Fedup Newsletters




Newsletter of the Food Intolerance Network

October - November 2001


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

The FAILSAFE_Newsletter 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.



  • Talks planned in Tasmania and Alice Springs
  • Use diet first, say experts
  • Want to ban Tartrazine (Artificial Yellow 102, Yellow #5 in the USA)?
  • Research: Not all in the eye of the beholder; UQ puts ADHD medications to the test.
  • In brief: Phone contacts and Groups; Failsafe sausages
  • Readers' stories:

Hello everyone

During my recent tour of the East Coast, I had the opportunity to meet many readers in locations from Geelong in Victoria to Brisbane. It was wonderful to put faces to names and to meet so many new people. Thank you to the many established failsafers who looked after my needs during the trip - failsafe dinner before my talks, doggy bags for the next day's lunch, sending failsafe contributions for my meals, and providing a failsafe house with afternoon tea for the Brisbane Extra TV show. Your hospitality was overwhelming and I truly felt part of a strong network. I met a long procession of readers who most often said "thank you for changing our lives". Failsafe is working and the word is spreading. Some highlights of the trip: a mother in Melbourne who reported proudly "I have a new symptom for you to add to your list - infertility." After a battle with infertility, this woman became pregnant when she went failsafe. Gluten intolerance has long been recognised as contributing to infertility. Why not other food chemicals? Kerry from Chapter 4 in Fed Up attended the Geelong talk. After 3 years on failsafe (but breaking it regularly due to family commitments) Kerry went strictly failsafe for six months, then slowly and carefully built up her intake of salicylates, half a cup every second day, double it after two weeks etc. After six months she can now eat unlimited salicylates, giving us all something to aim for. And Julie Gilfoyle's extraordinary organisational efforts in Brisbane where I talked to a packed house of nearly 200 people. From 8-12th October I will be giving talks in Tasmania. I hope to meet some of you there.

Best wishes, Sue Dengate





Sue Dengate will be giving talks as follows See website (talks) for more details:


Tasmania 8-12 October 2001, Smithton, Burnie, Launceston (x 2), St Helens, Hobart (x 2), Huonville. Phone Playgroup Association Northern Zone: 63 316599, Southern Zone 62 280925, Northwest Zone: 64 323228


Alice Springs October, date TBA, ph 8952 8057.




A review of two dozen scientific studies by the nonprofit Centre for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) contends that food dyes and certain foods can adversely affect children's behaviour. CSPI, in a 32-page report entitled "Diet, ADHD and Behaviour", charges that federal agencies, professional organisations and the food industry have ignored the growing evidence that diet affects behaviour.

The report cites 17 controlled studies that found that diet adversely affects some children's behaviour, sometimes dramatically. Most of the studies focused on artificial colours, while some also examined the effects of milk and other common foods. The percentage of children who were affected by diet varied widely among the studies. Six other studies did not detect any behavioral effect of diet.

"It makes a lot more sense to try modifying a children's diet before treating him or her with a stimulant drug," said Dr Marvin Boris, a pediatrician in Woodbury, New York, whose 1994 study found that diet affected the behaviour of two-thirds of his subjects. "Health oranisations and professionals should recognise that avoiding certain foods and additives can greatly benefit some troubled children."

Experts on diet and behaviour Drs Ted Kniker from the University of Texas Health Science Centre and Joseph Bellanti from Georgetown University Medical Centre joined Dr Boris in calling on the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHA) to encourage parents and professionals to modify children's diets before resorting to drug treatment. They asked HHA to undertake new research into the link between diet and behaviour and to "consider banning synthetic dyes in food and other products (such as cupcakes, candies, sugary breakfast cereals, vitamin pills, drugs and toothpaste) widely consumed by children".

"The HHS should withdraw its printed and Internet documents that largely dismiss the effect of foods on behaviour. For starters, the FDA should halt distribution of a pamphlet of food additives that it co-published with an industry group, the International Food Information Council," said Michael F Jacobson, executive director of CSPI and lead author of the report. "It's high time that the government - as well as doctors - provided the public with accurate information that might help many children".

The report is available at: www.cspinet.org, and for a great 2 page summary you can give your doctor, see www.cspinet.org/new/adhdpr.html




There is a petition to the FDA to ban tartrazine in the USA. You don't have to live in the USA to support it. The petition is endorsed by the Feingold Association and this is what they say:

(1) the FDA has always maintained that colorings bother only very few people, who have unusual allergies. We are 10,000 strong on this list, and I think most of us do not much like FD&C Yellow #5. The FDA cannot ignore it if they hear from EVERY ONE OF US.

(2) Creativity is not required. You can send just a short note saying "I vote to ban Yellow #5". You can add "It bothers me" with or without details but even that is not necessary -- what IS necessary is that you SEND something!!

(3) Don't forget to put your name and address and phone number on the email to make it official.

The FDA wants to hear your opinion about Tartrazine (Yellow #5)!! Right now we have the opportunity to tell FDA what we think about one of their "approved" food dyes - but the opportunity will slip away too quickly if we don't act immediately. Tartrazine (Yellow No. 5) is only one of the chemicals eliminated by the Feingold Diet, but it has been one of the most heavily studied of all the additives, and has been implicated as a trigger both for ADHD and asthma, although this is denied by the FDA and other official sources.

However, there is currently a petition before the FDA to have Tartrazine BANNED in the USA! Please email your comments and experiences to the US government (no matter what country you live in!) Send your email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with the subject Docket #01P-0345, Delist Yellow #5.


** Closing date, 12th October. ** Thank you for your participation -- let's let our voice be heard!! More details from http://tartrazine.tripod.com.



Not all in the eye of the beholder

EEGs (electroencephalograms) were used to monitor the electrical activity in the brains of ADHD children during a diet study. In the first phase of the study, 71% of 45 children improved on a Few Foods diet. The children were then challenged with various foods. In the third phase, the researchers used EEG and found a significant increase in beta-1 activity in certain areas of the brain after the children ate provoking foods but not non-provoking foods. One of the researchers examining the EEGs did not know which diet the children were on. Another study using EEG and other methods found that when food-sensitive hyperactive children avoided provoking foods they experienced increased beneficial REM sleep and decreases in the number of arousals when sleeping.

Further reading: Uhlig and others "Topographic mapping of brain electrical activity in children with food-induced attention deficit hyperkinetic disorder", Eur J Pediatr 1997; 156:557-61; Kiefer and others, "Sleep pattern disturbance in children with food-induced hyperactivity syndrome", In Kohler, B and Keimer R (Eds) Aktuelle Neuropadeatrie, 1991 (in German)


UQ puts ADHD medications to the test

The University of Queensland is calling upon the parents of children with ADHD to take advantage of a groundbreaking new testing service that can determine the effectiveness of their prescribed medications.

UQ's Centre for General Practice urgently needs more volunteers to continue a study that is already revealing low individual response rates to various ADHD medications.

Senior research officer Dr Jane Nikles said the Individualised Medication Effectiveness Testing (IMET) service, which was offered free to volunteers, had so far indicated a 40% response rate to ADHD medications. "In other words, about 60% of the children tested are not individually responding to their ADHD medication, which is obviously a cause of some concern."

She said that the service can test dexamphetamine, Ritalin or Attenta to see whether the child responds to these. Medications can even be compared to see which is more effective for the particular child.

Dr Nikles said a major advantage of the IMET service was that it could be offered remotely - via mail and telephone contact - with families and their doctors anywhere in Australia.

It's based on diary recordings of the children's behaviour, which are then comprehensively analysed and statistically measured. It's non-invasive and it's free - all of which makes it an Australian first."

Interested people should contact Dr Nikles at the Centre for General Practice on (07) 3346 4696, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


In brief


PHONE CONTACTS AND GROUPS: The list of phone contacts and groups in increasing, see website. If you would like to meet others in your area, share failsafe sausages etc, send your phone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The new Brisbane group will hold their first meeting on Nov 27th, phone Jan 3264 4265.


FAILSAFE SAUSAGES: Karyn, our new Sydney contact, reports: "Our butcher said you could put his shop on your list as someone who is very willing to make up your recipe for the sausages (A recipe for your butcher, FS Cookbook).I bought 5kgs of beef sausages for $37.00 (beef, sea salt,leek and brown rice flour). The kids loved them. He needs a few days warning." Bresnahan's Fine Foods, Mortdale. (02) 95708188.


Diet not working as well as you'd hoped?


One tiny mistake can make a huge difference. For fine-tuning, see the updated list on the website Checklist of common mistakes. Also new guidelines for extra sensitive amine responders, thanks to Alison and Karl from the email discussion group.

Readers tell us this list is very useful.


Readers' comments

Food chemicals can affect everyone from fully breastfed babies to senior citizens with an astonishing range of distressing effects. Thank you for your reports and comments. See summaries below with more details and extra reports on the website.

A story in emails


1) "Completely Fed Up": my son Ames (10 months) is a poor sleeper, very irritable and generally not much fun. After reading your book I made an appointment with a dietitian and modified his diet. He has gotten progressively worse over the last five days. He has been having eggs, pears, potatoes, swedes, home made bread and failsafe muffins. The only thing I can guess is dairy. He seems to be refluxing, he has allergic shiners and a runny nose. Am I doing something wrong?? [When people get worse on diet, it is usually due either to mistakes, or to eating more of a provoking substance, commonly dairy food or wheat. Look at relatives for clues. Two of Ames' relatives had recently been diagnosed as coeliacs]


2) "Fed Up No More": It's a miracle!! Ames has been gluten free for nearly three days now. The last two nights he has slept 10-11 hours in a row. He is peaceful and sleeping like an angel. No more bubbles in the tummy or reflux. … Thank you so much for your assistance. Ames would also like to thank you for a pain free tummy after all these months. - reader, NSW


I am a new convert! After just one week with my son on the diet (100% strictly) we saw great results … We had our first failsafe dinner party last week and it was a big success. One guest, a brand new mum, said her daughter slept for 4 hours straight the next day and that's the first time in 10 weeks. Today we had our first restaurant experience and they were more than happy to provide our home-cooked meal on their crockery for our son. It was enjoyable for us all. - reader, NSW


Many thanks, your book has helped to dramatically improve our life. Much of our son's lifestory was so like your daughter's. It was marvellous to read your account of trying all the same things as me - cutting down sugar, increasing vegetables, and getting nowhere. After several terrible years I was told to cut out sugar completely. This greatly increased high salicylate foods and things became diabolical. Luckily I got your book and tried the elimination diet. We've had our best 3 months ever. - reader, NZ


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

Your questions:

Check out the Questions and Answers section in the website with detailed answers to your questions:

Q. Help! Where do I start?


A. Thanks to a reader for this answer: "I think the biggest hurdle is that first shopping trip. I picked out several recipes I wanted to try, and carefully reviewed the list of acceptable foods. I made sure I put all the ingredients I needed for the recipes on my shopping list, along with acceptable foods, including goodies like chips, pretzels and ice cream. At the supermarket it did take a long time to find all the new things I was buying, but when I got home, I had a kitchen full of failsafe products and all the ingredients I needed for some failsafe recipes. Having all those things in the house made following the diet a lot easier. I'm such an organizational freak that I have my shopping list on the computer. I print out copies and post them on the refrigerator; then I check off the things I need as they run out. On the back, I print out the additives to avoid, so I always have it with my shopping list when I'm shopping."

Cooks' corner

There have been many enquiries about my daughter and how she is managing now she has left home. She has been failsafe for 8 years and is sharing a house with a young woman who has been failsafe for 7 years. They are both doing well and proud of it. Here are some recipes from Rebecca.


Rebecca's muesli

3 cups of rolled oats

4 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp white sugar

2 tbsp canola oil

5 weetbix, finely crushed

3/4 cup puffed amaranth

1 cup puffed millet

1 cup rice bubbles

1 cup All Bran

Toast first four ingredients as per failsafe recipe. When cooled add other ingredients, mix well and store in airtight container. Serve with milk and yoghurt (cows or soy), pear and banana (amines).


Rebecca's egg pie

1 sheet pampas pastry with canola (now with permitted antioxidants)

2 cups of stir-fried failsafe vegetables (eg cabbage, leek, shallots, peas, carrot (moderate in salicylates))

4 eggs

1 cup soymilk

1/2 tsp salt

Prepare vegetables and pie dish with pastry. Beat eggs, soymilk and salt together lightly. Arrange vegetables on pastry base. Gently pour over egg mixture. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes.



The FAILSAFE Discussion Group : On-going support is the key to success with FAILSAFE eating. Access the wealth of experience and information in this free email group and share recipes and stories with people from around the world, particularly from Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia and and USA. You will receive a daily digest of all emails, or choose individual emails if you want, and can respond to individuals or the group by email or over the web. There is also an on-line chat facility. Subscribe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe


The FAILSAFE Newsletter: You can have this Newsletter emailed to you for free about every two months, and also see it on this website. Subscribe: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Frontpage: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/failsafe_newsletter


© Sue Dengate (text) PO Box 85 Parap NT 0804, Australia. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Thanks to Beryl, Sheryl, Kim and Deb in Canberra, Melita, Debbie, Jenny, Andrea in Melbourne, Rowena, Helen, Caroline, Kerry and Ashley in Geelong, Julie, Jan, Kay and Marion in Brisbane, Deb and Erica in Darwin, Edith in Perth (a caller on the Verity James show), my publicist Amy from Random House who learned more about food intolerance than she ever expected, the workers behind the scenes and all the wonderfully enthusiastic people who attended my talks during my author tour. 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.