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A Simple Guide to Common Specialised Diets

November 1, 2017 Honest to Goodness

There are many reasons for a specialised diet and they differ from person to person. Some of the more common ones include:

- Food allergies and intolerances — such as dairy, nuts, gluten, fish and shellfish allergies
- Special dietary requirements — vegetarian, vegan and pregnancy
- Religious reasons — halal

Consumers today are increasingly experimenting and engaging in a variety of special food lifestyles and diet choices. To help you keep up with these food trends, we have briefly explained some current diet trends below: 


CELIAC/GLUTEN FREE is due to an allergy or intolerance to gluten which can cause upset to the digestive system. Gluten is a composite of proteins found in grains such as wheat, spelt and barley. 

gluten free celiac diet

DAIRY/LACTOSE-FREE is due to an allergy to the proteins found in dairy (whey, casein, and albumin) or intolerance to lactose, which is a sugar present in cow and other animal milk. Any product that contains milk products is avoided, including cheeses, yoghurts, milk, ice cream, chocolate and creams.

EGG FREE avoids eggs due to an allergy to the egg white or egg yolk or both.

HALAL Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible.” In terms of food, it means food that is permissible according to Islamic law. For example, for meat to be certified “halal,” it cannot be from a forbidden animal (such as pork) or cut (such as meat from hindquarters). People that eat Halal foods may also avoid cakes, biscuits, ice cream and packaged food containing animal-based products such as fat, gelatine or enzymes in case it is derived from pigs. 

KETOGENIC/KETO DIET involves eating a very small amount of carbohydrates, a moderate amount of protein and a large proportion of fat per day. This causes the body to enter a state of 'ketosis' where it uses fat as its main source of fuel instead of glucose (from carbohydrates).

ketogenic diet

KOSHER  is a Hebrew word that means "fit, proper or correct". It is mostly used to describe food and drink that complies with Jewish religious dietary law. There are three categories of kosher foods: meat, dairy and pareve. Each food group fits into the Kosher guidelines and must be ritually handled and prepared to be considered kosher.

LOW FODMAP: FODMAP is an acronym for the short-chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that appear in foods, either naturally or as an additive. It stands for:

- Fermentable
- Oligosaccharides
- Disaccharides
- Monosaccharides
- And
- Polyols

These sugars ferment in the bowel and can cause irritation. These sugars include:

- Fructose, which naturally occurs in fruits and vegetables.
- Lactose, the sugar found in dairy
- Fructans, found in bread, pasta and other wheat-based products.
- Galactans are the fermentable carbohydrates found in certain legumes.
- Polyols are sugar alcohols found in stone fruits and apples.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET:  Inspired by the traditional diets of people who live around the Mediterranean sea, it emphasizes plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, plenty of extra-virgin olive oil, and fresh fish.

NUT FREE avoids nuts due to an allergy to peanuts or tree nuts or both.

PALEO or also known as the "caveman diet". Paleo draws from hunter-gatherer principles, focusing on whole, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts, seeds, meat, fish/seafood, and healthy fats and oils (olive, coconut, etc). Foods not allowed include cereal grains, legumes, dairy, corn, potatoes, and refined sugar. 

PESCETARIAN diet excludes red meat and chicken. Fish and other animal products including dairy and eggs are still consumed. 

RAW FOOD DIET followers consume only raw, uncooked and unrefined fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that have not been heated above 40–49 °C.

VEGAN DIET is completely plant-based which involves excluding all animal products such as eggs, honey, dairy and gelatine. 

VEGETARIAN is the exclusion of red meat, chicken or fish. Some vegetarian diets may also exclude eggs.

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