Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

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Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2010), 69:11-24 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © The Authors 2009

Research Article

Session 1: Allergic disease The challenges of managing food hypersensitivity

Symposium on ‘Dietary management of disease’

on 17–19 June 2009, A Meeting of the Nutrition Society, was held at Queen's University Belfast, hosted by the Irish Section.

Carina Ventera1 c1 and Rosan Meyera2

a1 School of Health Sciences and Social Work, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO1 2RF and The David Hide Asthma and Allergy Research Centre, Newport, Isle of Wight, UK
a2 Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College, London, UK
Article author query
venter c [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
meyer r [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


Food hypersensitivity (FHS) is the umbrella term used for food allergies that involve the immune system and food intolerances that do not involve the immune system. FHS has a huge impact on quality of life and any dietary advice given should aim to minimise this effect. Despite many advances made in diagnosing and managing patients with FHS, the cornerstone of management still remains avoidance of the relevant food. However, a commonly-presenting dilemma in clinical practice is deciding to what extent the food(s) should be avoided. The level of avoidance required is currently based on the type of FHS the patient has, characteristics of the particular food protein and the natural history of the particular FHS. In addition to management of other FHS, management of cow's milk allergy requires the healthcare professional to choose the appropriate formula. Information required by the patient also includes understanding food labels and issues surrounding cross-contamination. In order to ensure that the diet is nutritionally sound, advice should be given about suitable food choices and following a healthy balanced diet, whilst taking into account the dietary restrictions. Practical issues that need to be addressed include going on holiday, travelling and eating away from home. The dietitian plays a crucial role in this process. At present, there are no standardised documents or protocols for the management of FHS and practices differ within and between countries. If adrenaline auto-injectors are prescribed, correct administration should be demonstrated and reviewed on an ongoing basis.

(Online publication December 15 2009)

Key Words:Dietary management; Food allergy; Food intolerance


c1 Corresponding author: Dr Carina Venter, fax +44 2392 844402, email