The Failsafe Diet Explained

An introduction to the failsafe diet, with diet charts

The Natural Toxins in Food

The Failsafe Chemicals

In addition to man-made food additives, there are many different chemicals and toxins in natural wholefoods that can cause unpleasant physical and mental reactions. These include natural flavour chemicals which must be avoided on the failsafe diet.

Plant Aromatics: Salicylates and Salicylate-Like Aromatics (SLAs)

Of the plant aromatics, we can say with certainty that food chemical intolerant individuals react to the following chemicals:

  • Salicylates
  • Natural benzoates
  • Natural gallates

However, food chemical intolerant individuals appear to react to a diverse range of plant derived aromatic chemicals, not merely to salicylates. This is called cross-reactivity and occurs when chemicals are similar enough in structure that they fire the same receptors in the body. What this range of chemicals have in common is that they exhibit the ability to interfere with arachidonic acid metabolism and prostaglandin production, and a tendency to increase inflammatory leukotriene production through the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) I/II and/or the induction of lipoxygenase (LOX). Many of these chemicals also suppress the production of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). The group includes relatively strong COX II inhibitors like salicylates, and also weaker COX I/II inhibitors from a broad range of polyphenols and flavinoids. Even some carotinoids are weak COX II inhibitors that may affect those with extreme sensitivities (however vitamin A in the form of all-trans retinoic acid actually induces COX II enzymes). While salicylates act as selective COX II inhibitors, some polyphenols also inhibit COX I, an enzyme whose activity is required by the whole digestive system for normal function and protection. Other polyphenols simultaneously suppress COX I/II and LOX production. Though LOX induction is problematic and leukotrienes are involved in a number of food chemical intolerance syndromes such as asthma and eczema, COX inhibition in and of itself appears to be problematic too, as prostaglandins are responsible for regulating autonomic neurotransmitters and interact with dopamine in the brain.

Polyphenols that intolerant individuals probably also react to include the following COX inhibitors (not an exhaustive list):

  • Anthocyanidins
    • Cyanidin (cherries, berries)
    • Proanthocyanidins (chocolate, broad beans, nuts, wine)
    • Delphinidin (berries, wine)
  • Flavinoids
    • Hesperetin (citrus fruits, peppermint)
    • Naringenin (citrus fruits)
    • Apigenin (parsley, peppermint, thyme, salad vegetables)
    • Luteolin (thyme, parsley, peppermint, peppers, rosemary, citrus, leafy green vegetables)
    • Isorhamnetin (parsley, dill, chives, onions) Kaempferol (capers, dill, kale)
    • Myricetin (parsley, berries, broadbeans, tea, citrus)
    • Quercetin (capers, dill, buckwheat, cocoa, onions, peppers, berries)
    • Rutin (grapes, buckwheat)
  • Gallates and catechins
    • Catechin (broadbeans, fruits)
    • Epigallocatechin (broadbeans, tea)
    • Epicatechin (broadbeans, fruit, tea, wine)
    • Theaflavin (tea, buckwheat)
    • Gallates (tea)
  • Other polyphenols
    • Curcumin (turmeric)
    • Tannins (tea, coffee, wine, fruits, wild rice)
  • Carotinoids
    • Beta and alpha carotene
    • Lutein/zeaxanthin
  • Glycoalkaloids (nightshades e.g. potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum, tobacco)
    • Solanine
    • Chaconine

Neurotransmitters and Pseudo-Neurotransmitters

Free glutamates form when protein is degraded by lengthy cooking or the action of autolytic or bacterial enzymes. Protein is broken down into its constituent parts, amino acids, one of which is glutamate. Amines form when amino acids are broken down even further (decarboxylated) by autolytic or bacterial enzymes. Amines should not be confused with amino acids or proteins, as these are largely safe. Free glutamates and amines are neurotransmitters. Innate capacities to neutralise dietary neurotransmitters vary widely between individuals. Multiple hormonal and genetic factors leave some people with a very low tolerance. Dietary neurotransmitters act directly to disrupt the normal neurotransmitter balance of the body and brain. Food chemical intolerant individuals can experience reactions to the following dietary chemicals:

  • Amines
    • Histamine
    • Serotonin
    • Dopamine
    • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline)
    • Epinephrine (adrenaline)
    • Phenylethylamine
    • Tyramine (a pseudo neurotransmitter that acts on adrenaline receptors)
    • Tryptamine
    • Putrescine
    • Cadaverine
  • Free amino acids
    • Free glutamates (MSG)
    • N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) and/or aspartate
    • Glycine (potentially, under some interactions)

Natural Sulphur

Some food chemical intolerante individuals are particularly sensitive to sulphur or sulphites found naturally in some foods, particularly in vegetables. This may be due to the ability of sulphides and sulphites to induce histamine degranulation. Foods include cabbage-family vegetables, asparagus, onion and garlic, and possibly also eggs in some sensitive individuals. Sulphur compounds include:

  • A variety of natural thiol compounds including methanethiol
  • A variety of natural sulphide compounds including Dimethylsulphide (DMS)
  • Natural sulphites
  • Glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, magnesium sulphate AKA epsom salts (break down into sulphites in the body)

Opioid Peptides

A significant proportion of (but not all) food chemical intolerant individuals also have problems with gluten grains and dairy products, and these intolerances typically occur together. The common factor appears to be the opioid-like peptides produced when proteins from these foods are broken down during digestion. Opioid-like peptides act on the body’s endogenous opioid receptors, having diverse effects including altering pain perception, respiration, GI motility and sociability. Opioid-like peptides are found in the following proteins:

  • Casomorphin (A1 milk)
  • Gluten exorphin (gluten)
  • Gliadorphin/gluteomorphin (gluten)
  • Rubiscolin (spinach)

Other Chemicals Found in Foods

Though their are many toxins and pharmacological chemicals in nature, the following chemicals are found foods we eat and can cause adverse effects in the wrong individual:

  • Lectins (beans, pulses, grains, nuts, nightshades)
  • Cyanogens, cyanogenic glycosides, and amygdalin (seeds of many fruits and nuts, rose family, particularly amygdaloideae – cherry, almond, peach)
  • Coumarins (tonka bean, woodruff, bison grass, clover)
  • Goiterogens (soya, cabbage family)
  • Alkaloids and glycoalkaloids (diverse sources, caffeine, theobromine, solanine, chaconine, nicotine)
  • Oxalates and oxalic acids (vegetables particularly leafy green, sorrel, spinach, rhubarb)
  • Protease inhibitors (beans)

Written by alienrobotgirl

23 September, 2010 at 7:53 pm

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