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Abstract: Dietary practices of women diagnosed with environmental sensitivity

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Can J Diet Pract Res. 2005 Winter;66(4):256-9.

Glanville NT, Crawley PE.

Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS.

PURPOSE: Food avoidance is central to the treatment of environmental sensitivity (ES), a chronic, often debilitating, multisystem disorder characterized by adverse reactions to non-noxious levels of environmental substances. Because prolonged food avoidance could impact nutritional health, the purpose of this research was to assess adequacy and quality of diets consumed by women diagnosed with ES.

METHODS: Twelve women aged 37 to 50 recruited from the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Clinic completed a four-day food record during the spring and summer of 1998.

RESULTS: When adequacy of nutrient intake was assessed by comparison to the Estimated Average Requirement, the most limited nutrients in the diet were folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and magnesium. Only one woman exceeded the Adequate Intake for calcium.

When diet quality was assessed using the Healthy Eating Index, the majority of women (75%) scored in the “needs improvement” category; intake of milk and dietary variety scored the lowest. Women consumed very few servings from “other foods”, defined in the food guide as foods containing mostly sugar and mostly fat.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that women diagnosed with ES would benefit from counselling on ways to increase dietary variety, which would lead to improved nutrient intake, and ways to increase calcium intake.

PMID: 16332301 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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