Using a Food and Symptom Journal to Track Down Food Intolerances

Rather than tracking my calories or my weight throughout this diet I have been using a food and symptom journal to keep track of the effect this food elimination has on my symptoms. The journal doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I have a simple form that I use, but a notebook and paper work fine.



It helps to keep track of food eaten, symptoms (including severity), and times of each to recognize trends and differences.



A common frustration people experience with food and symptom journals is that sometimes symptoms will occur right after eating a food, sometimes 4 hours later or 10 hours later or even longer depending on the type of symptom and the part of the body that is affected.  This makes identifying trends a real challenge. For example, it may seem that the symptom occurs every morning after having cereal for breakfast when it is really the night time peanut butter cookie you’re reacting to.

Identifying these trends is just as much of an art as it is a science. If you’re having trouble identifying the food-related cause of your symptoms, meet with a Registered Dietitian and bring in as many days worth of food and symptom journals as you can. RDs are trained to weed through the confusion and find trends that may be difficult to identify.