Sue's Blog

“This diet has literally saved my life”



Every day we receive grateful emails and sometimes people say the diet has been a lifesaver – but the following words made me realise just how seriously food intolerance should be taken:

“I rewrote my will & wrote farewell letters to my boys”

So I looked through our reader reports for similar stories and was astonished by what I found.

Most people regard true food allergies as potentially fatal but don’t take food intolerance seriously. Some doctors even say “I don’t believe in food intolerance”. Obviously, this is wrong.

Six ways food intolerance be life-threatening

Our readers report:

·         asthma, anaphylactoid reactions (hives; swollen lips, tongue, throat; breathing difficulties) or severe chronic irritable bowel symptoms

·         cardiac conditions such as unexplained heart arrhythmias

·         suicide attempts due to food-related  agitation or depression

·         side-effects of aspirin and other medications in people whose salicylate intolerance is misdiagnosed or misunderstood

·         living with so many chronic health issues such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, itchy rash/swelling and/or irritable bowel symptoms that people feel their lives are a misery, they are on a downward path and will never recover

·         parents of food intolerant babies or children can be so overwhelmed by sleep deprivation combined with the demands of a difficult child that they feel they are being dragged down – as I well know myself

Here are some brief reports. The full stories are in an inspiring lifesaver story collection

Anaphylactoid reactions and asthma:


 “constantly swollen like a balloon”

·        I was going to hospital every 2 weeks covered in hives & constantly swollen like a balloon,  with worsening asthma  - Josephine

·         our five-year-old daughter had severe asthma attacks with daily singulair, ventolin, atrovent and also 3 lots of prednisolone within the space of about 3 or 4 months ... since going failsafe 6 months ago, not even a cough. I attribute a big part of this success to eliminating both sulphites and artificial colours - Monica

 Heart arrhythmias: 

 “thinking I was going to die like my father, at 46” …

“two years of fearing for my life”

·         I had been suffering increasing episodes of tachycardia, arrhythmia and ectopic heart beats … No known cause for my cardiac anomalies … I have strenuously avoided any flavour enhancers (particularly 635) and all MSG in its myriad disguises … I've gone from having 2-3 cardiac episodes a day, and thinking I was going to die like my father, at 46, to NOT ONE EPISODE IN MORE THAN A WEEK - Shannon

·         although my cardiologist never questioned my diet, after two hospitalizations in emergency for ventricular arrhythmia, and nearly two years of fearing for my life, feeling my heart jumping all over the place, and being miserable, I finally linked a very bad episode to  consumption of red wine … Since eliminating sulphites, I have had NO problems - Michiko

 Depression and anxiety:

 on the brink of giving up”

·         I was on the brink of giving up - I felt my life was over. Words can't describe how ill and depressed I had become - Liz

·         I have severe major depression which leads to suicidal tendencies, self-destructive behaviour and I also have horrific anxiety and very severe ADHD and Aspergers. Or rather... I USED to - Ffion

 Reactions to medication:

·        (after anti-inflammatories plus blackberries …) covered in hives and rashes, I had difficulty breathing and was taken to Accident & Emergency in an ambulance ...  blackberries are very high in salicylates which is also the reason that people have an allergic reaction to aspirin. When I mentioned this at A&E they seemed totally unaware of this link, and carried on treating me for a suspected heart attack – Tony

·         One night I had severe stomach cramps and a friend gave me a couple of her naprogesics. I went into anaphylactic shock and was admitted to hospital. A few weeks later after footy I used feldene again as per my habit and went into anaphylactic shock once again. (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - like Feldene and Naprogesic -  used as painkiller are not suitable for a salicylate-sensitive people because they can cross-react. About 100,000 people in the United States alone die each year from the side-effects of correctly used drugs, especially NSAIDs) -

Chronic maddeningly itchy rashes and swelling:


 ”very afraid for my safety…”

·         I began to suffer strange, itchy swellings about seven years ago …the doctor couldn't find a cause … (it was 635)...  the swelling occurred in my tongue and throat to such a degree that I was very afraid for my safety - Cathy

·         I have been suffering from a maddening itch and rash for over 2 years now, and I am quite sure that I would still be suffering from it had I not found your website – Jennifer

·         I have suffered from rashes on my torso for more years than I can count, also itchy dry skin and bowel upsets when I ate different things. I read about 635 and I was saved.- Maev

·         I'm living again instead of dying - Victoria

 Chronic sleep deprivation:

 “I was at breaking point”

·         “For most of my life I’ve woken two hourly and sleep has been completely broken. Same goes for my ASD child. Now we wake once a night. Failsafe saved my life” -

·         “I was at breaking point- trying to find a reason my baby was covered in eczema, never slept, did frothy green poos, and never smiled” - Blanca

 Chronic IBS:

 ”thought I was never going to get better”

·         I was very sick with constant diarrhoea for months on end, I lost 20 kg in weight & was so weak I could barely get out of bed … Sharyn

·         I am 23 years old and I have had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for two years now.  I thought I was never going to get better… At my lowest weight I was 32kg which was a total loss of 30k (former elite athlete with CFS, IBS) - Emma

 Living with a difficult child:

“I was getting desperate”

·         My son took medication prescribed for ADHD … it caused extreme mood swings and self-harming behaviour so bad he said he wanted to kill himself… desperation led us to the failsafe diet … he is now a happy, well adjusted, stable, "normal" child … the diet literally saved his life. He was on the verge of being sent to either a special school or a psychiatric ward and now, while he still has some slight autistic tendencies that we are teaching him to manage, he is going to lead a normal life – Lu

·         Thank you for being my saviour!! My 4 year old little boy had been getting increasingly worse in his behaviour and we had pretty much become isolated due to his extraordinary tantrums … he would become aggressive, loud, uncontrollable and impossible to calm … I was getting desperate and he is starting school next Thursday …. We have been following the elimination diet for the last 2 weeks with dramatic results. - Fay


What about doctors?

“Immunologist who put me on the diet has literally saved my life”

Some doctors are happy to refer patients to a dietitian who specialises in food intolerance for a trial of the RPAH elimination diet, some are not. In fact - as reported to us - no doctor has ever identified symptoms due to additive 635, although the first time we realised the appalling effects of 635 was in 1994 – as soon as 635 first appeared in foods – because a paediatrician asked us which ingredient in chicken flavoured noodles could cause “a dramatic skin eruption” in a 4 yo boy.




 ·         My husband took me from doctor to doctor, naturopath to naturopath & no one had any answers. The more things I took to 'heal' me, the worse I got.

·         I have spent 10 plus years in and out of doctors, holistic practitioners, and have undergone over a thousand dollars’ worth of testing and examinations

·         No doctor wanted to help, couldn't help or just didn't believe me. One doctor told me my symptoms were all psychosomatic

·         The doctor said food additives do not cause a long-lasting reaction like this (635)

·         Although my cardiologist never questioned my diet  (for ventricular arrhythmia) … since eliminating sulphites, I have had NO problems

·         My doctor since then acknowledged she has absolutely no knowledge of food intolerance re 635 – 621 and their symptoms. How are you expected to be helped if they are blind to these issues?

·         It was only when my fantastic doctor happened to come across another patient who had the same problems as me that he was pointed in the direction of the allergy clinic at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

·         Failsafe eating works. My doctors agree

·         Immunologist who put me on the diet has literally saved my life


What are the main problem foods?

In the lifesaver story collection there are three main groups mentioned: natural food chemicals and two artificial food additives.

·         people eating a particularly “healthy” diet with heaps of high-salicylate fruit and vegetables, unaware of the effects of salicylate intolerance

 ·         people who worked out for themselves - usually by seeing our website or a media article about one of our members - that they were reacting to a particular additive, mostly either sulphites (known to cause death which is why they have to be listed in allergy warnings) but more often the relatively unknown MSG booster called flavour enhancer 635 (consisting of 627 plus 631).

Healthy foods:

“the healthier I thought I ate (lots of fruits and veges!) the sicker I became” - Emma

·         I've been suffering from many of the symptoms associated with salicylate intolerance, poisoning myself on what I thought was an extremely good diet. - Victoria

·         My children had what I thought to be such a healthy diet, no cordials, lollies and lots of fruit and dried fruit for snacks. Now I know better -Monica

·         His diet was basically a salicylate feast … I thought we were providing him with a really healthy diet - email

Additives – sulphite preservatives:

(Sulphite preservatives 220-228 must be included in allergy declarations on labels because they are known to be associated with asthma deaths)

        after two years of fearing for my life (due to cardiac arrhythmia) … since eliminating sulphites, I have had NO problems …Michiko

·         our five-year-old daughter who had severe asthma attacks … since going failsafe, not even a cough. I attribute a big part of this success to eliminating both sulphites and artificial colours - Monica

Additives - flavour enhancer 635:

“this additive is a killer”…”one day someone will die”… “my God, what have I been poisoning my family with?”

·         One thing I know for sure is that this additive (flavour enhancer 635) is a killer – Jennifer

·         Thinking I'm making healthy foods, I’ve used commercial stock (cube and/or liquid), all of which (no exceptions, I find) are loaded with MSG … My God, what have I been poisoning my family with, for so many years?    I now strenuously avoid any flavour enhancers (particularly 635) and all MSG in its myriad disguises – Shannon

·         One day someone will die. I certainly wouldn't want my daughter to go through that (reaction to 635 in Christmas turkey) again - Charmaine

I regard this additive (or more properly this group of additives - 627,631,635) as by far the most dangerous in our food supply and anyone reading our 635 reader story collection would have to agree. Unlike other additives, these were never safety tested before approval, and because there is an effect on the immune system, they seem to jump the intolerance/allergy boundary. I would not be prepared to conduct a human safety trial on these additives because I have seen too many people develop true allergies after eating them - is this why Australia has one of the highest rates of true allergy in the world?

Sulphite preservatives must be included in allergy declarations on labels because they have been associated with asthma deaths but most people haven’t even heard about 635.

More information

Additive and symptom factsheets

Additive and symptom story collections