Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

March 1999


FAILSAFE (formerly the Dietpage) supports families using the low-chemical elimination diet recommended by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital - free of additives, low in salicylates, amines and flavour enhancers - for health, behaviour and learning problems.





• oppositional defiant disorder

• arthritis

• the 2% myth

• loud voice (megaphonia)

Readers' stories:

• product warnings (sausages, thick shakes, beans, vitamins) & recommendations (chips, shortbread, soy oil)

Cooks Corner: - mayonnaise, gluten free bread

Failsafe is now available free by email. Just send your email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

- Sue Dengate, editor


Oppositional Defiant Disorder


Children with oppositional defiance like to say 'no'. They display a pattern of negative, hostile and defiant behaviour lasting at least six months and including at least four of the following

• losing temper

• arguing with adults

• refusing adult requests or defying rules

• deliberately annoying other people

• blaming others for his or her own mistakes

• touchy or easily annoyed

• angry and resentful

About 5% of all children are thought to have ODD, including one quarter of ADHD children. Doctors and psychiatrists say the cause is unknown, although it appears to run in families. Medication has little effect.

Medication has little effect. A slow, systematic behavioural approach (avoid confrontations, avoid arguments, don't back these children into a corner, offer options, be calm and positive) is the recommended approach, but has limited success. ODD is a disorder of interaction - that is, when life is good the child is good but overreaction can occur in a negative situation. Hostile, confrontational parenting or teaching styles can increase the extent of ODD.

Irritability is the core feature of ODD. Since irritability is also the main behavioural feature found to be affected by diet, a 3-week trial of dietary management makes sense for these children while they are young and parents still have control over what they eat. As it is common for parents to report that their children are more amenable to discipline when using dietary management, behaviour management is likely to be more effective when combined with diet.




Do foods affect arthritis? Doctors say no. Our readers don't agree.

A man who suffered from arthritis for 30 years before he learned about the elimination diet discovered that his arthritis was badly affected by salicylates. He writes:

• 'If you think that the time span of the food effects on children and their behaviour is long you should try solving the rheumatic and inflammatory disease problem. You are looking at an abstinence time of up to 12 weeks before testing, symptoms that could take more than a week to identify, and testing that could take four months or more to complete. I am still improving after two and a half years on low chemical foods. NOTHING will make me eat the foods I once loved so much.' ...

• He adds 'Rosemary Stanton wrote in a Woolworth's food pamphlet "... there is no truth in the rumour that people with arthritis should not eat tomatoes" - like hell there isn't!'


The 2% Myth


Doctors who claim that only two per cent of children improve on diet are nearly right. It depends what they mean by 1) children and 2) diet.

Most studies investigated children with ADHD. Only two per cent of ADHD children improve on an additive-free diet. Additive-free diets alone have little effect on the majority of ADHD children because they are extra-sensitive to foods. As more foods are removed from the diet, more ADHD children improve. From 58 to 79 per cent of ADHD children improved on restricted diets which avoided more than food additives, eg. caffeine, MSG some vegetables, fruits and/or dairy foods (1,2,3,4).

Non-ADHD children "generally improved" on behaviour and learning tests on additive-free diets alone (5).

Since reactions to food additives are dose related, theoretically everyone will react if the dose is high enough (6). This was confirmed in adults eating MSG (7).




1.Kaplan B and others. (1989) 'Dietary replacement in preschool-aged hyperactive boys'. Journal of Pediatrics (83),7-17

2. Egger, J and others. (1985) 'Controlled trial of oligoantigenic treatment in the hyperkinetic syndrome'. Lancet (1), 540-45

3. Carter CM and others (1993) 'Effects of a few food diet in attention deficit disorder'. Archives of Disease in Childhood, (69), 564-568.

4. Boris, M. and Mandel, F. (1994) 'Food additives are common causes of the Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder in children'. Annals of Allergy (72:5), 462-468.

5. Wolraich, M.L. and others (1994) Effects of diets high in sucrose or aspartame on the behavioural and cognitive performances of children. New England Journal of Medicine (330:5), 301-307.

6. Weiss, B. (1983) The behavioural toxicity of food additives. Nutrition Update (1), 21-37.

7. Schaumberg, H. H. and others (1969) 'Monosodium L-Glutamate: its pharmacology and role in the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome', Science 163; 826-828


Loud voice


If you think children are getting louder, maybe it's because they are. Parents often describe their children as having "no volume control".

Technically called megaphonia, this condition frequently improves on the elimination diet. People who are very food sensitive can experience variations from too soft to too loud depending on the food chemical. One woman described her reaction to a build up of antioxidants (310-321) as "I get so tired, I don't even have the energy to get my voice out, and it comes out too soft". When she eats food colours or salicylates, people tell her she is too loud.

Readers' comments

Every day we receive reports from families whose children (and adults) have improved following a change of diet.

• 'We are witnessing immediate results in a 3½ year old grandson as one of our daughters implements a watchful discipline on eating habits as a result of reading 'Fed Up'.

• 'my sister said what you are saying in your book makes more sense than all the doctors that they have wasted their time and money with over the years.'

• 'for the first time I think my autistic daughter will be able to manage in mainstream schools'

• ' Just checked out the new additions to your web page and I am impressed ... I particularly like the Stories & Opinions. When people read them it will strike a chord with them.'

More details of these and compelling longer stories at www.fedup.com.au (the internet is available at your local library).




• Fresh sausages (unless failsafe) contain sodium metabisulphite (223). This preservative is strongly associated with asthma. It has also been linked with skin rashes, irritable bowel and behaviour problems in children.

• the "sugar" listed in Master Foods bean mixes could be glucose, which may therefore contain gluten.

• MVM vitamins for children contain "new natural strawberry flavour" which is very high in natural salicylates and therefore not failsafe..



Q. Do you know what is in MacDonald's vanilla thick shakes? My husband let my son have one last night while shopping. What a mistake, I have had the old [pre-diet] behaviour back for the last 24 hours.


A. Ingredients in MacDonald's vanilla thick shakes: "Shake mix: whole milk, sugar, skim milk powder, cream, carrageenan gum (407), guar gum (412), vegetable gum (466), mineral salt (450c), water added. vanilla shake syrup: sugar, glucose syrup, flavour, caramel colour (150), sodium benzoate (211), citric acid (330), water added."

The ingredient most likely to affect your child is the preservative sodium benzoate (211). One study found that more children with behaviour problems were affected by this than any other food additive, including food colours.


Product recommendations

• Birds Eye Canola Steakhouse cut oven bake chips, ingredients: "potatoes, canola oil, dextrose no artificial flavours colours or preservatives" - and no hidden antioxidants in the canola oil - we checked on the free call consumer line. These can be baked in the oven in 20-25 minutes, or grilled in a few minutes. Also recommended by the National Heart Foundation because they contain less than 1% saturated fat.

• Mrs Jolley's "Petticoat Tails" traditional shortbread biscuits from Lumsden, NZ.

• Good news for New Zealanders: you should be able to buy cold-pressed soy oil, which is failsafe, from your health food store. Do not use cold-pressed olive oil as recommended by one support group as it is very high in salicylates.


Cooks' corner




An easy-to-make, delicious mayonnaise which really works:

¼ cup maize cornflour

3 tsp citric acid

1 tsp salt

½ cup sugar

1¼ cups water

2 eggs

175 ml canola oil

Cook together cornflour, citric acid, salt, sugar and water. When thickened, pour into blender and while whizzing add eggs and drizzle in canola oil. Keeps well in refrigerator for approximately two weeks. - Robin Fisher



Gluten-free breads need only one rising. Make sure the ingredients are well mixed by hand or with a mixmaster dough hook. Guar gum (412) or xanthan gum (415) from health food stores replace the function of gluten in baked goods. Choose xanthan gum if diarrhoea is a problem.


Dry ingredients


3 cups (375 g) rice flour

½ cup maize cornflour

2/3 tblsp guar gum or xanthan gum

2 tblsp sugar

1 teasp salt

2 teasp yeast


Wet ingredients


300 ml lukewarm water (at blood heat, not hot)

2 tblsp oil

2 eggs

Add yeast and sugar to lukewarm water. Mix together remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together remaining wet ingredients in a small bowl and add yeast mixture. Tip the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix really well. If mixing by hand, turn out on a rice-floured board and knead briefly until you have a firm, elastic dough.

• Put into a loaf tin (eg for date loaves) or the bread pan of your breadmaker. If using an old breadmaker, leave out the kneading tool. Otherwise, program the breadmaker to skip the kneading phase. Squash down well to remove air bubbles, and smooth the top.

• Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

• Bake in a 200°C oven for 30 minutes or bake in breadmaker as for a normal loaf..


This is a slightly heavier loaf than normal white bread, but unlike some glutenfree loaves, slices really thin for sandwiches, and makes good toast. Freezes well (slice before freezing). - Margie Cole




This newsletter available free by email from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by mail for $10 per year from PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804. Thanks to Margie Turner, Ashley, Kerry, Gwen Higgins, Deborah Halliwell, Robyn Bailey, Susan Bull and readers for reports. © Sue Dengate (text), Joanne van Os (rats) Further reading: "The Simplified Elimination Diet" from dietitians, Fed Up by Sue Dengate Random House, 1998 and Friendly Food, by Swain and others, Murdoch Books, 1991.