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  • Ian Chan

Food Diary: The Conventional Way to Find Food Allergens

Original text: Ian Chan, HK BioTek Nutritionist

Translation: Annie Zhou, HK BioTek Intern

The food diary, as the name suggests, is a diary to record your daily eating status. Not only does recording a food diary allows us to trace what we have eaten in the past, but it also helps us understand our eating habits. The food diary is an essential tool for diet control and management.

Utilizing a food diary is not just for people with food sensitivities. Anyone who is interested in learning more about their daily diet and adverse food reactions can use this method. By the time of the meal, carefully record the foods eaten at each meal, preferably including the categories and approximate portion of different ingredients, such as: beef (half bowl), etc. If there are any sensitive reactions within two hours after the meal, you should write down each observation. Please note that any health problems or emotional changes caused by food are the warning signs issued by the body. We should not ignore them!

The recording of the diary should be continued for at least two weeks. The longer the recording time, the more you can learn your eating habits so that it is easier for you to find the foods that you are intolerant to. If you have similar and specific symptoms after eating a certain food several times, it means that the food may not be suitable for you, and that you should reduce or quit the consumption of that food.

As for delayed-sensitive reactions, the onset time ranges from a few hours to several days, and it is often difficult for patients to track the relationship between eating habits and symptoms in a short time. However, we can still find a link between diet and adverse reactions based on longer dietary diary records and repeated attempts.

However, this method of recording diet has its limitations. The first limitation is human error. The ideal diet diary should be filled out every day, but since most urban people are busy, it is not easy to spend time to record these details. In many cases, people only record a few days of eating and write by memory when they have time. This will undoubtedly increase the number of mistakes in the recording.

The second limitation is the "hidden" component of food. If it is just a simple "fried cabbage with garlic", many people can clearly point out that the main ingredients include garlic and cabbage. But if it is "soup dumplings", what ingredients can you tell? When we dine outside the street, we may not be able to distinguish the ingredients and related ingredients in the dishes every time, which will also reduce the accuracy of the diary.

To complete a qualified diet diary, we must consistently record daily. As long as the records are clear and you pay more attention to the problems listed above, you can use the diary to observe your body's response to different foods in order to manage your diet more effectively.

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