Over 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies. While many allergies were initially associated with childhood onset, more and more people struggle with allergies throughout their lives and the overall prevalence of allergies is on the rise. A great challenge people face is knowing what is safe for them to eat and what isn’t. Most meals – whether homemade, store-bought or restaurant – are comprised of multiple ingredients and laden with hidden contents, creating a food nightmare for allergy sufferers.
One of the most common tests for food intolerance is the Elimination Diet, a method of strategically eliminating certain foods over a period of time to self-test and self-monitor body responses. The two primary factors in this diet are: 1) avoiding trigger foods and 2) keeping a food diary. Fortunately, your iPhone make this process easier, especially with a photo food diary. With a meal journal quickly accessible on an iPhone, users simply need to snap a quick photo of their meal and note the after effects directly in the app. Many people find the Elimination approach time consuming and tedious, but because it’s one of the most effective ways to identify allergens it’s widely used. Apps like Weight Snap take the “tedious” out of a food diary.
Some allergy sufferers have already been diagnosed and are well educated on their trigger foods; however, avoiding these foods can be incredibly difficult, especially while eating out. A restaurant that is “safe” for one person may cause a reaction in another with the same allergy, so it’s important to realize that food intolerance is as unique as the person suffering from it. iPhone food diaries are one of the best tools to use in monitoring reactions and are ideal for the following allergens:
- Milk, dairy
- Tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc.)
- Wheat, gluten
- Fish (bass, flounder, cod etc.)
- Shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp etc.)
Many restaurants now offer ingredients lists in addition to nutrition facts, some even identifying specific foods on their menu that are “gluten free”, “dairy free” or free of other allergens. Again, this can be very beneficial for people with restrictions; however, cross contamination or other issues can pose a problem while eating out, causing many to rely on the data in their own iOS device.