Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network of Australia

October 1999


FAILSAFE 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.

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.




• School tuckshop bans

• Irritable Bowel Syndrome

• No 1 mistake

• salicylates & sugar

Cooks Corner: red soup, gingerbread muffins


School tuckshop ban

A junior school in the UK which has leapt up the league tables attributes some of its success to a ban on crisps and fizzy drinks at the tuck shop.

Pupils at Wolney Junior school in New Addington, South London, now consume two boxes of apples, two of bananas and two crates of satsumas every week. The success rate for 11 year olds has almost trebled since the ban on unhealthy snacks two years ago.

It was brought in because of fears that artificial additives including flavourings, sweeteners and preservatives, made children hyperactive and more difficult to teach. Wolney Junior which won praise as one of the most improved schools in Greater London last year, claims that concentration levels shot up and behaviour improved when tuck shop "junk" was axed from morning break.

Peter Winder, the head teacher, said "we were very concerned that the crisps and fizzy drinks had all the E-additives. One of our teachers asked if it was possible to trial the sale of fruit in just one year group".

The trial in 1996, had immediate results. "All the teachers in the year group noticed a difference in behaviour and concentration."

The old tuck shop was scrapped in 1997. Two years on, the school was the 34th most improved school in the country. Its Key Stage Two test results in English, which were less than half the national average in 1996 with 23 per cent of pupils achieving expected levels, leapt to a 64% rate last year.

Eileen Ewin, who brought in the change and who has taught at the school for 15 years, said: "After eating tuck, the children were very hyperactive and a lot more difficult to control."

A similar story emerged from nearby Whitehorse Manor School, in Croydon, which banned its tuck shop in 1994 and introduced fruit and muesli bars a year ago. Its Key Stage Two test results have improved significantly across English, mathematics and science over the past three years.

Both schools have more than 40 per cent of pupils receiving free school meals, a poverty indicator. Both concede that other school reforms and dedicated teachers played their part.

From The London Times, Thursday 20th May 99, News page 7, story by Susie Steiner


Irritable bowel syndrome "feelings of incomplete evacuation"

Although almost unknown in traditional cultures, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to 20% of western populations. The symptoms of IBS include stomach discomfort and bloating (in medical jargon - abdominal pain and abdominal distension) and changes in bowel habits. There can also be feelings of incomplete evacuation after passing a bowel motion.

Readers report varying symptoms including "sneaky poos" in children, "my stomach feels as if I've swallowed a lead balloon", "every time I go to the toilet I need to do a poo, that's five or more times a day, but it's not watery diarrhoea", to sluggish bowel syndrome "sticky poos - very difficult to clean up". Other symptoms include nausea and urinary frequency or urgency.

The causes of IBS are not known, but are thought to include heredity, stress and diet. Triggering factors include surgery, antiobiotic treatment, infection and even sleep deprivation. In the past, the condition was thought to be psychosomatic, but doctors now acknowledge this approach may be wrong.

Another way of dealing with the problem was prescribing a high-fibre diet. This approach seems to make the problem worse in over 50% of cases. Patient education, behaviour management, counselling, relaxation therapy, hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, antidepressants, antispasmodics, antidiarrhoeals or laxatives and bulking agents such as Metamusil may be recommended by physicians. It is also now acknowledged that sufferers may be sensitive to, and should avoid certain foods.

The six food chemicals most commonly associated with IBS are MSG, salicylates, nitrates, preservatives, amines and colours.

Less commonly, avoidance of dairy products, wheat or gluten may need to be considered.


Further reading - Francis CW and Whorwelk PJ. The irritable bowel syndrome. Postgraduate Medicine. 1997;73:1-7:Loblay R.H. and Swain, A.R. (1986) 'Food intolerance'. In: Wahlqvist M.L., Truswell A.S., editors. Recent Advances in Clinical Nutrition. London: John Libbey, 169-177: Dengate S, Fed Up, Random House, 1998.


New email support group

There are now mothers from four countries in our new email discussion and support group, sharing their failsafe recipes, successes, laughs and dramas from how to obtain failsafe food and what icing sugar is called in the USA to how to change your school's policy on junk food.


To join, http://fedup.com.au/information/support/email-support-groups You will receive every message posted by group members. To contribute, press reply. How to unsubscribe details are on the foot of each message.



Sue Dengate's FAILSAFE talks


• Wollongong Saturday Oct 23 2-4pm St Bridget's Primary School Parish Room, Gipps St, Gwynneville ph 02 4229 8595

  • Sydney Sunday Oct 24 2-4pm Dougherty Community Centre, Chatswood ph 02 94112186

• Monday Oct 25 7.30 pm Sydney Uni, Holme Building (behind footbridge theatre), McCallum & Cullen Room, ph 02 95441867


• Melbourne Tuesday Oct 26, 7.30 Lady Gowrie Child Care Centre members only

• Wednesday Oct 27, 7.30 Ross House, 4th floor, Haydyn Raismith Room, 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, phone ACTIVE, 03 9650 2570

• Thursday Oct 28, 7.30 Warragul, ph 03 56232243

Readers' comments



The mistake most often made:

  • "I just realized that I have been eating canned pears in their OWN JUICE. It's not that I didn't read the label, it's back to that old 'sugar is not as healthy' that messed me up."


Other comments:

  • "We have 'Fed Up' and 'Different Kids' - wonderful!, changed our lives, took one of our kids off ADHD dexamphetamine because it's what he eats that matters!!! We have five children and two parents on variations of diet." - father of failsafe five
  • "we did the dairy challenge and guess what???? I reacted badly to it. All these years I thought I
  • had an ulcer and on the dairy again it played up something terrible. The doctor sent me for a gastroscopy and said I had no ulcer but all my stomach lining was red and inflamed. "Take these tablets" he said. I immediately thought of the dairy and went back on soy and have had no more trouble with my stomach." - failsafe mother


MORE READERS' DETAILS AND READERS STORIES at http://fedup.com.au/success-stories/current-stories

Your questions:


Q. When I told my doctor I thought foods might affect my son's behaviour she refused to refer me to a dietitian because "the jury is still out" about the effects of food.

A. Your doctor may be unaware of the following guidelines:

• "If a special diet is to be instituted [for behaviour] it should be under the careful supervision of a qualified dietitian" (1)

• "patient's request [is considered a good reason for dietary investigation since] refusal usually results in patients seeking advice from 'fringe' or unorthodox practitioners" (2)


1. National Health & Medical Research Council Report on ADHD, 1997, p82.

2. Clarke and others, The dietary management of food allergy and food intolerance in children and adults, Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 1996 53(3) 89-98.




Salicylates and sugar


There is a rumour that salicylates won't affect you if you avoid sugar. It's not true, as this reader learned ...


"I cut out all sugar in hope that my son may be able to tolerate salicylates (which really didn't impress him as he has a real sweet tooth and also loves fruit and would empty the fruit bowl in one day if I had let him).

Upon reintroducing salicylates, we realised after a few days that this would not work. His teacher also noticed......So it's back to the safety zone for us."



Cooked is best


Cooked green and yellow vegetables give you considerably more protection against heart disease and cancer than raw vegetables. Absorption of carotenoids from vegetables with tough-walled cells like carrots is about 3 or 4 per cent but if you cook and mash them, absorption increases by four or fivefold. New Scientist, 5/6/99, p25


Cooks' corner


Red soup


10 cups of water or homemade chicken stock

1 packet of red lentils (rinsed)

2 tablespoons white rice

2 swedes, peeled and chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup leeks or shallots, sliced

1 cup chopped cabbage

6 brussel sprouts, halved (optional)

Place red lentils and rice in water and bring to the boil while preparing other vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked, about 30 min (red lentils cook much more quickly than brown or green).


Gingerbread muffins


(failsafe and gluten-free dairy free)

1 cup brown rice flour

1/2 cup potato flour

1/2 cup cornflour

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp unflavoured gelatine powder

1 and 1/2 tsp GF baking power

1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 small eggs, lightly beaten

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup pear puree

1/2 cup golden syrup

3 tablespoons canola oil

Preheat over to 180°C. Oil muffin tins (12 very large muffins) or equivalent. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. In another bowl, combine egg, brown sugar, pear puree, golden syrup and oil. Stir in dry ingredients until just moist. Spoon batter into tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Ice with plain white or citric acid flavoured icing if required.




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, Deborah Halliwell, Fiona Kriesl, Melita Stevens, Ellas Nanitsos, Kerry McDowell and reader reports. © Sue Dengate (text). 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.