Tips and practical advice for coping with food allergies and intolerance by nutritionist fiona hunter

Food intolerance can be difficult to diagnose, because unlike food allergy there is no antibody response so they can't always be picked up by skin prick or blood test - also while some intolerances cause symptoms soon after the offending food is eaten in other cases it can be several hours or indeed days before symptoms appear so it's not always obvious which food/foods are causing the problem.

Top tips and advice to help you cope with living with a food allergy or intolerance from our nutritionist Fiona Hunter.


Any alternative to cow's milk must taste great and contain sufficient calcium. Oat Dream has both of these essentials covered. Every carton of Oat Dream is crammed full of goodness and flavour, because we only ever use the finest oats from Germany in our blend. Glass for glass, Oat Dream contains as much calcium as full fat cow's milk. A refreshing and thirst-quenching 200ml will provide you with 30% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of calcium. And because Oat Dream is also enriched...


Keep a Food Diary

The first thing to do if you suspect you have an allergy or intolerance is to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks. Keep a note of everything you eat and drink and a list of your symptoms for at least 2 weeks; at the end of this time review your diary to see if you can identify foods which seem to trigger a problem or any patterns of behaviour relating to your symptoms. Cutting out an important food group such as dairy or following a very restrictive diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies...


Non-dairy Sources of Calcium

Dairy products are an important source of calcium which is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is particularly important for children, teenagers and young adults because their bones are still growing so their calcium requirements are high and if you don't get enough calcium while your bones are still growing you are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis later in life. For this reason it's important that you choose a milk alternative which is fortified with calcium and also vitamin D...


Always Check Food Labels

Milk and milk products are often used as an ingredient in processed foods, so it's important to check the ingredients list on all packaged foods. It's not always easy to tell just by looking at a food whether it contains milk or lactose - foods like ready prepared soup, cakes mixes, salad dressings even stock cubes can contain dairy so always check the labels carefully. If you have a milk allergy or are lactose intolerant then you should avoid products which list any of the following words in...


Eating Out

Most of the large supermarkets will have a list of their own label products which are suitable for people on special diets so write to the customer services manager or look on line to see if they have a list. If you have a milk allergy or are lactose intolerant it is important to be aware that manufacturers sometimes change their recipes so always check the ingredients list before you buy don't just assume that because a product was once free from gluten or dairy it will always be so. For some...