Dietitian: Caroline Tuck Diet: Low chemical
Results are in: the low chemical diet
OK so the #dietitiansdare is over – phew. I must say I may have not been the most enthusiastic about
the idea, but coming out the other end I am glad I have given it a go!
Overall I noticed no changes really which I was a little disappointed with. Although I had no
significant symptoms to start with, I had hoped that perhaps I would feel some small changes. I do at
times have a post nasal drip, which is one thing that patients report can improve on a low chemical
diet, however I don’t feel I noticed any improvement during the 3 week dare. It may have slightly
improved but not a significant enough change for it to be clear to me. This made me realise how
difficult it must be at times for patients to know if there is a change occurring in symptoms or not
when the change may only be subtle.
What was good was experiencing things as my patients do and getting a new level of knowledge
about the diet. I did find myself wondering “hmmm is this OK to be having?” or “I think this is OK
isn’t it?” and made me realise how difficult it must be for patients to feel confident they are
following the restrictions correctly.
So to get to the results…
I’ve put this into the results as the low chemical diet is not designed to help people lose weight or
change their blood results. However, as mentioned earlier as I had minimal symptoms to start this
one is a bit hard, but unfortunately little to no change was noticed over the 3 weeks.
After the 3 weeks I had lost 1.2kg on the low chemical diet. This didn’t really come as much of a
surprise to me, as being restricted meant I was less likely to snack. In terms of my fat and lean mass
percentages – I had reduced my fat percentage by 3.9% and in return gained 1.8% lean mass.
My total energy intake did not really change between the two diets. My fat and protein intake
reduced and my carbohydrate increased which is not surprising as many of the allowed foods on the
low chemical diet are carbohydrates. Patients often tell me that they feel they are eating more
carbohydrate on the low chemical diet which is exactly what happened for me too. My sugar intake
decreased (likely due to less chocolate!). My fibre intake reduce marginally, which may have been
affected by the fact that both fruits and vegetables are limited on the diet but also it is
recommended to peel fruits and vegetables to reduce the chemical content.
Fatigue, happiness, sleep and vitality
There were no significant changes in any of these scores.
I had a small reduction in my total cholesterol after the 3 weeks, however my good cholesterol (HDL)
reduced and my bad cholesterol (triglycerides) increased. So although the total cholesterol level did
reduce, the balance between the good and bad worsened. None of the other blood tests showed
any clinical changes.
Awaiting results – watch this space!
Coffee: Coffee (or lack of) was one of my main concerns with following this diet. Because of this, I
took coffee out of my diet one week before the dare started to try and be past the caffeine
withdrawal symptoms before the rest of the diet started. Unfortunately I think it took a full week
and a half for my body to get used to the lack of coffee. One thing I will therefore take away from
this dare is to try and reduce my coffee intake. And so far, so good. I have managed to enjoy coffee
on some days but not have it as part of my daily routine. I’ve also learnt to enjoy the odd decaf!
Chocolate: I must admit that I am one to enjoy some chocolate, probably a little more regularly than
I should. One thing that did surprise me on the diet was that I did not miss it. I thought evenings
would be tough without my chocolate fix but in fact I didn’t miss it at all. However as it’s a few
weeks now since finishing I am afraid to say my evening chocolate cravings are creeping back.
Eggs: This dare showed me that there is really such a thing as too much of a good thing. I have
always been one to love eggs, and as they are allowed on the low chemical diet, eggs became my
new favourite snack. Except after two and half weeks of eggs on most days I ended up being
completely turned off them, hopefully my love for eggs will return soon.
So all in all the dare turned out to be not as difficult as I had expected, the first week or so was
probably the hardest and most stressful, but once I was into my new routine and had the
appropriate foods stocked up in my pantry it became much easier to manage.