I have been through the RPA 10 years ago & a dietitian helped me through the diet (for eczema). This was very successful. I have salicylate, glutamate, nitrate & sulphite intolerances & have done pretty well for a long time. I don't try to deviate too much from my moderate salicylates. It's not worth it! 

I only wish I knew what I know now when I was much younger -  it would have saved years of suffering.

You guys are amazing & I only wish more people would listen when I tell them about the diet. Unfortunately, most people would rather pop pills than find out the real problem - Kerry

See Food Intolerance Network factsheet on Eczema

My male partner  (47) has suffered from medically diagnosed gout for three years and has tried many things; prescribed medication, a low lectin diet (as per the Plant Paradox book by Stephen Grundy), the prescribed medical low purine diet to no avail. His gout was in his foot/ankle and when it flared he could not even stand the bedsheet touching his foot.

I had done the failsafe diet for my daughter 20 years ago with success and I encouraged him to try failsafe. He undertook the failsafe diet as per the RPAH regime (no dietician). We only challenged salicylates, amines and glutamates as we do not eat artificial additives. He is gluten free and only has A2 milk (prior to failsafe as these foods suit him better). When we undertook the challenges he passed the salicylate challenge and failed miserably with amines and glutamates; both bringing on gout. He avoids all amines and glutamates and he is now gout free. – Susan

Mango (high in salicylates) gives me gout in 1 foot  … Really sux cos I have two huge mango trees on my property! Lol – Tanya from facebook group

Dad's not on failsafe diet, gout is what he gets. All joints crystallised including his toes. Coconut and beer are the worst triggers for him – Emma from facebook group

My husband’s gout has improved since our family went failsafe. He’s not really on the diet but eats a lot of our failsafe food – Michelle

I started getting gout attacks a few years ago - eventually I realised it was always the day after my wife and I ate in our favourite restaurant (Thai). First I thought it was the bottle of wine we shared but when we skipped the wine I still got the gout. Then I stopped eating the oyster sauce and haven't had any more gout attacks.
Sue’s comment:  What’s in oyster sauce?  In Maggi brand, one of the main ingredients is flavour enhancers (621,635) and oyster extract forms only 0.4% of the product. Flavour enhancer 635 is strongly linked to gout. See Gout factsheet

1530oyster  INGREDIENTS: Water, Sugar, Salt, Thickener (1422), Flavour Enhancers (621, 635), Yeast Extract, Flavours (Crustacean, Fish, Soy), Food Acid (Citric), Colour (150c), Oyster Extract (0.4%), Preservative (202).

We did diet for explosive ADHD symptoms. It made a massive difference. The thing that helped us the most during elimination was focusing on what we COULD eat. I wrote the list on my fridge so it was visible. And I found adapting recipes wasn't that difficult once you got into the swing of it. I highly recommend going the whole hog and doing full elimination. We tried just doing low and moderate and it didn't give us a clear enough picture of what the trigger/s were. I promise it's not as hard as it looks. Just be prepared for lots of white food. But it doesn't have to be boring! – Kat

Pre-failsafe, my daughter was annoyingly hyperactive and inattentive. I was looking for one trigger. What I learned was...

•    Salicylates make her vague
•    Amines make her antagonistic
•    Glutamates make her highs extra high and her lows extra low
•    Colours make her silly but only last a few hours
•    Antioxidants make her completely ridiculous, an absolute pain in the neck, you can’t reason with her, you can’t discipline her, there’s no comprehension of consequences and it lasts for a week
•    Nitrites stop her sleeping

Combine that and you’ve got a stupidly hyperactive kid who runs around like a total fruit loop with not one single care about discipline, boundaries or consequences, who loves to annoy the living crap out of her parents but who melts down when corrected and whose ears don’t work - ever.

But because the worst one - the antioxidants - lasted a week, I never connected the small Maccas fries she had on Sunday to the crappy behaviour on Thursday, and because amines took WEEKS to build up and was always there, there was no way I could have linked it to aged meat and bananas.

But if I keep antioxidants out, and keep glutamates to a minimum I have a kid who gets vague when she eats too much fruit or spices and whose eyes light up with pleasure at annoying the crap out of me after eating too many bananas. She lives with her reactions. She understands what does what. She doesn’t live on strict diet (or at baseline) she just keeps it “ok”.

I know rpah (failsafe) elimination diet is huge and daunting and really inconvenient but it really is the best (the only?!) way of clearly connecting trigger foods with symptoms – Rhonda

What’s your opinion on bed wetting that may be triggered by diet? My son said he’d rather continue to wet the bed than give up fruits ?, he LOVES fruit. I’m just guessing there is a link to fruit - Helen

Salicylates were certainly a trigger for my son in night wetting - Kelly

One sign of intolerance is often that we crave our problem, kind of like an addiction (withdrawals and all) - Tracy

My 5yr old daughter is the same ? - Deb

Sals here ? - Rebecca

Amines cause my daughters oppositional defiance and part of that is holding onto her wee until she wets herself - Tess

4 weeks on the full elimination diet and my son (almost 6) has only had 3 wet nights when it used to be pretty much 5/7 days. Yet to find out our trigger, but it’s been amazing for him. He’s so proud of himself - Marie

Sals was definitely the trigger for my almost 7yo. We changed to moderate and low sals last yr and within a month she was dry at night or waking to pee. Was extremely hard as she loves fruit and didn't want to give it up either but we were also having other issues which also got much better when we cut the really high stuff - Peta

Sals triggered bedwetting in my DD but DS doesn't seem to be any food trigger – Lee

Sals cause bedwetting here for two of mine, one is also additives. Having progressed with tolerance to moderate level, now only happens if consuming over threshold so definitively related here – Emma

(Lightly edited from May 2018 to focus on possible dietary causes. Thanks for the other supportive ideas. See also factsheet on bedwetting)

We are towards the end of Elimination Diet for Master 4 with ASD & ADHD. We have had significant improvements in behaviour - defiance, hyperactivity, stimming, concentration. He failed Dairy, Wheat. He can tolerate Moderate Salicylates and Amines. I make up big batches of allowed foods and freeze . I make G/F cupcakes from Ethan’s failsafe Recipes and we are under guidance of a dietician – Sharon

ADHD and diet factsheet

Blog on ADHD label

Q: Anyone get (blurry) vision issues as a symptom of amine/sal intolerance? – Rachel (facebook group)

A:  I have noticed I don't see as well when I'm reacting to foods – Ann

I can confirm that when food was making me so I'll that I ended up on steroids (there was a waiting list for the rpah Dr and I didn't know what was going on yet) I got so inflamed from all the histamines released in my body from eating non fs foods that my vision blurred – Jen

They interrupt my motor skills so everything is on slow motion, including the messages to the brain, hence the "blurred' or distorted vision - Amanda

Yes me too! I thought it was just me until I joined this group. Mostly for me it’s like the beginning of an aura migraine where I get a spot in the middle of my vision and just can’t quite see ‘clearly’ all day. It’s so frustrating. This diet has been life changing - Kath

I used to. I had so much constant, thick congestion for 9.5 years. Always a sinus headache/vision and eyes achy at times. For me, going Dairy Free and eating low sals has totally changed my life. Life is so much better now. Remember, what works for one, might or might not work for you – Karen

After eating 2 tamari and some corn chips, woke up the morning had blur vision! Haven't had corn for a while and try to reintroduce back but didn't work & at least know the cause! - Fiona

I finally had some success with following the diet based on burning mouth syndrome diminishing (see also story [1466])  ... I have new hope for losing weight. I've had food cravings go away entirely for the first time as an adult, which has let me endure some hunger without tears, and I have my peak mental clarity, which I prize - Laura

I have been failsafe for 8 years and have just completed another round of the elimination diet for some new minor health issues. I'm currently being fleeced by my 2 gorgeous grandchildren (8 years and 6 years) because I promised $1 each per day for their piggy banks for every day they stick to the elimination diet. It's working so far.... for them anyway - Nicola"

About five years ago in Kathmandu, Nepal, we met an American guy sitting in our hotel restaurant with his foot on a chair.  Aged maybe 35, he was barely able to hobble. He said sadly: “I came here to do a trek. But now I have gout – it’s so painful I can’t even walk. My whole trip is wasted”.  Both he and his doctor were mystified about the cause. Gout is usually associated with too much meat and alcohol in older age men - not the case here.

According to a local journalist, gout is common in Nepal, and attacks "seem to start at a younger age group (less than 40 years) in Nepal than what is usually noted in Western medical textbooks (over 60 years)", for unknown reasons. https://www.spotlightnepal.com/2011/08/09/gout-in-nepal/ - Sue Dengate


A ribonucleotide-containing noodle soup advertising blimp being towed through minor towns in Nepal

Sue's comment: I guess the culprit in both cases would be ribonucleotide flavour enhancer additives. These additives are heavily used in Nepalese food such as instant noodles, soups, sauces, fast food and snacks. These high purine additives are as strongly associated with increased uric acid and risk of gout attacks as high purine foods although, oddly, they are never mentioned in any medical gout diets or lists of high purine foods.

These additives can be called inosinates, guanylates and ribonucleotides (E627, E631 and E635) or  in America flavor enhancers Disodium Inosinate (DSI or IMP), Disodium Guanylate (DSG or GMP), and the combination of IMP and GMP (I&G).

"Ingestion of large amounts of these compounds by man can increase the serum uric acid level and urinary uric acid excretion and this needs to be considered in relation to people with gouty diathesis and those taking uric-acid retaining diuretics. Hence, specific mention of the addition of these substances on the label may be indicated (but this didn't happen - ed). The changes in dietary purine intake from the use of flavour enhancers are no greater than those likely to be occasioned by changes in consumption of those dietary items which are the main contributors of purine." - JECFA (the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives who assessed these additives in 1974) http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v06je01.htm

I have osteoarthritis … lots of nerve pain & damage - and was put on Lyrica to which I reacted and hated being on. After coming off it, I developed skin rashes … diagnosed as very late onset (I’m now 68) eczema which I have never had before. I have heard of (via FB) several others who have also had major skin problems coming off Lyrica - Barb

My son has ASD and I was lucky enough to stumble across the horrible effects it had on him over a year ago. His symptoms are irritability and total sleeplessness ... he stays awake all night after having some! I truly believe this is a harmful substance and should be banned. It's confusing because it's a 'natural colour'. I could see a lot of people not knowing that this additive could cause such a huge side effect! – Jenny

See annatto 160b factsheet

I always avoid foods that gave me migraines, such as bananas etc but then I started getting severe migraines and realised it was 160b in ice cream. It was because I decided to have a little every evening when a container was brought for the grandkids and they decided they did not feel like it. By the end of the week I was literally banging my head on the wall. So I researched what I had been eating all week and found it had to be 160b. Now I try to avoid it, but whenever I get a migraine I look back at the package and always find that it was in it, when in the past it never was! – Kathy

See also headbanging factsheet


Just needing to vent... my husband spent months sabotaging the diet to prove his belief that food has no impact on behaviour. He was secretly feeding our son bananas and lollies. At one point I laughed because our son threw up in the car after eating one. The last few days have shown very high salicylates to be an issue and still hubby thinks there’s no connection. How the heck do you get your partners and family on board? I’m so frustrated because my son is being quietly tormented for longer than necessary all in the name of proving a point.

Update... hubby is now on board and has made amends... with flowers!! ????- Anna

See full moving and funny transcript of the facebook thread, with permission, because it is too long to summarise https://www.facebook.com/groups/128458328536/permalink/10156908872873537/

Some edited highlights (names changed):

I told him he’s wasting my time because I’m the sucker filling out food diaries for myself and our son... then he complains I don’t have time for him... well genius, why do you think that is???!!!????♀️???? - Anna

For ages I tried to tell my family that there were certain foods that triggered behaviours in my son. Finally with eliminating the foods I could pinpoint my son is a completely different child... finally I have a happy child and family - Mel.

The challenges were showing DH that it wasn’t just growing up and learning, when all the old stuff suddenly came back on cue ... then disappeared again. Although still wasn’t really convinced until about 3 reactions later, following clear baseline in between, where I accurately predicted each day ahead of time - Tracy

This is it!! I can predict the days that are gonna go pear shaped and he keeps saying it’s just a coincidence ???? - Anna

My daughter is sensitive to dairy and when I first noticed I told my husband. He didn’t believe me and gave her a whole cup of milk then experienced her full aggressive meltdown. It took seeing it for himself to realise... after that I had his support and understanding - Tanya

I wish my hubby would acknowledge what he sees... he just keeps denying it... it’s so frustrating! - Anna

Are we married to the same man? - Mary

I would simply say there’s not a person on the planet that would choose this diet if it didn’t have a benefit to outweighs the sacrifices that come with the diet. The quicker you can reach baseline, the quicker you can rule it out or set a course for a new way of eating for you and your daughter. One stuff up just prolongs the process and isn’t helpful - Danielle

I did point out that he has delayed us getting true results and our son is being tormented longer than he should be by this diet – Anna

I know what I’d be giving up for him!!! - Meg

I suspect he has food issues too lol he’s a sceptic by nature so it’s difficult to get him onboard with anything – Anna

I would respectfully point out that your child is the one suffering here - not him. Request he shelve his ego temporarily for the sake of the health of your child. Good luck - Jacqui

I actually had a grandparent say "this is all bullshit” (meaning that food doesn't affect behaviour) while pointing a finger at my 6 year old son who was in meltdown after a reaction. I respectfully lost my shit. This journey is hard enough without that rubbish. I said “you don't have to like it. You don't have to agree. But keep it to yourself and stay out of it.” End of discussion. Harder obviously with a husband - Jacqui

My response is..."When you've read some literature on the subject and your opinion is based on more than just your upbringing and hunches then we can talk. Until then stand back and let me get on with it because what we've done up to this point clearly hasn't worked for him" - Jacqui

Have you tried taking him to a dietician appointment so he hears the symptoms and reactions from a professional? Maybe having a third party involved might help convince him - Laura

Yes actually! I thought the same thing... he was politely insolent to her ???? - Anna

Have you tried getting a new hubby  - Paul

My husband is similar, doesn’t believe it’s a thing and resists and complains, although doesn’t deliberately sabotage. Something we were advised, which I think is sensible, is to have one parent do the food diary and the other monitor symptoms... – Jen

You can definitely win this battle together! Let’s get creative. Lock the pantry. Hahahahaha – Jan

Could I please hear from anyone trialling the fs diet with a baby? How did you work out the severity and presence of symptoms? We have an appointment with a dietician to (hopefully!!) work out the cause of our 9.5 month old being awake and uncomfortable after dinner for up to 8 hours sometimes. The allergist suggested amines and salicylates since the problem foods are all listed as high or very high – Cath

My little one was confirmed with a salicylate intolerance at 10 months after a strict 6 week elimination diet. My suggestion would be to have a food dairy to track all food and fluid intake and reactions. I specifically tracked sleeping and stool as well as these were big ticket items for us. I would also recommend from my experience starting at the beginning with the elimination diet then introducing new foods in a timeframe agreed with dietician and your baby’s symptoms. Be flexible though as it can change. I still track 14 months on! – Laura

We started when my daughter was 3 months old. She was solely breastfed so meant I needed to do it. We tested me, and she was tested through my milk at 9 months. We did more testing when she was about 3. Early tests gave us back salicylates – Anne

We started dabbling with the diet at that age but didn’t commit fully until just after 1yr. After 6 weeks on failsafe our boy finally started to relax, play independently and sleep through. Good luck with your bub! – Carol

I went through this when my son was 6 months old. He wouldn't settle to sleep, had eczema issues, was constipated despite being breastfed and seemed almost hyperactive. The elimination diet was probably harder for me as I was breastfeeding so had to do it as well, at six months he hadn't eaten a lot of solids. But by day 3 we went through a bad withdrawal phase and by day ten my son slept 5+hrs for the first time in 4 months. He is now a much happier healthier child (and he sleeps!), and is slowly building his tolerance levels so we are introducing new foods. He is now 16 months and is starting to tolerate moderate salicylates and amines. The elimination showed sensitivities to amines, glutamate s and salicylate so we are on a long journey but his recent improvements have given me hope. The downsides of this diet were really for me. I was very stressed and sleep deprived when I started it. It contributed to my milk supply drying up and also impacted on my mental health which to be fair was not in good shape when I started. I lost 5kg unintentionally and was so bored with the food I lost interest in eating. I wish I had stopped breastfeeding to be honest earlier so I didn't put myself through it. No one warned me that my milk supply could be threatened but I also know it was likely a combination of things. I was however grateful to have such a good medical team behind me even if it did mean travelling 3 hrs initially. Best wishes to you and your child! - Cassie

We started elimination levels on my LO when he was 1. I was still BFing, so did it too. Amazing improvement in a few days. We trialed foods in my diet (ie through my milk) before trialing the same foods on him directly. I strongly suggest you keep a detailed food diary that includes anything that goes into your mouth or his as well as his symptoms (stool consistency/mucous/blood, temperature (if unwell), vomiting, diorhhea etc) & anything important that may have happened that day (eg went to day care, birthday party). This includes drinks/liquids as well as medications & brands of food. I discovered when we changed brands on one item we saw a reaction. Also, it meant if my LO needed pain relief, the kiddy Panadol syrups were not ok, so we need to buy the tablet form (without preservatives) & crush the tablet & give a portion of the tablet based on his weight (I recommend talking to your pharmacist about suitable dose). We found similar with Amoxil & other meds. Good luck, mumma - Sarah

My daughter was the same, tummy aches didn't sleep and it was eggs. She was breast fed so even if I ate eggs she was affected – Jen

We started FS when bub was about 12 weeks old ???? He was breastfed and suffered extreme gas and silent reflux and was either being fed or screaming, very rarely sleeping. It was difficult to work through and I made many mistakes unfortunately. We kept a strict food diary which helped me go back and analyse things as needed.

We saw improvement after a few months when I started to get the elimination stuff right.... his main trigger is salicylates so he’s still relatively low sals at nearly 3. I must admit it was a relief when we weaned at 2.5 and I was able to eat “normal” foods again.

We found challenges very difficult because with young children there is always something else going on - it took us until he was 18 months to get through them. Since challenging we’ve been able to reintroduce amines, soy and dairy (gluten was never an issue for us).

I love the RPA handbook for a quick easy reference guide for what he can and cannot eat. I’ve also used it to explain to family what we’re doing with diet because they didn’t understand and we’re quite critical.

My other tip as they get older is to continue to look out for behavioural manifestation of reactions. Our sons tummy symptoms have lessened but the behavioural symptoms have significantly increased - Karen

(Sue comment: make sure your dietitian is familiar with RPAH elimination diet.  See supportive dietitians)

Since about 18 months of age, our son has had asthma on and off and it took us a while to work out what was going on. One of the things that was happening was that every time he ate dried fruit, three or four days later he'd be sensitive to things. So if he had a chest infection, he'd have an asthma attack where normally he wouldn't. Or if we had a cold snap in the middle of the night - like around springtime - he'd had an asthma attack, starting out coughing, just as a cough and then it would develop into a full blown asthma attack. Eventually, we realised if we could keep the dried fruits and sulphites out of his diet, a lot of his problems would go away - Darryl (from DVD 2006)

See how few dried apricots can affect your asthmatic child

Asthma and food factsheet


Update after 8 years: We are all doing well. My daughter with Crohn's is doing well although she flares up sometimes with too much dairy and now knows how much is enough. The funny thing is her Crohn's symptoms aren't really there anymore, it's just her top lip that swells with too much dairy (see photo - the paediatrician called it an angular stomatitis).  Her mood is also affected. We haven't been following failsafe to the letter either so pretty good considering. I often recommend failsafe to people and know that if they just tried it, that it would work for them as all the nasties in food are just terrible - Shelley

See more [1060]

I am a 60 plus year old woman who has suffered from Atrial Fibrillation for a number of years. I noticed after some time that it was triggering about 40 minutes after partaking in food and have spent many years trying to pinpoint the triggers. Sorbate preservatives 200 and 202, plus 282 are most definitely my triggers also alcohol which I have stopped drinking. I get triggered mainly by sauces and dressings or anything with those preservatives in.  I do wonder how many people are unaware that their Atrial Fibrillation is triggered by certain additives or food groups. It took me many years to pinpoint my triggers, and I now have to be very careful especially when dining out – Sandie

I would like to thank you for what is most certainly the best website on the planet. After 44 years of health problems which severely escalated 9 years ago, I was about as near death as I would ever care to be. Doctors were treating me for autoimmune neuroimmunological syndrome… with huge amounts of medication and big scary treatments of intravenous immunoglobulin. They told me I would likely die if it didn't work... Two months after the treatment, I started to get even more ill and I picked out my funeral dress. And that's when the doctors pretty much gave up. I was severely disabled and in huge amounts of pain. I had become so toxic I was going into anaphylaxis with nothing but light needed to trigger it. Every time I ate, I would end up on the floor or seizing. When we worked out it was something environmental, we started with a low histamine diet. But I was eating blueberries, broccoli and olive oil, and I really thought it was all over, until I worked out the Salicylate connection.  Finding a truly reliable resource of information was hard, your website is just that, and continues to be an invaluable asset to my survival. By connecting the preservatives and amines, your website has been life-saving. The reversal of my multitude of horrific symptoms is nothing short of miraculous. I lost 25kg of inflammation fluid in just weeks, I had been trying to use my poor body carrying that for 9 years, whilst trying to eat ‘healthy’ vegetables to lose the ‘fat’, ironically getting bigger and more ill. Thank you for all the time and energy you put into what you do, I will be forever grateful - Sara Altman, Ibiza

LATER: Awareness about PST Enzyme deficiency is something the medical profession globally could stand to improve on, and fast, before they pointlessly over-medicate and nearly kill the next poor sufferer. I have also never felt better than I do today, or understood the human body as much as I do now. You guys, along with the work of Rosemary Waring and Anne Swain back in the 70s, are the reason I am alive - S

A well respected paed recommended fruit to fatten up our bub who was not gaining weight and had terrible rashes and screamed half the night. So glad we got onto RPAH not long after. He was unwilling to consider food as being an issue – Clare

Same here with our boy! Diet has been a godsend for my sanity! – Kay

RPAH has proven helpful with all 5 of mine. Some doctors might not 'agree' with it but they don't see my children & their reactions..if I can manage mine best by following RPAH then I'm happy to do so, even if not everyone agrees with that choice – Lyn

The proof is in the pudding (the failsafe one????????) my son stopped waking every sleep cycle screaming in pain when we commenced RPAH – Danielle

Thank you for all the amazing hard work that you both do for all of the food chemical intolerant people – Bernadette

Our boy had aggressive behaviours come out when he did the glutamates challenge when he was 2. He scratched me, but me, growled like a tiger and threw a kids chair at me. Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, salt and vinegar chips were the worst. Then the bread in Australia always has vinegar in it ????????♀️. We make our own bread. He has got better over last 5 years but we still make bread products and avoid salt and vinegar chips like the plague.

We did systematic challenges under supervision for salicylates, glutamates, benzoates (with sunscreen too), amines and ribonucleotides. He reacted to all of them. Had a massive ribo rash. We initially found out because he was hospitalized twice with breathing issues when he was a year old. He was on strict Failsafe for 5 years. Is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and executive functioning disorder and born with a low immune system. I always say God gave him to me to learn all about these things so I can help students in my classroom (Year one). We’re just finishing a year travelling the USA in an RV and have kept him on his diet as much as we can. He did Distance Education this year for school and continues to get high grades - Tina

My DD12 doesn’t have ASD, although when reacting some traits would make you question. She has a high tolerance for glutamates, being able to freely eat things like Vegemite (challenged that one separately for a week to confirm) but a single meal with actual MSG or the flavour enhancers is too high and needs to be strictly avoided.

It’s hard to spot without the elimination and challenge as her reaction is delayed, remaining completely calm for 18-20 hours after ingestion, but then Bang! Full on emotional meltdown with unstoppable angry crying and ranting even when removed from the situation, such as continuing to yell from the other side of the road at a friend about something minor. This then continues for a full 5 days, from a single ingestion, worse each day when triggered with all emotions ramped up (happy, sad, angry, whatever ... they’re all maxed out) to the point where my normally calm and adored by her teacher girl in Prep worked her way through all levels of disciplinary procedure to the Head of Junior School in the space of 3 days as nobody could handle her. She then woke up on day 6 calm as, back to normal, full emotional regulation back on track.

No idea what glutamates do to DD14. She’s my most sensitive one. After elimination when little, having never had it, she refused to eat it. We could never do the challenge. Still can’t. All we know is she’s not as sensitive as her sister as she had no notable reaction to one dose, but refused a second, and while she’ll still have a few salt and vinegar chips she says even the smell of most other MSG foods makes her sick – Tracy

I work as a teachers’ aide in special schools and we mainly look after children with autism as well as children with challenging behaviours and high needs. I can tell you from my experience assisting children with autism during snack and lunchtime that most of the kids come with processed food, usually chips and crackers.  Some eat up to 4 small packets a day, as they like the crunchy texture. I can see a child go from calm to extreme change in behaviour after eating foods like BBQ Shapes and some types of Harvest Snaps, both containing glutamates , on top of having sweet snack foods containing 160b (the colour does terrible things to these children but that's another story). Parents feel guilty and giving kids these foods which become their favourites and could never take them away as it's become part of their routine. Eating changes their behaviours significantly, hand flapping increases, closing ears, pacing etc compared to the odd child that has a strict diet of only protein and limited veg and fruit. It doesn't take away the autism but the child is a great deal calmer and easier for us to manage - Sheree

My ASD son, now 18, is definitely sensitive to glutamates, both artificially added and naturally occurring. His tolerance has improved over the years - he can have small amounts without too much effect, eg some peas in food. Artificial glutamates are another story - definite behavioural changes with these. I have even noticed changes after eating certain rice crackers that have soy sauce in the ingredients list.

It has been harder to control his diet now that he is 18 - he often sneaks food that he is not supposed to eat, and is in denial about the effects on his mood and behaviour. We get nasty mood swings and extreme anger that is easily triggered. He is not a small 18 year old, and it means that sometimes we are all walking on eggshells around him to try not to trigger the anger. He is never violent to people, but often throws things, smashes things, slams doors etc. As you can imagine, this is very stressful to deal with and live with. He is already on medication to help with his behaviour. We have done the failsafe diet since shortly after my son was diagnosed, so about 14 years – Leanne

We’ve been following a largely failsafe diet for my kids for over 10 years and it’s been a life-saver.

A well-meaning friend bought the kids the brown tub Bulla Classics Real Ice Cream Vanilla ice cream which has annatto B in it. An hour later my 13 year old had hives come up all over her face, as well as feeling generally rubbish (her words) and being very cranky (my observation). The kids call annatto "yellow hell" because they all react to it in some form, and it is showing up in more and more food - Hannah


My daughter reacts highly to chocolate. She has amine intolerance but I’m wondering what else could be there as her chocolate reactions (behaviour) seem more extreme than any other? - Ruth

There are different types of amines. My daughter seems to react to some types of amines more strongly than others - Tenille

I'm generally fine with amines in standard doses - I can eat aged meat, cheeses, etc. If I really splurge I'll react but it takes quite a lot, or I'm under stress or have my period (my threshold is lower all round then). However cocoa / chocolate and I do not mix. It causes anxiety in me at a minimum, and at a max full blown screaming raging melt downs. I cry screamed at my son once while reacting to a block of dark choc for getting water on the floor. It was the bathroom floor. He'd just got out of the bath. Totally irrational and really scary actually. I had no control. My son’s worst reaction is amines as well and the big sign is rage like he's possessed – Ali

Yes for me. Rage, aggression, anxiety, disturbed sleep – Ruth again

In a child it is one thing but as a 28yo adult it frightens me. It really made me have empathy for our kids rather than be mad at them. I went my entire life thinking I had no food issues, and just half assed this not wanting to cook multiple meals so ate what my son ate and wow I learned a lot about myself – Ali again

Omg! You are my kindred spirit! I’m exactly like that! Complete unnecessary rage... so awful! - Alison

Since having our food stuff more controlled, we are a happy, pretty calm family...Ali again

I’ll have to show this to my daughter. So she knows she is not the only one – Ruth finally

It can really help to make sense of it and feel like it's a legitimate thing, not some crazy madness all in your head! – Ali finally

Watch for added flavours. They are my girl’s chocolate trigger - she’s fine with pure chocolate- Tracy

I agree with others - the flavours can be the culprit too. Cadbury was the worst, my daughter passed the amines challenge with chocolate but she reacted very badly with Cadbury - Teresa

See more Amines factsheet

I have had asthma for nearly all of my life and in more recent years have also suffered with insomnia, an inflammatory-state throughout my body manifesting as fibromyalgia-type pain, loss of energy, rhinitis and head-pressure at times, to mention my main ailments.

I have tried reducing SAGs (salicylates, amines & glutamates) as well as food additives, having first come upon the book, 'Friendly Food', earlier this year and then coming across this website.

Potassium sorbate, propionate, annatto, soy lecithin, soy products like soy sauce, yeast extract products have all been excluded from my diet through eating only salted butter rather than margarine, having no ice cream, not even being able to use Easio starter yoghurt culture because it contains soy lecithin therefore requiring me to use my own yoghurt starter. I don't eat vegemite or any other yeast extract products and am lessening my fruit and some vegetable intake. Unfortunately, for quite some time I have had to eliminate honey, not to mention jams.

I have also excluded products like corned silverside and all hams, bacon etc. No cream cheeses. Now, I always make my own bread and several other food items. I have minimised coffee consumption from 1 cup a day to 1 cup a week and I may eliminate it altogether. I have gotten used to natural-flavoured cooking and like it. I now almost find food with soy and worcestershire sauce overbearing. Of course, stock cubes are never used now either.

I use plain water to clean my hair rather than using shampoo, which I will use very occasionally, not every day which has been my habit up until now. This is to alleviate the rash on my forehead.

After starting my low SAG, additive-free diet, the first miracle was being able to sleep again. I hardly need to take Ventolin anymore. My pain has left and I have far more energy. I wouldn't even consider trading my newfound better health for these high-chemical foods. I still have plenty of foods to choose from, especially if they are natural and not out of a package. Packaged foods include things like tea (I know, this is very high in salicylates-usually 1 per day), flour and rice.

Thanks so much to you and Howard for your very generous website with all its research, reader stories and information. You have helped me so much, along with Dr Anne Swain's books, '˜Friendly Food' and the '˜RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook' along with your own 'The Failsafe Cookbook'  - anonymous by email

Thought I would let you know I am a lot better. Seeing RPAH Allergy Clinic directly made the difference and now I am having symptom free days. The key was the chart they gave me that showed how to add foods back in. That has made the difference. Every time my symptoms increased I had been going back to elimination and I was becoming more and more reactive. I started with 1/2 serve of amines (salmon or banana) every second day. Then introduced half a serve of sals once a week ... then I stuffed up and had to go back BUT NOT to the beginning (one step back) so you build up the base no matter how small it seems to be. I am now on 1/2 serve of moderate sals or amines each second day ... and I am so much better  The problem is with rushing ... you can't help it ... you end up further back but not at the beginning - Sheridan

Has anyone done the elimination diet for a child with ADHD, if so, did it work? Would love some advice/tips/help! - Tash

We are not ADHD but anxiety that presents as explosive rage. We have just finished week 2 of elimination and have 2 weeks to go but he definitely seems calmer and a little more controlled. He is himself sticking to it rigidly as he has noticed it is helping him feel like "his brain is racing less" - Kat

We have. We have found amines to be a huge trigger for poor emotional control. Food colouring exacerbates his hyperactivity. My 8 yr old also has autism - Renee

Yes, had huge results after first 2 weeks of going baseline. Concentration, focus, calmness. The boys dad thought I had sedated him. Strict elimination.MSG was huge problem - Tracy

Incredible results. Definitely recommend it - Verity

Same here - school was talking getting my son assessed. All concerns went within about 2 weeks (we hit baseline pretty quickly as I’d done some precursor removal of some foods before going to full elimination) – Kerryn

We are a few years in now. After doing the full elimination time we found that MSG it was big problem for our boy. It was definitely only part of the solution with lots of professional help from a dietician and psychologist - Annie

Yes and saved us all. 100% worth it here - Emma

Absolutely! We are now 20 years into this journey, and I thank God for Sue and Howard every day! - Sharon

Same here. I started with my family about 25 years ago. It made a huge difference to all my children but particularly my youngest son. And I found out that I reacted to everything that they did, just not as strongly. I was also told that boys grow out of it, which seems to be the case with my boys. Or maybe they’re just too stubborn to recognise the signs now they are adults. ???? - Jane

Yes. It has 50% treated the symptoms but we still need medication to assist. Given the intolerances though we are struggling to find a medication that doesn’t make him worse! – Nicky

Yes it was amazing. But the biggest tip I can give you is to make sure you put 100% effort into doing it perfectly with no slipups. Otherwise you might think it doesn’t work and I’m so confident that it does work but you have to put your heart and soul into for 2 weeks straight at least – Karli

We did this 13 years ago with our eldest. He is about to turn 17 and has never needed medication, we 100% diet control. That being said it doesn't work for everybody but it certainly can't hurt to try ???? - Tania

Yes, we did. She is now 20 and doing well. Preservatives and colours were her biggest problems – Mara

Yes and yes. It helped immensely. We started 3 years ago. Most of his sensory issues resolved and moodiness, lifted the brain fog a bit. But we also medicate now as well. It was the best choice for him. We did it as a family and it was well worth it for everyone. I discovered my own intolerances that were majorly effecting my own health - Kylie

Two years of strict dieting; master six reacts strongly to glutamates, moderate amines, flavours, colour and flavour enhances. Diagnosed two and half weeks ago with adhd and now on meds.... after hubby just feeding him ‘anything’ (thinking meds would solve it all) we found he still reacts to food he shouldn’t eat... so for us a combination of good diet (his foods) and meds we are on the right path... - Jo

Sue Dengate saved my life and my children’s. Best tip: have a supportive partner. Mine wasn’t. Took 9 months to do a 3 months test ????. I was shocked at the Behaviour and health improvement. Not easy but for me definitely worth it- Cathy

It's not easy but definitely worth a try. Like others have said here - you've got to be organised and committed. You definitely get results & you'll feel so proud of yourself & your children once you start to see those results. It's a big learning curve but so worth it. Good luck. Xxx  - Clare

We started FAILSAFE because of concerns around ADHD. It worked really well and we now know all our son’s triggers. In the beginning (pre-school to year 3) diet was enough. From year 3 though, it just wasn’t. He is grade 7 now and we use a combination of medication and diet as ADHD management – Bron

IMHO ADHD is a problem with neurotransmitters in the front lobe of the brain. Food and environment can reduce the symptoms but not completely remove them. If they are removed then it wasn’t ADHD to begin with, it was a food intolerance. In our family food does help so much but other assistance is still required - Elise

My daughter had severe autism as an infant... as a toddler we made her dietary changes based on recommendations from her specialist... her improvement was nothing short of a miracle... she is now considered to be in the high functioning/anxiety range... the diet is 100% worth doing... reducing toxicity is EVERYTHING!!! – Ali

If I didn’t eliminate flavourings, colours, and preservatives my child would undoubtedly have an adhd diagnosis - Caroline

I have issues with hyperactivity and attention. Removing my triggers i.e. salicylates and preservatives has helped immensely! I also find magnesium supplementation to be helpful. Besides that, I utilise time management techniques to focus my attention better – Mara

I have ADHD and when I was following this diet I was so much better I was even allowed to lower my meds dose, it was easy to think and concentrate, I had less sensory overloads, it works definitely do it – Ash

I did with my daughter and myself. I am bipolar and she was diagnosed with ADHD & SPD the elimination diet worked so well 6 years later we still follow it and we are a anti-salicylate family.  I had everything done through this amazing pediatrician. My kid was getting suspended twice a year and on behaviour programs, we started and now she's honour roll going on to a scholarship. All it was, gluten and salicylates – Nina

I use to watch my boy eat something and not long after was off at 100 miles per hour. Did allergy tests to rule anything out before going down the food intolerance way - which worked big time! – Tracy

Yes, we did the elimination diet 4 years ago and it fixed my son’s ODD symptoms completely. He was always very touchy/feely to the point of annoying with his friends and brother which we were told was just a marker of ADHD. This eased considerably after elimination. We found our main adversary was preservatives, within 2 weeks we noticed a massive difference just changing the bread - Katherine

ADHD factsheet

ADHD “a meaningless label” - or not? blog

For those who are eating without certain food chemicals - do you crave foods with those food chemicals that you are avoiding? I seem to crave intensely things that are high in amines and glutamates – Mel

In the beginning I had intense cravings. They went away – Gail

My child with behavioural/emotional symptoms craves his poisons. My child who only gets pain and physical symptoms does not crave his poison at all - Paula

Paula that makes total sense to me. I do not cheat on the foods that cause me painful reactions. But for emotional and behavioural  neither myself nor my son remember nor do we "feel" them as they "look" - the outward reaction does not feel like the reaction we are having – Gail again

Yes. I was theorising with my husband that I'm addicted to the immune response I get from these chemicals. Oddly enough all my favourite foods are reactive for me, so I wonder if this is something that happens to other people – Sarah

Yes, me too. My favourite foods are my poison and yes, I give in to cravings and wake up with what I call my food hangover which can last a few hours to days. I don’t however give in to sulphites and glutamates that give me week long migraines – Maxine

Mainly in the beginning or when I have broken the diet - Nat

Not cravings but I miss certain foods – Kat

Yes. And if I cheat a little bit my cravings intensify! The stricter I am the less I crave ????????♀️ - Mel again

I know it seems like an addiction for my little man. He is ok if he avoids amines altogether, but he can’t handle just one taste of banana or cheese, etc, and gets angry or demanding wanting more -Mandy

For me salicylates increase appetite & create cravings - Chris

One of my amine side-effects is amine cravings. I have a few foods that I still miss, but as long as I am not seeing, smelling or tasting them I don't normally crave them. I've had to remove all amine foods from my house a few times. My husband isn't on the diet and usually I am ok as long as he is discreet, but when I am having withdrawals from amines all bets are off. Also amines affect my mood so that is probably part of it too. They can make me feel a bit high when I first eat them and then really low as they wear off. Glutamates are something I miss a lot too. I just really miss tasty food, but my reactions are so unpleasant that the temptation is usually not so much of a problem. If you can stick to the diet for long enough to do your challenges so you know what your symptoms are, you may find the temptation becomes less. – Shirley

I really struggled in the first year. I continually tried to add some (very) high foods back in for flavour till I finally realised that I felt much better without them. Now I can leave them no problem, knowing that I feel much better without them – Anne

Fragrances give me headaches - Lee

I get a headache the next day. Which is why I never figured out the cause before doing failsafe! - Ros

IBS, same reaction as eating a cream potato. Don't usually get a reaction if I've used the Azep spray - It took me ages to figure out! I spend a few hours one day a week at a place, after about 4 weeks I realised I reacted every time I went to that place and that's what I was reacting to rather than the FS food I ate for dinner each of those nights. Since I started taking the spray, I stopped reacting each day I go there - Jan

Forgot to comment about skin products. I use as FS as I can find. I use unscented everything. I couldn't figure out where a fragrance was coming from and it drove me nuts - the toilet paper roll was scented! - Jan

That is very interesting as my son certainly reacts to fragrance. I always thought it was just fairly immediate hyperactivity but it may explain some gut type reactions that he has where I cannot work out what the problem was - Rachel

Severe brain fog, anger, itchy sometimes, swollen face - often delayed as in I wake the next day with very puffy face, sore throat, anxiety etc - Teresa

Pains in my legs and hands and headaches/ pains in my head ???? – Julie

Nasal congestion, headache, sneezing, watery eyes - could be others but sometimes hard to tell what has caused certain symptoms - Lisa

Migraines - Michelle

Headache, sore lips and tongue, fatigue, brain fog - Eli

Puffy face, blocked sinuses/head, hayfever type symptoms, difficulty breathing, hoarse voice, headache/migraine, sore eyes, brain fog / difficulty concentrating (and later remembering) – Kerry

Headache, brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, sometimes rashes - Rosemary

Duodenal/stomach pain, constant burping while exposed, light headed/dizzy, can't focus/think properly, puffy eyes, itchy throat – Ali

Headache, nausea and stuffy nose. Not sure if grumpiness is also a reaction. Maybe I’m just cross that I have to smell fragrance! - Linda

Instant headache - Heather

For those of you that get brain fog, migraine, head things from fragrance, try breathing through your mouth until you get away from offending smells. Works for my girl – Jean

Nausea, tinnitus, extreme tiredness, coughing, phlegm in the throat, sometimes chest constriction & pain – Sally

Burning sinuses, chest pains, asthma, brain fog, uncontrollable crying, depression, headaches - Jude

Instant headaches, my eyes start to twitch, sometimes they feel like they are rolling back in my head. Two of my daughters get very angry, it’s like instantly  - Kerin

Dizziness - Nicky

My brain stops thinking straight. E.g. I walked through a cloud of fragrance in a pharmacy one day and half an hour later in the supermarket I was standing there with my mind going round in circles thinking 'I know there's something else' repeatedly. I had to just pay for what I already had and walk out. It increases my fatigue also - Kathy

Neck ache, headache, eye twitch, feels like constricting blood vessels or something moving in my head, lack of focus, mood change, then fatigue - Irene

It starts with burning eyes, then red, burning hands, then burning inside my mouth, aching all over, brain fog, headache, then progresses to nausea & on occasion vomiting - Sharyn


Factsheet on fumes and perfumes

Factsheet on perfumes and fragrances  

Factsheet on inhaled salicylates

7 hints for fragrance-sensitivity blog

Chemical sensitivity increasing blog

I need to rant... I’m defeated without even starting. My 6 y/o was diagnosed with adhd, anxiety and sensory issues just over 2 weeks ago. Since then I have been researching and getting together recipes to start next week, as per our paediatrician recommendation. My husband, the school and his GP don’t believe this will made an ounce of difference so we are going to medicate and do the diet at the same time. (There’s lots of eye rolls and smirks involved when changing his food is mentioned). Every time my husband talks about this it’s always I want to do it (not we), he has already decided that he won’t eat the meals unless he absolutely has to (dinners only) and there’s no reason for us all to do it, when it’s only for our son. He makes comments like now our son can’t go to parties and now his sister misses out on all the yummy foods, he won’t get enough nutrients etc. he’s already said that it’s on me to make sure we stay on the diet and he eats properly. I understand and agree with medication because he is really struggling at school and it breaks my heart that he is constantly in trouble, so if the medication helps him get through a school day that’s great, but I would like a bit of support in trying this. We have not told any family about his diagnosis as we don’t want their opinions on what we should do, so I am literally doing this alone - end rant! – Sam

I note that the paediatrician recommendation, specialist in the field, likely knows more than husband, school and GP combined ????. Do you have a dietitian monitoring nutrition to add credibility? - Tracy

People can be so crap about it. My husband changed his tune on the first challenge. “How did we ever live like this?” he said – Lee

It will be worth it though. Just ignore comments and tell husband to cook for himself if he doesn’t like what you dish up! – Lisa

My three boys were all diagnosed with adhd, and one is on the autism spectrum. This is going back 14 years ago, so there was no support group, and I stumbled on the book Fed Up by accident. I changed their diet, and they went from complete ferals, to the politest boys in the school in three weeks. There was no support. The school sent me to psychologists with the boys, who would recommend "medication, but mother won't medicate" on the reports. It was really upsetting. My inlaws would tell everyone that the only reason the boys were on a diet, was so they couldn't have them over. My husband worked so much, he didn't care what he ate, so long as he didn't have to cook, so that was something. They did however go to parties, I just took their own food. Everyone ate the same, there was no his food, or my food, so no-one felt that they were being hard done by, and I learned to cook and read labels. The whole family’s health improved, as well as the general mood in the house. My recommendation would be to not medicate, as you won't see the changes the diet makes, or rather, doing both at the same time, you won't differentiate which change is diet and which is medication. But stick with it, because it is so worth it. I have now got two boys doing engineering at uni, and one in grade twelve, also aiming for uni, also, engineering, so, if I hadn't had the fortitude to keep to the diet, and hold strong against the tide of naysayers (and in general horrible people!) I don't know what they would be doing now. And truthfully, you aren't restricting the diet, you are eliminating the crap from it, so it isn't going to hurt them. Good luck, and hugs!!! - Elizabeth

Reason for the whole family to do it: imagine being the little boy who’s always in trouble and has just been told that there’s something wrong with him that he doesn’t understand, who has to take medication he doesn’t want to take and doesn’t like how it makes it him feel, and who now has to sit there and watch everyone else eat all his favourite foods in front of him, after everyone at school just had cakes he couldn’t have. And psychologist talking: don’t mess with meds. Either on them or off them, not on them for 6 weeks then off them for a while. They will barely have had a chance to start working (if they work). The whole point of the process is to follow the scientific method and only change one variable at a time, and that’s the food chemical being tested. If you change the medication chemicals as well, then you’re no longer at your baseline ready to challenge, so you can’t do the challenges if you’ve just changed his medication. Get your paediatrician and GP to weigh in on that plan -Tracy

My daughter’s friends all wanted her food, and her lunches. Because they were better. Any time we went out to birthday parties, etc., the plate of alternative safe foods I took was always the first to disappear. I soon learned to keep enough for my girl packed aside. Once off strict, my daughter still wouldn’t eat the other foods - it wasn’t as good as my homemade food. You’re eliminating food chemicals, not food, not life ... and you just might find a lot that become favourites even when no longer on FS – Tracy again

Stick to your guns Sam, it’s worth every second of it. My hubby is actually quite liking the diet. He’s getting more steak, lamb and veg which he loves. I’ve also done a couple of curries, spag bol etc to freeze for my hubby and other daughter to have when they don’t want what I’m cooking - Julie

It can help to name it up as the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Elimination Diet as it then seems more 'evidence' based to others and having the RPAH handbook helps you have the language and charts to get others on board. Your husband might find it helpful to read the excellent description of the difference between allergies and intolerances. Also maybe start slowly with omitting all artificial colours flavours preservatives bread improver etc, then add Failsafe breakfast and then lunch, this can be less overwhelming for some people and allows you to get your head around the new brands to buy and recipes. Good luck, we did the diet when my son was 7 and we went from being given ADHD books from the teacher to now seeing my 12 yr old be highly academic and so happy - Neeta

Why do people dismiss it until they've tried it when it is proven to work for so many? He may come around. I always took a packed lunch alternative to kids’ parties with allowed treats and the time goes very quickly before they realise they don't want to eat the food that makes them feel bad and they get old enough to understand. Stand strong. Your Mother's instinct is correct – Caroline

This diet literally SAVED me and changed my life at age 22. I wish I had found it earlier. You will see improvements within 3 days if you are strict. You’ll never look back! – Jacqui

We’ve seen a huge transformation in our son by eliminating artificial colours and flavours and most preservatives. I wasn’t sure the school would take us seriously. Then they accidentally gave him a zooper dooper as saw him ramp up. I’ve had full support since – Megan

I have bipolar and also take adhd medication. I still need my meds don't get me wrong but food made a huge difference! Such a difference that I have only cheated once in 2 and a bit years. My life has changed! I don't think it's the answer for everyone, but I think it's important to do the elimination and challenges to find out. Good luck – Jen

We have been where you are now. It’s overwhelming for you, your husband and your son. In 6 months time you will look back at now and see how much you have learnt – Eli

What should be normal procedure by any doctor, school would be to try the diet first then if it doesn't work go the meds. It took 3 days to see the difference in my ODD, ADHD, Sensory child. Only 3 days! We did go hard and took dairy and gluten out as well the first week. What if he doesn't need meds and diet is enough? Can you somehow agree to hubby giving it a week on diet just so you both know for sure you explored the option and made the best decision. What's one more week? - Roxanne

And by the way what a wonderful pediatrician to recommend diet to you. Mine laughed at me and seriously put me down when I suggested it. Two months later when I returned to discuss the medication at her request she couldn't believe the change in her, that she could no longer diagnose her with any condition, said she had never known it to work. So I showed her – Roxanne again

My husband and I were talking today about how pleased we were that we went with the diet. No ADHD meds needed – Elaine

It will get better. I saw amazing change in my Aspergers / ADHD child with a change of diet. But it wasn't enough. Don't let anyone tell you not to do the drugs if they help. We do for school, after school activities and social situations where there will be over-stimulation. Hubby will eventually come around, mine did. But it took ages. You are your child's advocate even within your family. Stand strong! You can do it. One small step at a time, bit by bit. How do you eat a (failsafe) elephant? One... bite... at... a... time! - Leonie

Agree with all of the above. Same story here. But my boy is now 16 and this all started when he was 7. It will become your way of life and once triggers are worked out you will be thankful you did this - Elise

We started the diet when my dd8 was in prep. It made a huge difference and helped all of her adhd tendencies except concentration. At the end of year 1 (over a year after starting the diet) she started meds as well to help with concentration. You don't need to wait a year but I would try and have a bit of space between starting both. Salicylates affect my daughter’s sleep - which I know because we did the strict elimination. Ritalin also affects her sleep- even a dose taken at 8am. The worry is if you start both you won't know what is causing the improvement or problem. For my dd diet helps so much- most people don't even notice if she doesn't take her meds- her come down is also barely noticed. It's hard but so worth it - Tanja

I can relate, it’s tough. My husband totally gets it now as changing my kids’ diets had a huge impact on both of them. Just know that meds have ingredients that can continue to trigger symptoms. We had to take the meds out of the capsule...but this only works for a few types. Most of them have to be taken intact. If my son was still getting the dyes in the meds, we wouldn’t see much difference in diet. It only takes a tiny amount of these chemicals to make a huge difference in behavior, like night and day. Hope that helps! Best wishes to you and we’re here for support! - Laura

We're on meds and on a restricted diet. We all have food sensitivities to a degree, so I do not make the diet change household-wide. We were on the diet for over a year before starting meds. The diet helped with most of our issues. Then I noticed more subtle ADHD symptoms that I didn't know were actually symptoms (pestering others, dropping/losing your pencil repetitively during school work). The meds do not keep our food symptoms from occurring. It will only take one food reaction after the change to change your husband's mind. I had doctors rolling their eyes at me because my son was better behaved out of the house. Our doctor never understood what we were going through and just wanted to throw laxatives at his constipation - never heard of this diet. My husband was on board with the change. Unfortunately though, he thought it wasn't important to be strict at first. Even now, three years in, he occasionally gets this mentality. My response is always, you cause the reaction, I'm sending him to work with you to deal with. Hang in there. The proof is in the pudding! - Jenna

My son was 3.5 when I was absolutely desperate to find ANYTHING to help him. I went to drs and let’s just say I have lost all faith in the medical profession. My husband heard what the drs said and so believed there was nothing wrong with our son (he put his sister in hospital twice and was so strong I couldn’t hold him when he was angry at 3.5!) I found failsafe and thought it was amazing. I showed the video to my husband who sat on the other side of the room with his arms folded and said ‘that’s the biggest load of hippy crap!’ We tried it basically so my husband could say ‘I told you so’ when it didn’t work. After 3 days my son was a different kid! My dad asked whether we had medicated him the difference was so dramatic. My parents and husband thought it was a coincidence and it would wear off, placebo effect but it didn’t. Within a fortnight my husband was telling everyone who would listen that EVERYONE should be on failsafe. If my husband can be a convert there is hope for everyone! Hang in there, you are not defeated yet! We are mad of stronger stuff! ???? - Emma

Can I say my daughter is about as extreme as it gets. She has cerebral palsy, autism, adhd, ptsd, anxiety disorder and it is all caused by a terminal metabolic disorder that causes brain damage and significant delays. Think a child with Parkinsons and dementia. I can tell you 100% without a shadow of a doubt it will work. It may not be 100% the fix you need but if you do it to the letter you will be astounded. My concern is that if you don’t do the diet first you won’t know just how many issues are genuine and how many are food related. My daughter still needs adhd meds but we didn’t give until 3 years after starting the diet and at an incredibly low dose even now. Three years ago she was attacking us, herself, smashing her head on the floor, screaming 24/7, night terrors, impossible to toilet train, the list is endless. I’ll gladly give a testimonial to any sceptic but if it can transform my daughter it can help anyone - Charlotte

Regarding diet just explain to people that you are attempting to see if any foods or chemicals make a difference in his behaviour and schooling and could they please keep an open mind as medication is NOT a cure-all. My dd 21 was diagnosed at 5 and all anyone wanted was to either medicate or chastise me for a) believing the twaddle told to me or b) not being a good mother and keeping her in control but I was doing everything in my power to help and even when we had done everything and accepted medication it was still a struggle to find the right meds and dosage. I found out about this food change and decided to try it and was knocked down by everyone until at the wake for her g.g.grandmother my hubby asked me to allow his Nan and her sister to feed her whatever they wanted to try to ease the pain. For the next few days my child was out of control in ways she hadn’t been in a very long time and he was shocked and soon was on-board. It wasn’t easy to help her and we still didn’t get a "normal" child but she is who she is and I taught her to be the best she can be. Every small step is a step in the right direction so praise him when he can finally do something he couldn’t before even if it is not perfect eg dd would pick up her foot and wobble or fall over, after years of Karate class I realised she was standing on one foot for 10 secs without wobbling and this was a huge achievement for her and something to be praised and her Sensei felt the same as he taught many alphabet kids and others with specific needs and each small achievement was praised to encourage them to continue stepping forward. You are his advocate and you have to be the mumma bear to protect him from everyone who only wants to knock him down or just doesn’t understand - Adele

FINAL WORD 6 WEEKS LATER: Thank you all for your wonderful comments and encouragement. We did the strict elimination for just under 3 weeks, but have moved onto a more additive and preservative free lifestyle. It was really difficult as my son pretty much starved himself the whole time (wouldn't eat lunch or dinners and would only eat the snack foods), so his behaviour at school actually got worse as he was hungry. The lack of food was also a concern for us as he is currently sitting on the 5th percentile for height and weight. We ended up starting medication last week and his teacher has noted that his concentration & focus (which was always are main concern) has improved dramatically. I think the combination of medication and correct diet is what he needs – Sam

Every time I catch up with my parents they go on about how much this diet is depressing them and they can't wait till it's all over. It's really wearing me down. I'm trying to pack meals when I go there as they watch the kids when I work once a week, but they keep getting stuck with snacks and kids saying they're hungry - any advice to get through this? – J

Give the GRANDPARENTS some appropriate treats - few packs of musk sticks, pear lollipops and marshmallows will give them something safe to 'sneak' to the kids, so they can maintain their special grandparently relationship without feeling tied down to the boring foods you provide for those days. Also, invite them to watch the DVD, perhaps, and explain that this is a testing process, not a diet for life. The stricter you can all be, the quicker you will get them through the process - Steph

Do what Steph said, then say to them, “I know it is, and I really appreciate your support. It means a lot” - Rachael

My mum was the same as it was in her nature to feed and spoil him and she was finding it hard. Now she has a stash of stuff in the cupboard like Aldi cream water biscuits, various failsafe Arnotts biscuits including shortbread cream, failsafe chips, Sakata rice crackers, Milkybar chocolate. When he goes there they bake cupcakes together and she lets him lick the bowl etc. I make a point of not letting him lick the bowl at home because he thinks it is funny and special to tell me Oma let him do it at her house. It sucked at first but now it is no big deal and they have their little things they do together - Fran

I'd say “know it's hard, I do it 7 days a week. So hopefully you can see how important it is to me!” - Kathy

After trying the nice approach and some family members completely disregarding my requests and disrespecting me as mum, I just blatantly said nope sorry you can't be alone with my kids. They were shocked and defensive and I said I can't trust you and I don't want people I can't trust to be in charge of my kids. They changed their tune pretty quickly and have never once had an issue since. It isn't my job to be delicate in fear of hurting people’s feelings, it's my job to do what's best for my kids and I take that pretty seriously. Many might disagree but this was pretty crucial for us - Ash

After challenges my mum had dd for the weekend once and gave her 160b... twice. I’ve honestly never had a problem with mum complying with any and all dietary requests since then - Rachael

Hubby thought I was ridiculous until he saw Jekyll and Hyde first hand ???? - Christina

Hubby has his own story. I’m not sure he really believed her “issues” were really worth dealing with. So much of her behaviour was written off by well-meaning family as “just being a kid” and me expecting too much. But it worried me that she couldn’t be still and couldn’t maintain eye contact. Hubby went along with my crazy requests and made it through elimination and sals challenge but his heart wasn’t in it so we had “a week off” after sals challenge. Nothing crazy - no additives or take away. Just good, “healthy” home cooked food. The final morning as dd was rocking in front of the fireplace unable to gather enough cognitive function to put her own socks on hubby walked over to the kitchen, removed the chocolate muffin from her lunchbox and replaced it with a pear muffin from the freezer. That’s when I knew he was really on board. Some people just have to see it for themselves - Rachael  again


That could have been my son you were talking about in [1497]. The food aversions, ADHD symptoms, climbing, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) etc. I took EVERYTHING out of the house and went super strict and said he could have anything he wanted any time he wanted, and that really helped. To be honest he lived on white rice and crackers for days. After the withdrawals, he blew me away and was willing to eat things like never before. I went DF and GF as well but didn't actually think he would react to them. BOTH were huge issues. Dairy was sleep issues and severe sensory problems. Gluten severe constipation and oppositional defiance. He had negative serology for coeliac disease (CD) but presents with symptoms, and just 2 weeks ago his grandmother was accidentally diagnosed with CD via scope for something totally unrelated so family history is there. Amines were our biggest problem by far. There is light at the end of the rainbow, though. We did this over 18 months ago and he (although diagnosed ASD / SPD) is SO functional and thriving, and tolerating more and more by the week. He pretty much eats as we eat now, although additives and gluten will be a forever no no for us - Ash

I first brought Fed Up in 1999, it changed our lives! My first son was like a eczema-covered cyclone, he was looking like being medicated for adhd as a toddler. Within months of starting the elimination diet and realizing he was extremely reactive to food chemicals I had a different kid, one that could concentrate. Although we had lots of time in the principal’s office in his early primary years he excelled in school and went on to be student counsellor and was chosen for the MAPS course, his future is bright!

I am now a mother of a second child who is nearly 2 and we find ourselves in a similar situation but with sensory issues too. I have basically Dengated most kids that come into my house and avoid preservatives and additives like the plague, but am struggling with this lil guy as he has unknown allergies, breathing issues, food refusal/aversion, dysphagia, aspiration with solids and liquids and is suspected of OA/TOF (waiting assessment for bronchoscopy). He will only eat a few foods and is on only puree's for aspiration now. He has feeding clinic on Monday so I'm updating my knowledge of failsafe/dengate in the hope the dietician can be mindful that this worked for my sons extreme activity and hopefully can help my lil guy now. Just wanted to say a big THANK U to Sue for sharing her knowledge all these years and how she has changed so many families lives for the better, we are definitely one of them xxxx - Jo

I have had hives for 10 weeks. Following a strict failsafe diet, hives were down to 5-10 daily, no itch, then had two panadol for a headache before bed. Bam! 60+ red itchy weals in the morning. Hadn't checked the panamax packet ... checked: potassium sorbate (preservative 202) - Alicia

We've been doing this diet for 3 months now and I'm amazed to see a massive improvement in both my sons' behaviours. My 4yr old was displaying ADHD and "gifted" bad behaviour at home and school, and has since been more cooperative, better listening and "toned" down a number of notches, he likes the food. My 2 yr old has finally slept for 8hrs straight at night, for a week in a row, he has never slept that long in his life! I suspect salicylates (I used to give them juice, tomatoes and dried fruit every day) and too many amines (lots of cheese). I'm not keen to do the challenges for salicylates, our life is so pleasant this way now :) It is hard to explain to people how this makes so big a difference, but it works for us! Thanks for your books and resources about this, I'm recommending it to my friends and sisters! – Rachel (from 2010)

I just had a Skype consult with one of your recommended dieticians and she was awesome. Your support has been invaluable – reader

School principal took me aside and said how amazingly well my son is doing and that whatever I am doing to keep it up because it’s working. Can’t wait for next term’s success – Megan

This is a great article. Love seeing the real life testimonies. The brochure is such a great resource. I came across it years ago and have never looked back. I now educate many on the harmful additives this brochure lists. Many lives are being changed by this information. Thank you!

Thanks for being there for those who were in the dark struggling in the early years - you & Sue were a god-send and helped so many. Thank you so very much for your dedication - Maggie

Hi all, my daughter was put on the elimination diet for salicylates and amines and I thought I’d be supportive and do it with her. Well it seems that I am more intolerant than her. Who knew that was the cause of my body pain. Thought I just got a sore tongue when I ate the wrong thing. Anyway, I’m just wondering what other common symptoms there are for a middle age lady? - Julie

I have found things like joint pain, headaches and mood swings have been big changes for me. Also things like PMS are now almost non-existent. I too did the whole thing for the kids and just felt like it would be easier to do it as a whole household rather than them and us. So glad I have found out what I have. Really life changing - June

It is definitely life changing. I’ve actually just done a really hard hike this morning that I would never been able to do before this ???? – Julie again

For me it has been joint pain, respiratory issues, insomnia, restless legs, hives, psoriasis - Cate

Fatigue, anxiety and racing thoughts - Di

I definitely have less fatigue. Thanks ???? – Julie again

Yes for fatigue too. Extreme irritability and likely to lose it and scream at hubby or kids, especially when connected to pms. Migraines - Margie

Nearly everything that was ever wrong with me! Main things being headaches & muscle tension, fatigue, brain fog, irritability. Things that I just thought were normal part of being a human were actually related to food I was eating. Was quite a breakthrough to discover the headaches I'd been getting, sometimes weekly, for over 15 years were caused by amines. When our council chlorinated our water supply two months ago the exact same headache and muscle tension came back. As at that stage I couldn't taste or smell it I was a bit mystified to what it was. Then I remembered that the week prior was the week they were going to start adding the chlorine, and it all made sense! - Rose

Fatigue, insomnia, eczema and other rashes, joint pain, menstrual cramps and pmt all reduced or disappeared here - Stephanie

Gluten can make you have joint stiffness and pain too. Salicylates can cause ringing in your ears and deafness, rashes and itching. Amines can make you irritable and agro - Glenda

I found, much to my amazement last summer that a low salicylate and low histamine diet made my hay fever completely disappear. This was quite groundbreaking for me, as this has been the bane of my life as long as I can remember – I grew up on a farm. The thing to remember is that symptoms can vary from person to person, i.e. the symptoms I get from salicylates might be quite different to yours. That's why it's important to do the challenges, to find out how you react to each different chemical - Rose again

All my menopause symptoms disappeared in two weeks after I went on an elimination diet - Marie

I'm another parent who discovered it by accident when doing elimination as a family: arthritis, insomnia, irritability, headache or neck stiffness, eczema on shins, brain fog - Emma

Your biggest clue as to what is caused by the food intolerance will be when you do the challenges. You’ll probably notice the return of things you hadn’t realised had stopped - Tracy

I’m able to be so much more active now it’s incredible. I actually feel like I’m going to be able to grow old happily. ???? – Julie again

I hear ya! Same with me... my son is better off than me, in terms of how many things he's sensitive to. We're not long on this journey, it's getting easier...my symptoms are crazy joint pain, sore tongue , IBS symptoms, headaches. So exciting to understand why after a lifetime of these things but a pain in the bum too! – Sue

I used to go to bed after eating marmite on toast and a cup of tea cleaned my teeth with Colgate toothpaste and would be terribly itchy and moody and wake up with stomach cramps and sweating in the early hours wondering if I had a stomach bug. It took me a while to realise! - Serena

Just changed my toothpaste and my nose isn’t running nearly as much ???? didn’t realise it would make such a difference – Julie again (see Toothpaste factsheet).

I get tremors quite a bit, as well as other symptoms – Denise

This is fascinating! I did salicylate elimination diet with my son and my monthly mood swings, depression headaches & period pain (I used to take 8 painkillers a day!) disappeared completely! -Claire

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

For more about PMS and period pain improving on failsafe, see Women's health and diet

Adult content following:

I just wanted to thank those who created this diet and have got it to the point where people in other countries can hear about it & implement and follow it. 1.5 years ago I started the elimination diet and the first few months were hellish withdrawing and finding out the other foods I was reacting to. I couldn't face challenges and was extremely sensitive. Now I'm finally at a point where I'm less reactive (still very reactive but I will be able to cope) I've tried a handful of items recently and have come up with a very strong conclusion, that it is because of amines that I struggled with my mental health and was suicidal for years. In the last month I have tried two amines that I haven't had in a long time, one a glass of wine and was depressed the next day for a few days and then last night I had maybe 50-100g of dark chocolate and woke up with a pounding headache, all my pressure points screaming, so much muscle pain and again suicidal thoughts. The amines are a very visible link which puts like a helmet over my head and makes me incredibly miserable -my head gets pressurised and depression sets in like it never left, but then I can ride the reaction out and get control over my thoughts once I take the amines away. It is truly amazing.

If anyone knows anyone struggling with their mental health I would recommend failsafe to them (as long as they are in a safe place to do so, because the withdrawals are rough) because I used to not want to live, and I had felt that way for over ten years but now I have so much to live for even when I have had a couple of amine hiccups.

Feel free to share on website. I've never been someone to hide away with talk about mental health cos there are so many people that struggle and are far too scared to talk that I just want them to know it's ok, they're ok and things can get better even if it means you have to spend over a year on the elimination stage of the diet – Lauren

See factsheet on depresssion

See factsheet on suicide prevention by diet

How have I coped? I came on to this group every few months or so and threw a tantrum, got it out my system, got lots of cyber hugs from other mums who understood and then tucked myself in and soldiered on, determined to do my best.

It’s worth remembering - we do the best we can with the physical, emotional, financial and knowledge resources that we have at the time. I didn’t identify my daughter’s issues until she was 7! I’d had patient friends gently suggesting failsafe to me for at least 2 years.

The other thing to remember is that with anything like this you gain something and you lose something. You have to weigh up what you gain and what you lose. So, for my daughter who is now nearly 13, she just went on school camp and we did not restrict her diet at all. She ate what everyone else ate.

What we had to gain: social stuff - friendships, inclusiveness, being seen as somewhat normal (not the weird kid who can’t eat stuff).

What we had to lose... she’s been vague, off with the fairies, loud, hyperactive and annoying since she got back Wednesday. But she now has the weekend and she has 2 days off next tue/wed. She had nothing important coming up at school or anything like that.

What she gained outweighed what she lost in our opinion. But her reactions are mild enough that we have that option. I don’t know what your daughter’s reactions are or how severe. Reactions can be dose dependant too so we allow some sals and put up with some vagueness but we don’t go all out all the time. My youngest can’t have dairy and gluten and her reaction is diarrhoea. That one we are far more strict on because she actually suffers. – Rachael

Day 5 today and we’ve been super strict. We noticed a difference in my son by the afternoon of day 2, day 3 he was a different child and day 4 amazing, incredible, omg!! Today we had a really good day but I did notice he was more hyper than usual, his eczema has shown up and he did have a few old grumpy moments where I worried we were teetering on the edge..though he is recovering way better from his usual reactions. The frequency, and intensity is far better as is his ability to self regulate. He also expressed that he was ‘feeling a bit grumpy today’.

A few wins

1-    he tried Brussel sprouts/mayo and kidney bean dip and liked them all, in fact he’s told me all the food has been amazing and they’re the best dinners of his life (ordinarily he would not even try them)
2-    he dropped a LEGO structure he built and said “oh well, guess I have to make it again”. My requests have been met with “ok mum” (shocked)
3-    he was offered a lollipop at the hair dresser and he said no thanks I can’t have that.  ????
4-    he hasn’t had a wet nappy once when usually he still needed a pull up at night multiple times.
5-    absolutely no nasal congestion or hay fever symptoms.

So what I’m waiting for are the withdrawals that I’ve been hearing of. I’m super worried because it’s seriously been amazing having a sense of calm. Does everyone have them? Is it usual to be amazing then go in to a spiral? How bad should I be expecting and for how long? Is it usual that his eczema would flare up?

Pictures: the dinner he helped me make tonight. Every single step he had a part in. It used to be our thing, but for several months he hasn’t been interested in helping me at all. – Karla

1490karla1     1490karla2

I have had an adverse reaction to orange food coloring for more than 20 years.  After having episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, cold sweats and fainting for one year, I narrowed it down to foods that were artificially colored orange.  Avoiding artificial orange food coloring lessened the frequency of these episodes, but I continued to have them.  A friend suggested that Annatto might be the culprit.  I have closely monitored ingredient labels since, and have greatly reduced the number of these episodes.  If a product lists "and natural flavors," I put it back on the shelf.  A beta blocker was prescribed by my doctor to keep my heart rate in check, and the fainting has not occurred since - Jeanette (USA).

I am 55 yr old male, usually very fit and active. I've been a competitive cyclist for the past 25 years. I have drunk red wine four out of every seven nights of the week for 30 years and on two nights a week I might drink a couple of beers or some white wine. I usually drink French reds or sometimes Italian (I do believe that some wines don't contain sulfites).

I've noticed on several occasions that after Pinot Grigio and some other whites and after certain beers that I would get heart palpitations similar to what you describe - very uncomfortable and even more frightening, even wondering if I would wake up dead the following morning.

Recently my palpitations have continued 24 hrs a day for the past four weeks. I went to a cardiologist and he told me I had arrythmia and went through the options.

I decided to experiment and cut out wine and beer altogether for a week. I started to feel better and tried small doses of French red wine which seemed to have no effect. Then I tried some white and the palpitations came back.

Two days ago I bought some cider (in the USA) and I've drunk two bottles a day for three days. I noticed at the time that it contains sulfites and subsequently my palpitations have reared up again.

Doctors and popular opinion just tell you to cut out alcohol, but I don't think it is the alchol at all. I don't think it's related to the colour of the wine either, but purely to the amount of sulfites it contains.

I will now be looking to eliminate sulfites altogether from my diet - Carl (USA)

UPDATE several days later: That American cider was the worst. After three days of feeling awful I drank four small glasses of a nice Cotes du Rhone last night and woke up feeling fine. I try to stick to a lot of French produce - the list of ingredients on American foods reads like a chemistry lab inventory!

I have multiple chemical and food intolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. I've been on the low chemical diet for many many years - makes a huge difference to my fibromyalgia and also to CFS brain fog.

I just wanted to let you know that I do not find SLS* a safe chemical. If I have toothpaste that contains it, I immediately get lots of mouth ulcers. If I wash my hair with a product that contains it I get a very itchy scalp that gradually worsens the longer I use it. 

Some of the products that are similar to SLS but that are considered safer than SLS also cause me problems, only not as severe. The only one shampoo I'm coping with now is Ego QV gentle hair shampoo. The only toothpaste I've found that I tolerate is Weleda Calendula toothpaste. I'm not sure the calendula is safe, but it smells pretty mild and I don't notice an increase in my symptoms after using it. It is fluoride free. - Lesley

*sodium lauryl sulphate, used to turn liquids into a foam in things like toothpaste, body wash, soaps and detergents. See separate blog post Do you know the difference? - sulphites or sulphates, SLS or SLES

Diet is so worth it. My dd8 is such a calm lovely girl. Her teachers have no issues with her behavior even though she has adhd. She is on ritalin but it just helps with her concentration- everything else is covered by diet. She has another child in her class who also has adhd and is on ritalin- but he has such huge come downs and displays such problematic behavior. That would have been my daughter if it wasn't for this diet. I even forgot to give her ritalin one day last week and no one even noticed. My dd also reacts to dairy so if the diet doesn't do everything you need then gluten and dairy are worth looking at too – Tania

Kids and stuttering- I've started to notice when my nearly 5 year old is having a reaction her stutter is terrible then in between times it's almost gone. Is this common? - Renee

I have a daughter that is 11 and the stuttering def escalates when we are not careful with her diet - Michelle

When my son (9) has had an overload... we notice he seems like he has Tourette's syndrome. He repeats words twice, swears like a trucker & comes out with random noises!! Since being on this diet, I've not seen this behaviour - Madonna

My son used to make continual noises over and over - we especially notice it's return when he had antioxidant 320 - Teresa

My son had a severe stutter for 2 years or more, it would get better for a while, then re-appear. When we started the first steps recommended on the fed-up website, his stutter disappeared within a few days and hasn't returned. It's been 7 months now. He's 5 - Marion

See also blog on stuttering


I last a couple of months before I start having asthma attacks. I have symptoms all the way through ie earaches and some sore throats and more wheezy - Ruth

I recently went off for about a month. The headaches and shortness of breath returned with a vengeance. Now I'm back to only moderate sals occasionally and feeling much better - Kim

I went off as I am not salicylate sensitive & just wasn’t thinking, was off for a few months, now I’m back on as I’m having severe reactions to amines - Kate

I cheated once and was affected immediately and for 3 months. Never again!!!! It all depends how sensitive you are – Jen

I went off it, had a couple reactions to things like ham over a few weeks and then was fine to eat everything. I was only on the diet for my babies - Nik

If I cheat I feel sick within an hour - Sally

As far as I am aware failsafe/elimination diet is a diagnostic tool it isn't something to live on forever, the slow reintroduction of things is tedious but important, perhaps also other things need to be looked at - Gemma

Once I knew our triggers, we introduced everything else and live happily enough with that.  If we went back to our previous 'normal' diet, we would see the effects within hours - Stephanie

We got REALLY sick of it by the time we finished our sals challenge and decided maybe dd wasn’t so bad after all so decided to give her a week or so off. I still remember her sitting on the tiles in front of the heater, 7 years old, rocking, unable to dress herself for school. My skeptic hubby went over to the kitchen and removed the chocolate muffin in her lunch and replaced it with a pear one, and I never had a problem with him agreeing to failsafe after that. Our 7yo looked like she was drugged. That reaction was after about 3 days and was a combination of reactions. But some of our reactions are within an hour (160b for example) - Rachel

Does anyone else have a problem with gluten intolerance and mood? My step daughter is being a moody salty little thing, so nasty to everyone lately. The only thing we've changed is reintroduced gluten back into her diet. When we stopped gluten due to eczema before, her mood improved and we had a happier less cranky girl. Has anyone else experienced this or was it coincidental and I'm grasping at straws this time? – Carmen

Huge connection for my son – Amy

My son is ODD on gluten. He is FOUL!!! - Ann

Not coincidental at all. We had gluten last weekend and had 3 days of tantrums and meltdowns. My child normally never has a tantrum - Jessica

Yes! Me! I’m usually so easy going but when I have it have a short fuse and can’t help it. I know how I am acting at the time but it’s so hard to control. It’s really not worth it for me. I feel horrible afterwards - Fiona

Yes, for DS (darling son) and DH (darling husband). But it isn't gluten as such, it's wheat that is a problem. They are fine with spelt - Stephanie

It absolutely effects mood for me, my daughter and little son - Mandy

Gluten, and especially salicylates, will make me impatient and irritable. They also interfere with my sleep, so it may go back to that - Rachel

Look at propionic acid and propionates as another culprit, a bread preservative now hidden as ‘cultured dextrose’ etc in many industrialized and prepackaged gluten products - Nancy (see more at https://fedup.com.au/news/blog/caution-cultured-dextrose)

Massive connection between gluten and mood here - Eve

It was probably a combination of the terrible sleep and the gluten but we challenged it with my 1yo on Sunday. He was incredibly hard work yesterday. He only had it via my breastmilk too - Diane

Gluten makes me feel really flat and angry - Heather

Gluten and Amines for my son! - Tania

My daughter has mood issues with gluten - Kiely

Yes both myself and my daughter many foods make her very emotional and cranky - Renee

Reading these comments I just had an aha moment thanks guys. Recently tried reintroducing gluten, my DS was very moody for a few weeks....will challenge wheat only next I think ! Moodiness wasn’t on my radar as a food reaction for us as we hadn’t encountered it in the past - Rebecca

I've always had a problem with gluten. I was diagnosed as Coeliac in March last year. 15 kilos and no gallbladder later, plus gluten-free diet, and I'm finally feeling a bit more human -  Susan

Don’t forget that wholegrains can cause reactions for some people that can tolerate gluten – Teresa (see more https://fedup.com.au/information/support/checklist-of-common-mistakes#wholemeal)

Gluten makes us very cranky and moody - Emma

Same here. I'm a horrible person with wheat. The mood swings are epic. When your daughter cut gluten out did she have major withdrawals? - Skye

I can vouch for food & mood being connected with both gluten & dairy, or more specifically lactose. Definitely not the same with each of my boys thoug. I firmly believe food intolerance can impact on behaviour - Nicky

I’m a moody cow when I eat wheat more than once every few weeks - Tessa

My DS gets moody and argumentative on gluten. As you can see by all the comments you are not grasping at straws. Well done for observing the changes and checking in with the group – Narelle

Gluten, (Sals, Amines, dairy) is a problem for us but small amounts is OK. My DD8 seems to tolerate much more things these days after two years on the diet – Pat

(Be aware that some of those reporting above may be reacting to the bread preservative calcium propionate 282, sometimes hidden as 'cultured dextrose' or 'cultured' anything – including ‘cultured wheat flour’ –saw that last week in Helga’s traditional wholemeal with ‘no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives’. See also factsheet Dairy, wheat and gluten – do I need to avoid?)

For the last 15 years I have known of intolerances and have battled the hives itch swelling of airways and face with little help from the medical profession. I have the book "Friendly Food”and  have tried half half-heartedly to follow the diet but never with help … A recent doctor’s visit introduced me to your web site. It is wonderful. I finally feel that I am not the only one - Ann

Salicylates, amines and glutamates cause me behavioural problems and very loose (liquid) stools. Since Oct 2017, I have consistently formed solid stools. I can't remember ever having done so in all my life. I think that it is due to accumulated time spent on RPAH Strict Elimination Diet. I began the RPAH Strict Elimination Diet properly Jan 2015 with one of the recommended dietitians. Previously, I had been doing the RPAH Strict Elimination Diet with many errors. I began Jan 2015 with 9 different foods (7 nutritionally different foods). Now I eat 33 nutritionally different foods (all still on RPAH Strict Elimination Diet). I am at present the strongest that I have been in all my life. I did my record on the bench press at the gym 6/2/18. - Sam


“Keep up the absolutely fantastic work, you will be vindicated and become a mythical hero in the future (she-who-fought-the-beast-before-we-even-knew-it-was-there) ;-)” – Roman (2008)

“Sue, I'm sure you have felt many times over the years that you are a quiet voice speaking against a loud majority, but I think we are slowly getting louder too!” – Veronica (2009)

“We started failsafe eating several years ago after going to the pharmacist with a script for Ritalin for my son. The pharmacist refused to fill it. He said 'for oppositional defiance, you need to read this book and look at food'.  It changed our lives" – Shane (2012)

“I can only say that without your help, I had no idea where to turn.  The professional field let me down big time “ – Sharon (2012)

“The incredibly positive feedback I am getting from parents is what keeps me handing out your brochures” ­ - speech pathologist (2012)

“Your friendship, information, help and most of all, support, have been invaluable in keeping my beautiful daughter alive. Thank you both so very, very much” – Sharyn (2013)

“Our paediatrician said 'keep on following Sue Dengate, what a marvellous thing she has been doing and helping children'” - facebook group (2013)

"Ten years ago the teachers and doctors wanted to medicate our daughter for ADHD ... Last year she graduated high school with one of the highest scores which guaranteed her entry into top universities. Everyone comments on how polite and engaging she is as a teenager. My advice to those starting the failsafe journey ... hang in there ... the rewards are well worth the effort." – D (2013)

“Our kids don't have food intolerances, they just don't tolerate all the crap” – Suzanne (2014)

“I continue to enjoy my amazing health turnaround since discovering salicylates” - Dave (2015)

“This has been the most life changing thing we have ever done” - Janette (2015)

“It’s difficult but also the best thing you’ll ever do” – Sally (2017).

More Articles ...

  1. [1479] Four brief reports on joint pain and arthritis (February 2018)
  2. [1478] Changed sense of smell with failsafe (February 2018)
  3. [1477] Tinnitus responses from Facebook page (February 2018)
  4. [1476] One-liners (January 2018)
  5. [1475] “Don’t underestimate what time can do” (January 2018) COURAGE AWARD
  6. [1474] 160b annatto: Allergic and food intolerance reactions (January 2018)
  7. [1473] Avoidance of salicylates has put me into remission for ulcerative colitis (January 2018)
  8. [1472] ADHD: “the results that can be achieved with just removing food “ (January 2018)
  9. [1471] 160b Annatto: Terrible headaches for days (January 2018)
  10. [1470] Reactive Hypoglycaemia (January 2018)
  11. [1469] 160b annatto: true allergic reaction to many USA foods over many years (December 2017)
  12. [1468] 160b annatto: “I hate this dye and what it did to my son” (December 2017)
  13. [1467] Amines in supermarket meat (December 2017)
  14. [1466] 200: Burning mouth syndrome due to preservative potassium sorbate 202 (December 2017)
  15. [1465] One-liners (November 2017)
  16. [1464] Diet for sleep and anxiety issues- facebook thread (September 2017)
  17. [1463] Perfumes "a nightmare" (September 2017)
  18. [1462] "I'm sensitive to all smells" (September 2017)
  19. [1461] Salicylate sensitivity triggered by medication? - "a truckload" of berries and other high salicylate foods (September 2017)
  20. [1460] Salicylates in medication: so many doctors do not take salicylates seriously (August 2017)
  21. [1459] "assumed on a gluten free dairy free diet they are only eating good food ..." (August 2017)
  22. [1458] Salicylates in white willow bark and vertigo (August 2017)
  23. [1457] Amines: a lighter look in dialogue (August 2017)
  24. [1456] Adults too (August 2017)
  25. [1455] 635: “severe rash with blisters” (August 2017)