia  [1116], Eating disorders (binges and starving)  [963], Bipolar/manic depression  [1227]   [1291]
We would be interested to hear more stories from failsafers about the effect of diet on these symptoms - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

[1413] Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diet success for my child which also “saved my life” (November 2016)

…Through this diet, my ASD child, appears more and more balanced. Our highly qualified psychologist took one look at my child in the waiting room at her last appointment (a month into the diet) and said “This is a completely different child. What on earth have you been doing to achieve this?” (The achievement being a calm, responsive and fearless child.) READ MORE

[1412] One-liners (September 2016)

Love the FB page & the huge effort & kindness that goes into it! The diet has changed our family – Virginia

As you have both heard a million billion times - what a life changer for my two little boys and both of us! - anonymous

I can't get enough of the user stories you continually post year after year, everyone is so different yet have so many similarities every little comment and piece of feedback helps! THANK YOU!! - Jess

I absolutely love Failsafe! It has helped my 8 year old son since he was 2 - Angie

[1411] Bleeding eczema due to too much fruit (September 2016)

I recently meet Sue in Jindera and discussed my 21 month old twin girl who has been on the failsafe diet after a very inflamed, welt like and bleeding eczema broke out literally overnight covering her entire body. She was a typical 5&2 reversal child who loved and lived on blueberries and anything fruit. After three months on the diet she is almost completely free from eczema!!! - Eleanor

(Sue's comment: 5&2 reversal means not eating 5 serves of vegies and 2 serves of fruit as recommended by dietitians but eating 5 serves of fruit and only 2 serves of vegies. The salicylate load is far higher with a 5&2 reversal diet.)

[1410] “absolutely convinced that failsafe works!” (September 2016)

So here's proof that kids react to foods. We have had an awesome first week on failsafe. My son has been telling me about his day at school, helping his sister with homework and being well behaved.

After an oversight on my part, partly because I was tired and my husband is away for work, my kids were allowed to have chicken and chips from a local takeaway. The result, a complete meltdown. Crying, rolling on the floor, throwing the school uniform in the bin etc. And he's 13! I am absolutely convinced that failsafe works! - Fiona from facebook

[1409] Hot flushes are driving me mad...(September 2016)

Update 2 years later:

Hot flushes are driving me mad especially at night, sometimes keeping me awake at night for a few hours. I saw that your Women’s Health factsheet suggests a low fat diet. I find it really hard to be low fat on the failsafe diet. I will make some changes slowly to see if it has an effect on the hot flushes. It would be good to lose some weight too ... after 3 months: I have lost about 8 kilos since going on the low fat diet, clothes are hanging off me. It seems the best way to lose weight is to not try to lose weight!  I have been experimenting with ways to change recipes to no fat or low fat and have minimal menopause symptoms. What annoys me is everything you read about how to help menopause never mentions to try a low fat diet. (Other than from you)  ... after one year: I have found that my fat intake has a direct effect on my menopause symptoms. If I eat more fat the symptoms creep back.  - Rosemaree, see the full story [1404]

[1408] Off the scale bad behaviour due to medication (September 2016)

I attended your recent talk in Canberra along with my husband and got so much from the information provided. We've been researching and changing our diets and home since we started seeing one of your listed dietitians for my 2 year old's head banging (he was such a bad headbanger he put his head through a window at 18 months!) and out of control behaviour. We've had some positive results with cutting out all processed foods ...

Everything has been calm until last week when my son had a fever and possible hay fever and we gave him kids dymadon and then nurofen and dimetapp over several days and his behaviour went off the scale bad. We're new to this and have yet to undertake the full elimination diet (it's hard to find a block of time when I can take leave and have the kids out of day care to manage it properly) but it wasn't until your talk that we realised our mistake and also our most probable cause of the sudden out of control behaviour. Thank you for being such an important advocate for our health and wellbeing - it's been an eye-opening journey and I only regret not starting it sooner! - Natalie

(Sue's comment: labelling on pharmaceuticals is so pathetic that artificial colours and flavours don't even have to be listed. If it says "colour free", it probably contains other problems such as benzoate preservatives and/or strong fruit flavours that are very high in salicylates, leading to numerous complaints like this one:

"After a dose of colour free panadol my 5-year-old went back to his pre diet ways, crying non stop, angry, rages and night terrors"

Nurofen can affect people who are sensitive to salicylates. According to the RPAH elimination diet handbook: "Don't take anything containing aspirin ... No NSAIDs [includes nurofen, ibuprofen] are suitable while on an elimination diet, since they can cross react with aspirin ..." from page 116)

[1407] For the first time in 41 years I was asthma free and the healthiest I have ever been in my life (September 2016)

I have been a Chronic Asthmatic since I was 6 years old. When I was 47, I read your book, "Fed Up with Asthma" and started the Elimination Diet. I found it difficult, but persevered, as I was doing the ultimate ... Gluten Free and Dairy Free included.  I had such amazing results that I was reluctant to do the challenges as I was totally happy with what I was doing.

After 3mths of being on the diet, I realised I was no longer using any medication, for the first time in 41 years I was asthma free.  I was the healthiest I have ever been in my life.  People were commenting on my complexion, I had more energy than ever before and unexpectedly lost 13kg.

On the occasions that I did eat out or stray from the diet I found it difficult to determine what was the contributing factor as there was usually more than one culprit involved.

I am sad to say that eventually I fell off the wagon, but after seeing you speak recently, I am totally back on track. And I want to thank you for your work.  I talk about Fedup to many people and they all say the same thing.  "I'm not allergic to anything, I would know it if I had a reaction". -  Jacqui, Qld

[1406] 160b: Heart arrhythmia with fibrillation (August 2016)

I am a 65 year old lady who has had two ablations after five years of atrial fibrillation.  My condition was distressing and the arrhythmia with the fibrillation was always intense and frightening.  For nearly 12 months I have been free of episodes until recently after eating cashews treated with sulphites and last night after eating icecream with 160b.  Last night I had an episode of intense arrhythmia and checked all the foods I had consumed…nothing was different except that I had eaten Icecream and after checking the ingredients I found it contained 160b.  When I had my worst years of fibrillation I checked foods all the time for their allergies and 160b came up in an article when I was researching sulphites because the article said 160b could give the same allergic reaction as sulphites.  I do believe that many many illness are caused by additives in food…I cannot drink wine either and have trouble locating organic without sulphites…Thank you for your article which has assisted me in confirming my own assessment of last night’s episode.  This type of information needs to be widely spread - Fleur

[1405] 200, 282: "bladder leak/incontinence, bladder pain, diarrhoea, slowed speech.." (August 2016)

I get bladder leak/incontinence, bladder pain, diarrhoea, slowed speech (unclear or hazy thinking) with preservatives 200 and 282 and soy and I get bladder leak and anal fissure from maize/corn, along with mood swings and irritated attitude in general.

This sensitivity increased post pregnancy. It took me almost 2 years to figure out my food sensitivities/intolerance. The doctors couldn't help. I have done many blood tests and all turned out negative. I am only safe with home cooked food. Eliminating these from my diet has made a world of a difference. Hope this can be shared to help others facing the same health issue. - by email

[1403] “chronic asthmatic who no longer needed any medication” (August 2016)

I'm a 57 year old grandpa with a story to share. My wife and I had 3 daughters in the early-mid eighties. The middle one had asthma and hyperactivity. Bounced off the walls and ceiling, annoyed her sisters constantly and it was obvious her mouth couldn't keep up with her thoughts. No sleep, asthma and behaviour problems. ADHD was mentioned but the real problem was the asthma which was exacerbated by the hyperactivity. We purchased a book called the Additive Code Breaker which was aimed at the time at helping to treat asthma by dietary means. What an eye opener that was. We changed the diet of the whole family to make it easier. We took that book to the supermarket whenever we shopped. I have noted with interest that your lists contain all the artificial colours, flavour enhancers and preservatives we eliminated from our diet. The result was a chronic asthmatic who no longer needed any medication and amazing changes in behaviour. She became a top student, sportswoman, prefect and university grad. We were queried constantly by family and peers but stuck to our plan. I shed a little tear reading some of the stories on this site. My daughter sent me a link as she is now experiencing similar problems with her four year old and history is about to repeat itself. I wish all the best to everyone taking this path. It is challenging but very rewarding. I have many questions about the marketing done by our major food producers and supplier and their ethics - by email from UK.

[1402] Salicylates: "you would have said they were drunk or on drugs" (August 2016)

Realising that my girls who I thought were fine with Salicylates are likely not. We had been challenging for a few days and then with honey and cinnamon on toast - wow.

One kid could not keep still for more than about 2 seconds - trying to dress her ended with me lying on the floor laughing because it was that or cry after 30 minutes of trying!

The other had her eyes rolling back, not listening, trying to run away from me (I stupidly took them both out!), talking VERY loudly, meltdowns - in an adult you would have said they were drunk or on drugs.

I thought it was only amines. Guess not! Explains why my beautiful little people just haven't been coping in a while - Jo from facebook.

[1401] diet gives medication-free relief from headaches, fatigue, back and joint pain (July 2016)

I'm three weeks into the diet, finally with some relief from the headaches and fatigue. Thanks so much!!! I wish I knew about this years ago.

UPDATE  3 weeks later

I ended up working out by week 3.5 that I was making little mistakes, which I paid for dearly during week 4. But then I came out the other side by week 5 and had a whole 8 days 97% headache and fatigue free, pain free in my lower back and joints all just with changes to my food, no pain reliever medication needed. I'm a little weary of challenges but all in good time. Yay!  - Jess

[1400] Two sisters joint pain (July 2016)

My GP referred me to a rheumatologist last year due to debilitating joint pain. When I was at my worst, the pain and stiffness in the joints of both my hands was severe enough that I could no longer open jars or peel potatoes. I also had pain in my elbows, hips, ankles and toes. I was convinced I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. My doctors ran all the standard tests for RA, all of which came back negative in my case.

At the same time, my younger sister, who had been on a raw vegan diet (really high in salicylates) received the same tentative diagnosis from a GP and underwent the same tests with the same results. Our joint pains were entirely caused by food intolerances. My sister and I are genetically very similar (we'd possibly pass as twins if I were not 10 years older!) and I believe our near-identical food intolerances and symptoms probably have a genetic basis.

I was free of joint pain within 3 days of changing my diet. My sister and I both reacted to gluten and salicylate challenges. My sister reacted to amines, which I am about to challenge myself, but my sister did not test dairy, given she is vegan for ethical reasons. I abandoned my lactose-free dairy challenge on day 3, due to pain developing in the joints of my fingers and right elbow again, as well as the re-emergence of acne and flushing in response to things like washing my face with plain water.

My own experiences of joint pain with respect to salicylates and dairy have made me wonder how many people have been unnecessarily prescribed immunosuppressant drugs for RA (the same ones my rheumatologist wanted me to take!) when perhaps they are simply salicylate sensitive or experiencing other food intolerances, a dangerous precedent given the potential side effects of these drugs - Amy

[1399] Another account of food intolerance apparently triggered by medication use (July 2016)

When I was about 24 I regularly would take feldene, I think it was, after footy without incident. One night I had severe stomach cramps and a friend gave me a couple of her naprogesics. I went into anaphylactic shock and was admitted to hospital. A few weeks later after footy I used feldene again as per my habit and went into anaphylactic shock once again.

I get itchy from many foods and many of the symptoms you discuss on your web page. Thanks for the page. Quite informative. I am now 45. - by email

(Sue's comment: Feldene (active ingredient Piroxicam) and Naprogesic (active ingredient Naproxen) are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used as painkillers. NSAIDs are not suitable for people who are sensitive to salicylates because they can cross-react with aspirin which is a salicylate sometimes used as a salicylate challenge.

Professor Peter Gotzsche, a co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the world's foremost body in assessing medical evidence, says that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - commonly used for arthritis, muscle pain and headaches - should be used as little as possible. He estimates that 100,000 people in the United States alone die each year from the side-effects of correctly used drugs, especially NSAIDs.

Even the name for these drugs, "anti-inflammatory", is not supported by evidence, he says. He has conducted a clinical trial and review of the evidence that has found there is no proof they reduce inflammation.

"These terms for our drugs are invented by the drug industry," he said. "They had a huge financial interest in calling these things anti-inflammatory. It lured doctors into believing that these drugs somehow also had an effect on the disease process and reduced the joint damage."

Read more http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/peter-gotzsche-founder-of-the-cochrane-collaboration-visits-australia-to-talk-about-dangers-of-prescription-drugs-20150204-136nqc.html )

[1398] Severe itchy rashes: "salicylates and glutamates are a problem" (July 2016)

I’m doing the diet for my baby son with eczema and severe itchy rashes. I can’t tell you how awful it was ­ I never took photos when he was at his worst. We’re doing it with an excellent dietitian (on our list for Kempsey).  Challenges have so far shown that salicylates and glutamates are a problem. The diet has changed my son’s life.  - 2015 Kempsey Roadshow talk

FUR2015preFSbreast Pre failsafe, breastfed only

FUR2015gluchallenge Dietitian-supervised glutamate challenge response

FUR2015FS  Now failsafe. The scab was left from glutamate challenge.

Don’t forget, you can search for stories/symptoms or scroll through all current stories


Colour blind supermarkets

Many food intolerant people want to eat only white potatoes, but the supermarkets appear to be colour blind. They label potatoes as WHITE when they are in fact YELLOW and so moderate in salicylates. Surely this is misleading? READ MORE

Here is a useful link showing Australian varieties and colours http://aussietaste.recipes/vegetables/potato/different-types-of-potatoes-in-australia/

potatoblog   potatoblog2


Update to factsheet on chronic fatigue (CFS)


You will laugh as you identify with this 2 min video from a sitcom about a woman with CFS confronting her doctor (the writer of the show also has CFS) - it has become a rallying cry for people with CFS https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zovd9eKvy8s

Factsheets provide science-based access to information on added and natural chemicals, on symptoms and support. See full list of over 100 factsheets and remember that you can use the search function to search all factsheets (Information>Factsheets>Search all factsheets)


Thanks for your continuing support of each other!

A new video-graphic introduction to food intolerance from one of our Network members (2 mins): Food intolerances, what are they? Thanks to Steph Aromataris www.stepharomataris.com


Diet not working as well as you'd hoped? One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the Checklist of common mistakes. Readers tell us this list is very useful. You can also ask for our Salicylate, Amine and Glutamate mistakes sheets This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Online support: Sue Dengate facebook group (over 12,000 members) and/or the Failsafe forum (more private). If you want to use an email support group, join at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There are special interest email support groups too.

New in late 2016: New Zealand closed facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1011400158967643/

Don't forget there’s a UK facebook page http://www.facebook.com/groups/380347182034474/?fref=ts and of course the active USA facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/284241571702972/
twitter-bird-blue-on-whitetweet as @failsafers (note the plural).

Food Intolerance Network hit 9 million visitors in September 2016. 4,000-5,000 people a day visit the website. Interest in food intolerance and in eating food without additives continues to grow.

Local contacts: can generally answer some questions about failsafe eating - many have brochures and a copy of the DVD to lend out. They can also advise on supportive dietitians locally.

Dietitians: for failsafe-friendly dietitians, see
http://fedup.com.au/information/support/dietitians There is no longer any need to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this list.


DVD "Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour” has
subtitles in six languages. (In PAL format only, not available with subtitles in NTSC format. But NTSC format DVDs are at a reduced price of only $15.50 through www.fedup.com.au)


: are available in many languages
in a printer-friendly format (thanks to Failsafe members for translating!). Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you can help with other languages. Latest brochure in Chinese.

All Failsafe Newsletters can be searched and printed. There is a wealth of research, issue discussion, recipes, personal reports and recipes now available in one place. But some of the links are out of date and you must always check current products rather than relying on historical information.

Success story collections: These are the most popular downloads from the website,
organised by symptom and by additive.

The Food Intolerance Network strongly supports the peer-reviewed publication of evidence regarding the effects of salicylates on health, behaviour and learning and acknowledges that more research needs to be published, particularly using dietary salicylates. However the very foundation of science is observation and these observations over many years show an astonishing and convincing range of real symptoms. We hope that they may assist in stimulating further research publication.

Reintroduction guidelines: for people who are extra sensitive, the new RPAH reintroduction guidelines recommend much smaller servings of salicylate and amine containing foods than previously, see reader comment below. Available on request from
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you so much for the new RPAH reintroduction recommendations. I now understand why when I tried to ascertain my tolerance levels and did as my dietician recommended (try 1/2 a cup of salicylates) that my symptoms returned very quickly. ½ a cup is 100 times ¼ of a teaspoon, and given my scent problems I’m probably highly sensitive. Now I can try again. - failsafer, NZ


Amazing quac dip

Who needs Mexican when this is better than corn chips & quac (guacamole)! – thanks Julia for original recipe, a bit modified here but still very hard to stop eating


1 large swede (300-350g) chopped, microwaved with some water for 4 minutes, cooled
80g raw cashews
1tbsp canola or rice bran oil
1/3 cup (35g) chopped green leek or green shallots
about 1/4 cup rice or chickpea milk, milk or water
½ tsp salt to taste
1 tsp citric acid to taste or omit

Blend all (NutriBullet, Thermomix speed 8; 45 secs, or similar), serve with Peckish thin brown rice crackers (not the flavoured ones).

Potato pastry (very low fat)

On the weekend I made Cornish pasties with lean steak instead of mince - turned out really well and low fat – thanks to Rosemaree for original recipe, made dairy-free here. This is a very easy to work pastry that rolls out and bakes beautifully, but because of lack of fat has a chewy texture that might need a knife and fork to eat.

1 egg white
2 tbsp water
1.5 cups cold mashed potato
1.5 cups plain flour
0.5 cup chickpea flour (besan) or skim milk powder if dairy is tolerated

Whisk egg white with water, mash into potato. Add flour and besan and work into a pastry. Use as for any pastry. Makes enough for two 22cm open pie crusts. Bake at 200˚C fan-forced until brown. Don't overcook or it goes tough.

Potato pastry quiche


Take half potato pastry recipe, roll out for oil-sprayed 22cm pie dish, trim. Beat together 2 eggs, 2 tbsp soy or other milk. Add 1 cup cold failsafe cooked vegetables, cubed (eg potato, peas, small bit of pumpkin (moderate salicylates)), add salt if desired and pour into pie dish. Top with a lightly fried sliced shallot. Bake 200˚C for 20 mins. Serves 4 with salad.

Potato pastry pear lattice pie


Take nearly half potato pastry recipe, roll out for oil-sprayed 22cm pie dish, trim. Drain 825g can of pears in syrup, slice pears and layer in pie. Roll out thinly remaining pastry and cut into strips, lay on pears in lattice pattern. Dust lightly with brown sugar. Bake 200˚C for 30 mins. Serves 6 with Narnie’s custard or icecream.

Many many more recipes

At http://www.fedup.com.au/recipes/blog and you really can't do better than to get the regular newsletter from At the Failsafe Table



There's a recipe index of ANY Failsafe recipes on ANY blog. So far there are more than 934 recipes with great photos and ideas all categorised to make it easy to search  http://pinterest.com/failsafetable/ 

Failsafe Thermomix group with recipes and a place to ask questions etc https://www.facebook.com/groups/139914166142279/

I bought a Thermomix a couple of months ago, and absolutely love it. These machines are totally awesome, so pure and clean, and I truly believe that if we’d had a Thermomix years ago when our son was at his worst, it would have saved us a lot of heartache, as well as time and money - Susan.

And the very useful weekly meal plan website https://mealsplans.wordpress.com/


The FAILSAFE Newsletter is available free by email. Just email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Unsubscribe by sending a blank message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sue Dengate’s books and DVD and the failsafe magnifying card and sulphite test strips are available through www.fedup.com.au

Special offer for USA and Canada: Random House has taken over distribution of Sue's books in the USA and Canada, but our current warehouse in upstate New York continues to offer special prices until all gone: Go to http://www.bookch.com and search for "Sue Dengate"

30 copies Fed Up Revised and updated at $12.50
16 copies Failsafe Cookbook Updated at $22.00
23 copies Fed Up With Children' Behaviour (NTSC format) - DVD at $15.50

Fed Up and the Failsafe Cookbook are now available as an ebook: www.amazon.com for Kindle, www.dymocks.com.au in ePub version suitable for Tablet PCs, PCs, Macs, Laptops, www.ebooks.com in ePub for digital and iPhone/iPad.

Sue Dengate’s personal story as an ebook only $3.99: Fed Up with Food Intolerance - a personal story 

"Of all your books, your ebook Fed Up with Food Intolerance is my favourite ­ I just couldn’t put it down" - from Fed Up Roadshow 2015

Look inside


This is the story that helped thousands of parents and adults understand this baffling disorder.

Buy direct at http://fedup.com.au/order-books/sue-dengate-books-dvd-magnifying-cards-test-strips/fed-up-with-food-intolerance-ebook.
Download a sample for Kindle (.mobi) or for other ereaders (.epub).
Also available through Amazon for Kindle

Disclaimer: the information given is not intended as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor for possible underlying illness. Before beginning dietary investigation, consult a dietician with an interest in food intolerance. Information is drawn from the scientific literature, web research, group members and personal enquiry; while all care is taken, information is not warranted as accurate and the Food Intolerance Network and Sue Dengate cannot be held liable for any errors or omissions.

© Sue Dengate 2017 (text) PO Box 718 WOOLGOOLGA NSW 2456, Australia but material can be reproduced with acknowledgement. Thanks to the many members who have written, phoned and contributed to this newsletter and particularly to Teresa and Tracy for their help with facebook and story collections. Further reading and viewing: Fed Up and The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate (Random House Australia), Fed Up with Children’s Behaviour (DVD) by Sue Dengate.