New Food?Sick app to help diagnose your dietary intolerances – by guest experts Milena Katz APD and Liz Beavis APDExpert Examiner, Nutrition News — By Emma Stirling on January 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm
Do you suspect that some foods don’t agree with you? Perhaps you feel a bit bloated after some meals? Or you get a headache after some foods? Or you break out in a rash every Tuesday and can’t work out why? Then you’re going to love hearing about this new iphone app designed by two, expert Australian dietitians.
Food?Sick is the brain child of Milena Katz and Liz Beavis, two Sydney dietitians with expertise in food intolerances who are keen to take nutrition into the techno age. They have been working together since 2006 when they set up a Sydney nutrition practice Ahead In Health Nutrition and Lifestyle Centre. Last year they found a gap in current practice when their clients found it difficult to keep track of their food intolerance symptoms after eating food, and decided to build an iphone app to help other dietitians and their clients.
Intolerances to certain foods are not uncommon, but it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint which foods are triggering your symptoms, and to confuse the issue other lifestyle factors (such as stress or hayfever) can interact and make recognising patterns very difficult. It would be great if there was an easy test for food intolerances, but frustratingly many food intolerances cannot be identified by blood or skin tests.
Dietitians recognise that one of the best ways to recognise food intolerances is to keep a record of what we eat and our symptoms. For years we have asked our clients to write everything down, but invariably the diary gets left at home, lost down the bottom of a handbag, or has coffee spilled on it. And from our Gen Y & Z clients we get a strange look of ‘pen & paper’? What century are we in?
So we decided it was time to take step into the technological age – there’s got to be an app for that!
Food?Sick a new iphone application
Using our expertise in recognising and managing food intolerance we partnered with the technical expertise of Alexander Courtis from Efficiency Solutions Ltd to create Food?Sick an iphone application. While it may look simple on the outside, it has taken months of hard work (and learning how an iPhone thinks!) to bring this application to life.
Food?Sick is an App that helps you to identify patterns in symptoms that you may experience after eating foods. By identifying patterns it can help you to identify which foods trigger your symptoms.
Food intolerances may trigger headaches, bloating, rashes and behavioural symptoms (and many other seemingly random symptoms!) in susceptible individuals.
Sometimes symptoms occur immediately after eating a food – these intolerances are the easiest to identify. However, sometime symptoms can be delayed by a few hours or even the next day, which can be a little tricky to spot if you are can’t remember what you ate yesterday! Where it gets even more tricky is when you get symptoms after a ‘build up’ of a particular food (or group of similar foods) over a day or even over several days. To be able to spot these sort of patterns keeping a record of what you eat is essential. Moreover, it is important to get a professional eye cast over your diary so you don’t fall into the trap of blaming the wrong foods and eliminating them from your diet unnecessarily!
What can Food?Sick do?
Food?Sick allows you to record everything that you eat and drink – if it’s not in the database of foods you can easily add it. A new function in version 1.1 allows you to take photos of what you eat, which might help to provide extra details that you haven’t written down. You can also record your symptoms, and even rate them on a scale of 1-5. You can take note of other factors that affect your symptoms (eg pollens in the air or stress) and record any medications (eg antihistamine for hayfever) that you take which may affect your symptoms.
So now you have a detailed record, what do you do with it? Software that tries to guess what foods are causing your symptoms based on what you last ate are way too simplistic when there are so many interacting factors (and many different ways that food can trigger symptoms), is more likely to do harm than good, cutting innocent foods out of your diet and may leave you missing out on important nutrients. So we advise you to use the expertise of food intolerance specialists.
Food?Sick will generate an emailable report that can help look at the big picture to view any obvious patterns. We recommend that you make an appointment with a dietitian who specialises in food intolerances (some experts are available online if there are none in your area) so they can take a look at your report with an experienced eye to help you identify the more complex patterns. If you do need to remove certain foods from your diet your dietitian can also make sure you aren’t missing out on important nutrients when you do so.
Why should I use Food?Sick?
If you want to start taking control of your health and identify what foods may be triggering your symptoms Food?Sick is the ideal first step. Food?Sick is easy to use and goes with you everywhere (we know you and your iPhone are rarely parted!). Food?Sick allows you to stop worrying about your symptoms and gives you the tools to start focusing on what you can change to start feeling better.
Food?Sick version 1.1 is available now at the App store for $AUD2.99
Thanks Milena and Liz. I absolutely love seeing dietitians developing new technology this way. And of course I love apps in all shapes and sizes. I’m sure our Scoop community have questions for you about the app usage. Drop us a comment or question for the girls below lovely readers.