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Re: Diet

Postby Sue Luscombe on Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:18 pm

Hi formads16,

It is really hard as a parent watching our children struggle so much and feeling helpless to really help them. I experienced exactly the same when our daughter was 16. There are so many things going on it must be hard to know where to begin. So let’s start with the gut symptoms.

As Irritable Bowel Syndrome has been diagnosed by your gastroenterologist, it would be worth asking your doctor for a referral to see a dietitian. (A dietitian is an unbiased, evidence-based nutrition expert to help with diet treatments for medical conditions). It can be confusing to know what the differences are between a dietitian and nutritionist. This link will explain http://www.bda.uk.com/publications/diet ... ionist.pdf

A dietitian would be able to do a full assessment, including whether your daughter is growing properly and whether she is having an adequate nutritional intake for her age. There may be scope to help the IBS with simple diet and lifestyle changes or other diet approaches may be suggested depending on her particular predominant gut symptoms. You might like to read this food facts sheet on IBS from the British Dietetic Association http://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/IBSfoodfacts.pdf

Your gastroenterologist is correct in saying that there is no evidence in the leaky gut approach. However there is evidence from good quality research that a new diet approach that can help with IBS called the Low FODMAP diet. A dietitian will always advise you if this was appropriate for your daughter. Only dietitians are trained to see people for this diet approach.

Unfortunately taking iron supplements orally is often poorly tolerated - ask your pharmacist to recommend ones that may be better tolerated as they have more experience. You can also try and make sure she eats more iron-rich foods like red meat, liver, egg, fortified breakfast cereals, and. together with Vitamin C rich foods such as fruit and veg, will help the iron absorption.

With sugar dips it helps to eat little and often, trying to avoid sugary drinks and high sugar foods. So having snacks may well be significant. Some people find drinking coffee causes headaches; others that it helps. Sometimes if you are unsure a trial of 2-4 weeks with avoiding coffee and then reintroducing it might give the answer as to what is best for your daughter.

Finally I would be very concerned about the impact of very restrictive diets such as the stone age diet for teenagers with CFS at a time when life is so tough for them with all the isolation and hardship of their illness.
Sue Luscombe
Specialist Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant - R.D.
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