This list is of items avoided by me, and by other people who follow a benzoate-free and cinnamate-free diet. It includes things from the Guys Hospital list and other items that I’ve figured out through trial and error and through a facebook support group.
The Guys Hospital list is brilliant but it is limited and there are definately some things that cause reactions for people with OFG that it doesn’t list.
If any reader thinks of other items that should be included, which I’ve missed off, then please let me know.
This list is probably one of the strictest you will read as it takes into account several people’s personal experiences as well as all of the lists and other advice sheets around. Readers do NOT have to stick rigidly to this list, indeed I do not advise sticking rigidly to it, but it may give a good start to people with out of control OFG who don’t know where to begin in finding their triggers.
It also includes some advice for people who have, or suspect they have, gut crohns as well as OFG but this is not the primary purpose and shouldn’t be relied upon to control gut crohns.
That said, here goes…
Most meat is okay, except things that aren’t ‘pure’ (e.g. sausages) and that have forbidden additives or ingredients.
Avoid Cod and prawns
Some people react to other types of shellfish
The fresher the fish the better – try and go for very freshly caught, or for frozen, rather than fish that’s been sat at the fish counter for several days
Blue cheese and gorgonzola need to be avoided
Check out ingredients on flavoured cheeses, yoghurts, ice creams, milk shake drinks etc. to be sure none of them are forbidden
Some people react to live yoghurt
Some people react to eggs, especially egg whites. Try Goose or duck eggs as an alternative to hen’s eggs
Some people prefer goats milk to cows milk
Some people prefer mild cheeses over mature cheeses
Vegetables & vegetable-based additives
Avoid spinach, rocket, dark green salad leaves, tomatoes, avocado
Avoid kidney beans and soya beans
Avoid pumpkin. Some people react badly to other squashes e.g. butternut
Some people react badly to other red beans (e.g. aduki)
Be very careful with tomato products added to processed foods – even if you believe that you will be safe with fresh tomato you may find you react badly to tomato puree, tomato powder, sundried tomato etc.
Avoid soya in all it’s forms, not just beans – watch for soya milk/powder/protein/lecithin/isolate and others.
Some people react to mushrooms. Wild or speciality mushrooms e.g. shitake can be particularly bad.
Avoid anything with a stone (e.g. dates, peaches, plums)
Avoid anything dried or preserved
Avoid anything that’s a type of berry (cranberry, strawberry, blackberry, gooseberry, etc) – this is especially important, berries often cause the worst reactions in anyone, and some people will react to berries before, or quicker, than they react to anything else
Most (but not all) people react to currants
Some people react to apples
Some people react to navel oranges or mandarin oranges or both
Some people react to passion fruit
Please check out my post, https://benzoateintolerancesupport.wordpress.com/2014/12/07/fruit/ for specific advice about fruit
Grains, flours, nuts, seeds and cereals
Most people have no problems with cereals
Watch other ingredients and additives which are on your avoid list, especially soya
Watch for non-EU produced/sold white flour as it may be bleached with benzoates. If you cannot get hold of EU-produced flour you may wish to stick with products that are specifically labelled as ‘unbleached’
If you have or suspect gut crohns you may wish to avoid cereals with too much gluten in them as gluten-free grains are often easier to tolerate
Some people react to pumpkin seeds
Some people react to caraway seeds
Some people react to walnuts
Herbs and spices
Avoid Aloe Vera
Avoid any spice mixes, mixed spice, spice extracts or ‘spices’ on labels that don’t specify their make-up as they may contain forbidden spice
Avoid any herb mixes, mixed herbs, herb extracts or ‘herbs’ on labels that don’t specify their make-up as they may contain sage
Some people react badly to Mace
Some people react badly to tumeric
Some people react badly to chilli
Some people react badly to mustard
Avoid the classic ‘tea’ bush in all it’s forms (black, green, white and decaf tea)
Avoid any herbal teas that contain forbidden ingredients
Some people react to camomile, rosehip and/or nettle
Avoid hot chocolate and cocoa
Cold drinks & alcohol
Avoid any drinks flavoured with or made with forbidden fruits
Avoid any colas
Avoid perfumed spirits or liqueurs, e.g. Tia Maria
Some people react to artifically sweetened drinks
Some people react to fizzy drinks
Sweets & sweet stuff
Avoid chocolate or cocoa in any form (white, milk and dark)
Avoid fruit flavoured sweets if they contain real fruit juice
Avoid cola-flavoured sweets
Watch for preservatives in sweets
Some people react badly to honey
Some people react badly to jams & marmalades, even if they are made with all safe ingredients
Avoid tomato and soya in all their formats when added to pre-processed foods
Avoid benzoate preservatives (E210-E219)
Avoid benzoyl peroxide bleaching agent (E928)
Some people struggle with sorbates, sulphites and/or nitrites
Avoid any chemical or additive whose name contains a variation of the word ‘cinnamon’, for example ‘cinnamal’, ‘cinnamate’, etc.
Some people struggle with almost all varieties of E-numbers/chemical-based food additives, so to begin with you may wish to keep a diary of those you have and those you seem to react to.
Pharmecuticals, drugs & medicines
Avoid vitamin supplements
*Avoid any non-steroidal anti inflamatories (this includes things like Ibruprofen/neurofen)
*Avoid Asprin and products that contain asprin (may also be listed in ingredients as acetylsalicylic acid, salicylic acid, or acetoxybenzoic acid)
*Avoid Enteric-coated medication
*Read closely the ingredients list on any medication that comes as a liquid or gel and avoid those with forbidden additives in them – however almost all seem to contain benzoate preservatives
*If you need injections to control an illness, ask about non-injectable alternatives first as many injectable drugs also contain benzoate-preservatives
*unless specifically prescribed by a knowledgable doctor who is prepared to help you deal with the resulting symptoms of your OFG/crohns, or who believes the damage done by not taking them would be worse than the pain and discomfort caused by the OFG/crohns DON’T TAKE ANY OF THESE AS SHOP BOUGHT, PHARMACY RECOMMENDED OR OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS
Toiletries & cleaning chemicals
Avoid products that use Aloe Vera
Avoid products that are scented with a forbidden foodstuff
Read labels carefully as many products, including those marketed as ‘medicated’, ‘mild’, ‘baby’, ‘simple’ or ‘sensitive’ contain benzoates. Choose strictly benzoate-free products only.
Avoid any product that has Hexyl Cinnamal as a scent or perfume, or that just lists ‘perfume/parfum’ as an ingredient without specifying what it is
Some people react to Sodium Laureth/Lauryl Sulphate/Sulfate
Some people react to products that contain a chemical with the name ‘paraben’.
Some people react to other substances in foods as well as benzoates. The three main reactors are
I have included some of the more common reactors in the above list but if you are still getting OFG symptoms you may have to cut a large number of otherwise safe foodstuffs out.
For Gluten, you need to omit wheat, barley, rye and oats, and ALL byproducts of these. Packets have to, by law, state if a foodstuff contains gluten so this is managed by reading labels correctly.
For Histamine content, see http://chronichives.com/useful-information/histamine-restricted-diet/
For Citric Acid content, see http://citricacidallergy.wordpress.com/foods-by-citric-acid-content/#levels