Nutrition Archives - Lifelab Testing

A List Of Nutritional New Year’s Resolutions

If you make a New Year’s resolution, it’s supposed to be one that changes your life for the better. It can be big, small, or somewhere in the middle. If you want to make this year’s resolution the best, you can start by looking at these nutritional New Year’s resolutions. These are designed to help you look at your body’s health potential in a new and unique light! You’ll learn about fad diets and the potential of fun in physical exercise. We’ll also talk about the role of complete body testing and the benefits of planning a menu for the year to come. We also discuss preventative health and how that can factor into your goals for this year.

Practical and nutritional New Year’s resolutions

A New Year’s resolution is a great idea, even if you feel slightly intimidated. Many people will assume it needs to be a huge, sweeping change that modifies every part of their life, but it doesn’t. It needs to be a focused, practical change that will improve your life daily and long term. To help you understand what that could look like, we’ve compiled a list of health-based resolutions to start you off.

Find a suitable diet for you

Many of us make resolutions about eating better, which is great! Some will rely on the current “fad diet” because it can help the follower lose weight quickly. While these diets can be exciting and offer short-term weight loss, they are not often sustainable long-term. If dieting is your resolution for this year, focus on a long-term diet change. This change will have the best chance of providing you with long-term weight loss at a healthy rate of 0.9 kg per week.

Try a series of fun physical exercise activities

There’s a myth floating around out there that unless you are a fitness junkie, physical exercise for weight loss can’t be fun. Realistically speaking, all physical activity — even the fun stuff — has health benefits. If you love to swim, 20-30 minutes of swimming in a pool is a great activity. If you love to dance, many dance-based workouts are great for your fitness goals. Fun exercises are easier to maintain, too, which is another crucial aspect to consider.

Another component is simply spending time outside can improve your health. It can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and improve mood. Try to factor in outside-based activities as often as possible!

Design a menu of whole foods

There is a lot of science to back up the benefits of whole foods. Eating a diet rich in whole foods is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health. Eating whole foods is also more sustainable than other types of diets that can help you lose weight. If you are new to whole foods, consider complete body testing as part of your plan. This can help you learn about any potential food sources to avoid if you have allergies or intolerances!

A fun way to transition into whole foods is to design a menu where one meal a week has whole foods. Once you get that down, add a second meal, and so on. Don’t forget to rank the foods you eat so that you know what you like and dislike the most!

Do one preventative health thing per month

Let’s be clear: making nutritional New Year’s resolutions will always be good. If you are in a place where there are things you can do to care for your health preventatively, add that to your list! If you suspect you have intolerances or allergies but have never had testing done, make room for complete body testing. If you have a family history of poor muscle tone in later years, focus on strength-training workouts to help keep yourself as strong as possible for as long as possible. Anything that you do is going to help. Prevention is always the best approach for health, and small daily steps can help you make significant differences to long-term, future health!

Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements

If you’ve got a solid list of nutritional New Year’s resolutions, that’s great! There is one more thing that you can do to add some extra success to your upcoming year. This is to celebrate milestones on the way to achieving your yearly goal. Celebrating important milestones is an essential way to help you see what great progress you’re making along the way, and it helps motivate you to keep on your health journey even after a bad day.

You can achieve your health goals in many ways throughout the year. When you see the variety in this list, it’s reassuring to know that this journey doesn’t have to be hard, boring, or frustrating. It’s just about coming at nutrition from a realistic point of view and finding simple, practical ways to add better nutrition to your daily life! Remember our allergy and intolerance tests are here to help you this year!

Diving Into Glycemic Foods: What You Need To Know

We may have all heard of the glycemic index (GI), but a little about glycemic foods. The glycemic index is a tool necessary for blood sugar management. Many factors determine the glycemic index of a food, including ripeness, method of preparation (cooking), level of processing the food has undergone, and nutrient composition

Awareness of the glycemic index helps you be more conscious of the foods you consume and what will enhance or decrease weight loss, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. 

What is the meaning of glycemic?

The glycemic index (GI) is a value used to measure how much certain foods increase your blood sugar level. Foods can be classified on a scale of 0-100 to show low, medium, and high-glycemic foods. The lower the glycemic index of a specific food, the less it affects blood sugar levels. The three glycemic index ratings include the following: 

  • Low: 55 or less
  • Medium: 56-69
  • High: 70 and above
low glycemic vs high glycemic

The GI rating system shows how quickly food you’ve eaten is converted into blood sugar (glucose) when the food is consumed on its own. Foods high in sugar and refined carbs are easily digested and converted to glucose, making them high-GI foods. 

Alternatively, foods high in fibre, protein, and fat have a low GI. Foods without carbs, like meat, poultry, herbs, nuts, seeds, spices, fish, and oils, aren’t assigned a GI. Besides GI, you also need to keep in mind the glycemic load. Glycemic load factors in the amount of carbs in one serving of food. 

By factoring in the carbs in every food serving, glycemic load helps determine how a portion of food can affect your blood sugar levels. 

Factors affecting the glycemic index of food

The glycemic index of foods explains factors that can influence how fast a specific food raises your blood sugar. Some of the factors that affect a food’s glycemic index include:

  • Food’s cooking method: How you prepare food can change its GI. The longer you cook your food, the faster your body breaks it down and absorbs glucose. So, longer-cooked food has a higher GI.
  • The amount of processing a carbohydrate has undergone: Processing, including grinding and rolling, disrupt the molecules amylose and amylopectin. Amylose tends to be difficult to digest, while amylopectin is easily digested. The more a food is refined or undergoes processing, the higher its GI. 
  • The fibre level of food: Adding proteins and fats to a meal slows digestion, reducing your glycemic response to a meal. 
  • Food’s chemical and physical structure: When your food is rich in amylose, it will have a lower GI. However, foods high in amylopectin content have higher GI. 
  • Types of sugars in food: Not all sugars have a GI. The glycemic index of any food depends on the type of sugar it contains. For example, fructose can sometimes be as little as 23 and 105 for maltose.
  • Food ripeness: Unripe fruits contain complex carbs which convert into sugars. The riper fruit, the higher its GI. For example, an overripe mango’s GI is 56, while that of a raw mango is 51. 

Simply put, refined and processed carbohydrates metabolize and are converted into glucose quickly by your body. However, foods with more fibre, protein, and fats metabolize slowly, thus releasing sugar glucose into the blood gradually, hence a low GI. Overcooked foods are already broken down immensely, and when you eat them, it metabolizes easily, and the body absorbs glucose fast. 

Low glycemic foods

Low and medium-glycemic foods are ones that the body breaks down slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time instead of a spike. You don’t have to count calories but swap high-GI foods for low-GI alternatives when following a low-GI diet. 

You can choose to have plenty of nutritious foods you can have that have a low glycemic index. Some of these foods include: 

  • Fruits: Peaches, plums, apples, strawberries, apricots, pears, kiwis, tomatoes, and others.
  • Starchy vegetables: Winter squash, sweet potatoes (with orange flesh), yams, and others. 
  • Legumes: Beans (various varieties like black, butter, and kidney), chickpeas, lentils and more.
  • Noodles and rice: Basmati, Doongara, long grain, and brown rice. Vermicelli, soba, and rice noodles. 
  • Vegetables: Zucchini, kale, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and more. 
  • Grains: Semolina, couscous, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, etc. 
  • Dairy and dairy alternatives: Yoghurt, cheese, milk, and plant milk alternatives. 
  • Bread and breakfast cereals: Multigrain, whole grain, sourdough, rye, bran flakes, and steel-cut oats.

You can use these low glycemic foods to prepare a menu and create a low GI diet. Additionally, some foods don’t contain carbohydrates and hence don’t have a GI value. You can incorporate these foods into your low-GI diet. These include: 

  • Seafood: Salmon, trout, prawns, sardines, and fish. 
  • Herbs and spices: Pepper, salt, dill, basil, and garlic. 
  • Nuts: Macadamia, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and cashews. 
  • Fats and oils: Avocado, butter, and olive oil among otters. 
  • Animal products: Beef, chicken, pork, eggs and lamb.

Are foods with low glycemic index healthier?

Some foods with a low glycemic index should be part of our everyday balanced diet. These include fruits, whole grains, vegetables, lentils and beans. However, you should refrain from using the glycemic index to determine whether food combinations are healthy because that can be misleading. 

Just because some foods have a high GI doesn’t mean they’re bad for you. Similarly, not all low-GI foods are healthy for you. For example, a parsnip can be a high-GI food, while a chocolate cake has a lesser GI value. 

You’ll also find that foods containing fats or ones cooked in fats also have a lower GI. For example, potato crisps have a lower GI than those that aren’t deep-fried. However, since crisps are high in fat, they should be consumed in moderation. 

If you only consumed foods with a low GI, you might consume a diet ful of fats and otherwise unbalanced. 

Low glycemic foods and diabetes

Diabetes affects millions worldwide. When one suffers from the disease, they can’t process sugar as healthy people do. Therefore, their blood sugar levels get affected easily.

Good blood sugar control, however, helps delay or prevent the onset of complications like stroke, heart disease, and kidney and nerve damage. When one’s suffering from diabetes, studies suggest that a low GI diet can help reduce blood sugar levels. 

Low Glycemic Foods

Moreover, according to studies, high GI diets tend to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One study with over 205,000 participants showed that high GI diets have a 33% risk of type 2 diabetes in contrast to those consuming a low GI diet. 

Understanding the glycemic index is necessary for those suffering from diabetes as it can help them control blood sugar by consuming foods with a low GI level. However, some factors must be considered when following a low GI diet. 

For example, studies show that the amount of carbohydrates you consume rather than their GI rating determines your blood sugar levels after a meal. Consuming a diet low in fat, salt, and sugar and high in fresh vegetables and fruits is also necessary. People with diabetes need to consult a diabetes nutritionist before making dietary changes.

Benefits of a low glycemic diet

Besides helping manage blood sugar levels, low GI foods have many other benefits, which include: 

  • Weight loss: Low GI foods may help you lose weight because they can cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall slowly, keeping you full for longer. When you’re full longer, you don’t get the urge to eat more frequently, which can help you manage your weight. 
  • Improved cholesterol levels: According to various studies, low GI diets lower total cholesterol in the blood and, even more so, LDL cholesterol. When high in the blood, LDL cholesterol increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. 
  • May reduce heart disease risk: According to multiple researchers, high GI and GL diets are commonly associated with a higher risk of heart disease. 
  • May reduce risk of cancer: High GI diets, according to certain studies, suggest that high GI diets can increase the risk of cancers like colorectal, endometrial, and breast cancer.

High glycemic foods

High GI foods raise blood sugar promptly and can end up causing health problems if one consumes too much of these foods too often. If you want to manage weight and reduce the risk of diabetes or manage blood glucose, avoiding high glycemic foods should be considered. 

Some examples of high-glycemic foods include: 

  • White rice 
  • White bread 
  • Cookies, cakes, and sweet treats
  • Potatoes and fires 
  • Some fruits like pineapple and watermelon
  • Breakfast cereals and cereal bars 
  • Sweetened dairy products 
  • Sugary foods, drinks, and sugar

Managing foods with allergies and intolerances

The glycemic index is important in determining foods to eat when you need to control your blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. The best way to discover which foods are healthy is by ensuring you consume less processed foods, more fresh fruits and low glycemic vegetables. But what if you have allergies and intolerances?

When adapting your diet, acknowledging your allergies and intolerances is an important factor to consider. If you’re unsure of your allergies You can discover them by taking our Complete Body Test which analyses your blood sample against 38 allergies and 79 intolerances. For any further information on how to manage your allergy or intolerance in addition to taking control of the glycemic food you eat, you can speak to a member of our team for advice on testing.

Which Foods Trigger IBS Attacks?

A person suffering from IBS symptoms

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that affects the large intestine and in turn the digestive system. If you suffer from IBS, you’re not alone, as 1 in 5 adults are affected by the condition making it fairly common.

IBS causes symptoms such as stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea, and constipation, which can last for a varying amount of time, and tend to come and go over time.

There’s currently no cure for IBS and the disorder can be difficult to live with, especially around mealtime. A change in diet, whilst frustrating, can help to improve avoiding symptoms.

Common IBS Triggers

Our Complete Intolerance Test

Discovering what your personal trigger foods are can help alleviate symptoms and give you a little more freedom when it comes to dinner time.

However, IBS isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ condition and foods can affect people differently. What’s more, it may not be practical to cut out all foods immediately – so you should instead make a list of suspect foods that you know trigger your IBS symptoms and eliminate them one by one over time to see if it makes a difference to your lifestyle.

Alternatively, our intolerance tests can identify which items may be triggering your IBS attacks to help effectively optimise your diet change. That said, here are the common foods that trigger IBS attacks:

Fried and fatty foods

High fat foods including cheese, fries, and fatty meats can be difficult on the digestive system, especially when suffering with IBS. The chemical makeup of food can be changed when frying, which can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, most notably diarrhoea.

If you’re finding it difficult to cut out these foods, grilling or baking may reduce the severity of IBS symptoms, as well as being a healthier alternative.


Dairy is an important component of a healthy diet due to it being calcium-rich. However many dairy products are high in fat which can trigger IBS symptoms. High fat dairy products can include:

  • Heavy Cream.
  • Whole Milk Yogurt.
  • Whole Milk.
  • Butter
  • Full-Fat Cheese.

It’s also unclear whether people suffering from IBS are more susceptible to lactose intolerance. However, switching to low fat dairy or dairy alternatives such as plant milks may reduce the severity of IBS symptoms.

If, for whatever reason, you need to cut out dairy altogether, make sure to include calcium rich foods into your diet such as:

  • White beans
  • Almonds
  • Sardines
  • Seeds
  • Dried figs


Found in foods such as pasta, bread, and cookies, wheat contains the gluten protein which around 5% of the population are allergic to. The symptoms produced by gluten disorders, such as coeliac disease, are very similar to IBS and therefore it’s difficult to distinguish which disorder you may be suffering from.


Fibre is a carbohydrate component of food and plays a key role in normalising bowel habits. There are two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble, and the body reacts differently to each. This means that each type of fibre can help your IBS symptoms or trigger them.

Think of fibre like a tap. Soluble fibre slows down the digestive tract which helps with diarrhoea, whereas insoluble fibre speeds up the process, relieving constipation.

Depending on your IBS symptoms, react with the correct type of fibre to help alleviate your suffering.

High fibre fruits and Vegetables
High fibre fruits and Vegetables

Soluble fibre is found in:

  • Apples
  • Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pears
  • Avocados

Insoluble fibre can be found in:

  • Blackberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Leafy greens
  • Zucchini
  • Rolled oats
  • Brown rice


A piece of chocolate (or a whole bar) is often the perfect treat to satisfy that sweet tooth. However due to its ingredients containing sugar, lactose, caffeine, and typically being high in fat, chocolate can often be a IBS trigger food, leading sufferers to experience constipation.

But who really wants to cut out chocolate? Trying a plant-based alternative may help reduce the severity of your IBS symptoms.

Caffeinated and fizzy drinks

Giving up your morning coffee may be a deal breaker for most, but caffeinated drinks can often cause diarrhoea due to a stimulating effect on the intestines. Energy drinks, fizzy soft drinks and coffee can therefore be a trigger for IBS symptoms.

If you’re finding it difficult to cut these out altogether, decaffeinated versions of your favourite beverages may help reduce the severity of your symptoms.


Alongside being difficult to digest, alcohol leads to dehydration which has even further effects on the digestive system. Plus different alcoholic drinks can have varied effects on the body and therefore could trigger IBS symptoms; beer, for example, often contains gluten, and wines and mixers can contain high amounts of sugar.

Processed foods

Processed foods are simply foods that have been altered in any way during preparation; this can include canning, baking, freezing, and drying. Whilst not all processed foods are unhealthy, eating a lot of them can lead to serious health issues for anyone as they contain a high quantity of added salt, sugar, and fat. They also include additives and preservatives which can trigger IBS. Processed foods include:

  • Cereal
  • Crisps
  • Sausage rolls
  • Ready meals
  • Biscuits

Identifying Personal IBS Trigger Foods

You’ve narrowed down your IBS trigger food list, now how do you put the elimination diet into practice?

The elimination diet should begin with a cleanse of all trigger foods on your list. Keeping a food diary is recommended here to keep track of your progress, as well as charting symptoms. If you’re noticing that your symptoms are being alleviated, it means that the elimination diet is working.

Elimination diets should be a short term experiment, as many of the foods you are cutting out will be important for a healthy diet.

Once you’ve eliminated your trigger foods, it’s time to slowly reintroduce them. Take one food type at a time and eat a small amount to see if your symptoms resurge. If they don’t, try a larger amount the following day. Please note that symptoms could take a few days to appear after eating the trigger food.

Repeat the process for each trigger food and log your results in your food diary. Please note that you should only be sampling only one of your trigger foods at a time to keep the results accurate.

Looking to speed up the process? Read how our food sensitivity test can help IBS sufferers.

Low FODMAP Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes

Following a low FODMAP diet may seem very restricting and hard to follow, but it is even more restricting when you’re a vegetarian or vegan. That’s because when you cut out meat and meat byproducts, your diet will consist mostly of vegetables, fruits and grains, which are high in FODMAPs. Even though low FODMAP vegetarian and vegan recipes may be restrictive, they are suitable for balancing gut bacteria and keeping them healthy. Meat isn’t good for your gut, especially when suffering from SIBO or IBS. Considering it can be difficult to maintain a low FODMAP diet if you’re vegetarian or vegan, we’ve put together some great recipes for you to follow. These vegetarian low FODMAP recipes will help you figure out what to cook.

Low FODMAP vegetarian recipes

These vegetarian recipes help you stay consuming low FODMAP foods without meat. Some of these recipes have cheese, while others are completely plant-based.

Banana and oat pancakes topped with banana slices

Low FODMAP banana oat pancake recipe


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 medium ripe bananas (with spots on them)
  • 2 ¼ cups unsweetened plant milk
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar
  • ½ TSP cinnamon powder
  • ¼ TSP vanilla extract


  1. Add oats, banana, plant milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla into a blender and let it blend until smooth.
  2. Heat a nonstick pan on medium-low heat.
  3. Scoop the batter using ⅓ cup and pour the batter into the pan. Let the pancake cook until bubbles appear on the top, then check if the bottom has browned and flip the pancake. 
  4. Serve warm.

Cheese free frittata on a wooden platter

Low FODMAP cheese free frittata


  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 8 eggs
  • ¼ cup plant milk
  • Salt to taste
  • ⅛ TSP pepper
  • ¼ cup vegan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh dill
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions (white parts)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh spinach


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°C.
  2. In a huge bowl, beat eggs with plant milk, and add dill and dairy-free cheese.
  3. Add oil to a cast iron oven-safe skillet. Ensure you spread the oil along all the bottom edges of the pan.
  4. On medium heat, heat the pan and add tomatoes, green onions, and spinach and heat for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in the beaten egg mixture and stir to ensure it’s evenly mixed with the vegetables.
  6. Let the mixture cook until you see the edges begin to firm up. The middle part will still be very wet, and that’s okay.
  7. Transfer the skillet to the oven, letting it cook for 10 minutes. The frittata will cook and become spongy to the touch in the centre.
  8. Remove when cooked and sprinkle with chopped tomatoes.

Cucumber salad with tomatoes

Low FODMAP cucumber salad recipe


  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ TSP Dijon mustard
  • A handful of chopped dill and parsley
  • A handful of rocket finely chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 5 medium cucumbers chopped
  • 100g greek feta cheese
  • ⅓ cup pitted olives
  • ½ walnuts
  • ½ avocado
  • Finely grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • Sprinkle toasted sesame or hemp seeds


  1. Whisk olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, and seasoning in a bowl. Add dill and parsley.
  2. Add the rocket, tomatoes, and cucumbers and combine well. Check for seasoning and adjust where needed.
  3. Only add avocado when eating, as it oxidises and turns black when it sits.

Low FODMAP vegan recipes

Following a vegan diet means avoiding all animal products and byproducts. These low-FODMAP vegan recipes will help you have meals that are filling and within your diet restrictions.

Pasta topped with coriander and red cabbage

Low FODMAP pasta recipe


  • 340g rice pasta boiled and drained
  • 115g red cabbage finely shredded
  • 85g snow peas
  • 30g kale (minus its rib)
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned or grated
  • ⅔ cup chopped scallions
  • ½ red bell pepper cut into thin slices without seeds


  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • Warm water
  • ½ TSP sugar
  • 2 tbsp lime juice


  1. Mix peanut butter, water, sugar, and lime juice and whisk in a bowl. Add water to the desired consistency.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, snow peas, kale, carrot, scallions, bell pepper, and noodles.
  3. Pour the dressing over the mixed salad and noodles and combine until evenly coated. The salad is ready to serve. You can keep it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 3 days.

Pasta with pumpkin and cheese

Low FODMAP pasta recipe


  • 4 cups FODMAP-friendly pasta, cooked
  • 2 medium freshly roasted red bell peppers or one jar of red bell pepper, drained
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil
  • 1 cup plant milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or tapioca
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. If you don’t have a jar of bell pepper, preheat the oven to 450F. Line the baking sheet with aluminium foil and place the halved peppers cut side down. Roast for 25 minutes or until the skin is charred and wrinkled. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a while, then put it in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit until cool to the touch. After they’re cool, remove the skin, discarding those so you can use the flesh in this recipe.
  2. Cook the pasta, drain, and toss with little olive oil, then set aside.
  3. Put the red peppers, nutritional yeast, basil, olive oil, milk, tapioca starch and pumpkin puree into a blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the blended mixture over a pan and let it sit until it simmers. Once it simmers, occasionally stir until it thickens, then add pasta and toss mix. Here, you can season to taste.
  5. Serve warm with preferred garnishes.

Stir-fry vegetables in a pan

Low FODMAP stir fry


For sauce

  • 2 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp dark soy or tamari sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp red sherry
  • 1 tbsp sweetener (maple syrup or brown sugar)
  • White pepper


  • 2 tbsp gluten-free cornflour or potato starch
  • 1 tbsp water

Stir fry

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • ½ bunch of green onions
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 broccoli head
  • 2 medium red capsicums
  • 30g ginger
  • 1 bunch of Chinese broccoli
  • 500g cubed tofu
  • 200g can of water chestnuts


  • Sesame oil
  • Remaining spring onions
  • Toasted sesame seeds


  1. Combine all sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Chop all stir-fry ingredients and have them ready to go.
  3. Over medium-high heat, heat your wok with oil. Once the oil is hot, add half the green onions, and cook until bright green.
  4. Start adding vegetables, from the hard ones to ones that quickly cook. So, carrots go first, followed by broccoli, red capsicums, Chinese broccoli, tofu and water chestnuts.
Our Complete Intolerance Test Box.

The above low FODMAP vegetarian and vegan recipes will help you find better ways to follow your desired diet and still consume low FODMAP meals. To have full control of your health, however, we recommend taking an Intolerance Test to determine which foods cause you symptoms. With a complete intolerance test, you are eligible for a free 30-minute consultation with one of our specialist nutritional therapists who will help you to plan your diet. When you know your tolerance level to every FODMAP, you can easily customise your recipes to suit your needs and stay free from those uncomfortable symptoms.

Healthy Eating Tips for the New Year

New Year is a time to reflect on the year that’s passed, as well as consider personal changes you want to make in this upcoming year. For many individuals, wanting to take control of their health and diet is a common New Year resolution. According to Statista, 43% of UK adults’ resolution in 2022 was to eat healthier. It can be difficult, however, to know how to make positive lifestyle changes that can be maintained over time, as many fail to keep up their resolution throughout the year.

At Lifelab Testing, we want to give you a helping hand in forming a healthier lifestyle this year. To do this, we encourage you to learn more about your body internally before you form a New Year diet plan. You could eat extremely healthily but still feel fatigued and bloated if you are suffering from an intolerance or allergy.

Allergy and Intolerance Testing

Start this new year by understanding how your body reacts to the foods that you’re consuming. Although you may be consuming healthy foods, if your body lacks the enzyme to digest certain foods or your immune system reacts to particular food items, you’d be dealing with an intolerance or allergy. Because of this, we suggest that before you plan any diet, you should consider which foods your body can tolerate well or not. Allergy and Intolerance testing can indicate which foods you should avoid in your diet so as to not experience symptoms.

If you feel excessive bloating, stomach pain or heartburn after eating certain meals, you could have an undiagnosed intolerance that’s impacting your digestion. Through taking a Complete Intolerance Test at home, you can see how your body reacts to 159 food items. Your journey doesn’t end here, as you are entitled to a free 30-minute session with Nutritional Therapist to help you understand your results and plan any lifestyle changes.

On the other hand, if you are unsure whether your symptoms are more severe and could be an allergy, you can take a Complete Body Test which analyses your sample to test for both allergies and intolerances.

Elimination Diet Plan

A notebook with a diet plan
Notebook with a diet plan

If your results indicate you have an allergy or intolerance, it is important to now evaluate your diet moving forwards. For individuals with allergies, this will involve completely removing the harmful food from your diet and finding alternatives. For those with intolerances, it is recommended that you remove these foods using an elimination diet. This cleansing starts to restore balance in body systems and stimulates excretory organs. Once you are sure of which foods cause you internal issues, your new year goal of eating healthier can truly begin.

New year diet plan

Now that you’re aware of which foods are positive to be consuming for your own health, we can begin to look at some great recipes to kick start your new year. Below, we’ve included some great healthy recipes for breakfast and lunch.

Breakfast Recipes

Balanced breakfast

  • Place gluten-free rice cakes on a plate and spoon cottage cheese to cover them (if vegan, swap cottage cheese for a non-dairy alternative or make your own).
  • Sprinkle with a range of tasty toppings like chopped strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and chopped nuts for protein.

Gluten free breakfast

  • Place a large handful of spinach into a lightly oiled frying pan and wilt gently.
  • Turn spinach onto a plate.
  • Scramble two eggs then place on top of the spinach.
  • If wanted, sprinkle sesame seeds on top for extra essential fatty acids.

Fruit for breakfast

  • Enjoy a yummy breakfast of live yoghurt to help your digestive system.
  • Add in your favourite fruits, like bananas, pears or apples.

Lunch recipe

One lunch recipe we love, combines a mixture of protein and vegetables for a healthy choice.

  • Start with a large handful of mixed salad leaves.
  • Sprinkle a mixture of seeds such as pomegranate seeds, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds.
  • For protein, choose between salmon, hard boiled eggs, prawns, hams or cheeses.
  • For a vegan alternative, choose lentils or beans as your source of protein.

Choosing Low Glycemic Index Foods

If you suffer from an intolerance or allergy, it could limit your diet choices when you have to refrain from eating certain foods to avoid symptoms. For individuals living with type two diabetes or looking to lose weight, you may be wondering how to plan your diet around your allergies or intolerances while keeping sugar levels down. With this, you could benefit from referring to the food glycemic index. Within this guide, we will look into what the glycemic index is, including the difference between high and low glycemic index foods categorised by food groups.

What is a glycemic index?

The glycemic index (GI) is where foods are ranked on a scale of 1-100 based on how your blood sugar is impacted after eating a type of food. Foods are categorised into three glycemic index ratings:

  • Low: 55 or less.
  • Medium: 56–69.
  • High: 70 or above.

High GI foods are broken down and digested quickly so they cause rapid spikes in blood glucose levels. This typically means foods high in refined carbohydrates and sugar have a high glycemic index. Therefore, choosing low glycemic foods could be useful when you are attempting to keep your blood sugar down.

How does the glycemic index help?

If you’re looking for ways to take control of sugar levels in what you consume, then looking at the glycemic index of foods could be beneficial, particularly for those with diabetes who struggle with maintaining healthy blood glucose levels.

It can also be helpful for individuals looking to lose weight, as blood sugar increases can encourage your body to store fat rather than burn it. It is important to note, however, that foods with low GI are not all necessarily healthy and not all high GI foods are unhealthy. Instead, low GI foods could help you feel fuller for longer since blood sugar levels rise and fall more slowly, thus allowing you to control your appetite more effectively.

Glycemic Index Chart

For people looking for the glycemic index score of different foods, we want to help by showing you the glycemic index of the most searched foods. We’ve split this information into tables separated by fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, grains/cereals/legumes, and sweeteners.

All glycemic index numbers are an average and will vary depending on factors such as different sized portions and different food types e.g. macaroni vs penne pasta. The glycemic index can also vary person to person, depending on how their body processes foods.

Fruits glycemic index

Although fruit is a healthy addition to any diet, fruit contains hidden sugars that occur naturally. There are some fruits with a lower glycemic index than others, which you can see below.

Food TypeGlycemic Index (on average)
Grapefruit Glycemic Index25
Apricot Glycemic Index34
Plum Glycemic Index35
Nectarine Glycemic Index35
Pears Glycemic Index38
Apple Glycemic Index40
Strawberries Glycemic Index41
Peach Glycemic Index42
Orange Glycemic Index42
Coconut Glycemic Index42
Grapes Glycemic Index46
Pomegranate Glycemic Index53
Blueberries Glycemic Index53
Banana Glycemic Index58
Watermelon Glycemic Index72
Melon Glycemic Index72

Glycemic index of vegetables

Below, you can see the glycemic index of some of the most commonly searched for vegetables.

Food TypeGlycemic Index (on average)
Broccoli Glycemic Index15
Green Beans Glycemic Index32
Carrots Glycemic Index (boiled)33
Butternut Squash Glycemic Index51
Sweetcorn Glycemic Index55
Beetroot Glycemic Index61
Sweet Potato Glycemic Index64
Swede Glycemic Index72
Potato Glycemic Index (boiled)78

Glycemic carbohydrates

When carbohydrates are eaten, the digestive system breaks them down into sugar which enters the bloodstream. Because of this, it’s important to look at the glycemic index of different carbohydrates.

Food TypeGlycemic Index (on average)
Glycemic Index Brown Rice50
Basmati Rice Glycemic Index50
Quinoa Glycemic Index53
Pasta Glycemic Index53
Sourdough Bread Glycemic Index54
Pizza Glycemic Index60 (when plain)
Couscous Glycemic Index60
Chapati Glycemic Index62
Rye Bread Glycemic Index65
Jasmine Rice Glycemic Index68
White Rice Glycemic Index72
Brown Bread Glycemic Index73
Rice Cake Glycemic Index82
White Bread Glycemic Index100

Glycemic index of sweeteners

For individuals with diabetes, it is important to regulate sugar levels, meaning many people  look to sugar alternatives so that blood glucose levels do not reach too high. Alternatives include sweeteners or natural sugars such as honey and dates.

Food TypeGlycemic Index (on average)
Stevia Glycemic Index0
Carob Syrup Glycemic Index15
Agave Syrup Glycemic Index17
Dark Chocolate Glycemic Index23
Fructose Glycemic Index25
Date Glycemic Index42
Milk Chocolate Glycemic Index42
Maple Syrup Glycemic Index54
Manuka Honey Glycemic Index57
Honey Glycemic Index58
Sucralose Glycemic Index65
Sugar Glycemic Index65
Glucose Glycemic Index100

Glycemic index of grains, cereals and legumes

Food TypeGlycemic Index (on average)
Kidney Beans Glycemic Index24
Barley Glycemic Index28
Pearl Barley Glycemic Index28
Gram Flour Glycemic Index29
Black Beans Glycemic Index30
Glycemic Index Of Beans33
Buckwheat Glycemic Index34
Steel Cut Oats Glycemic Index42
Bulgur Wheat Glycemic Index46
Corn Glycemic Index52
Oats Glycemic Index55
Bran Flakes Glycemic Index55
Shredded Wheat Glycemic Index67

Managing diabetes with allergies

The first thing to consider when adapting your diet is whether you’re sure which allergy or intolerance is causing your symptoms. You can discover this through taking a Complete Body Test which analyses your blood sample against 38 allergies and 79 intolerances. Once you have your results, you can tailor your diet to ensure you are eating healthily and avoiding foods that cause symptoms. With this complete test, you are also entitled to a free 30 minute consultation with a nutritional therapist, who can help you to form an optimal diet.

If you’d like further information on how to manage your allergy or intolerance in addition to taking control of sugar levels, you can speak to a member of our team for advice on testing.

The FODMAP Diet Explained

Do you suffer from digestive issues after eating certain foods but you’re unsure of the cause? You may benefit from learning more about FODMAPs. Within this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about what ‘FODMAP’ is, and how to target this issue through changes to your diet.

What is FODMAP?

FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates known as short-chain carbohydrates. For certain individuals, the consumption of these carbohydrates can lead to a variety of painful symptoms, including bloating, distended abdomen, flatulence, cramps, diarrhoea and constipation. FODMAPs are known to exacerbate a number of common digestive disorders.

FODMAP stands for Fermentable, Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and polyols. In certain individuals, the short-chain carbohydrates, or FODMAP foods, are poorly digested in the small intestine. The undigested food particles travel to the large intestine, where the gut bacteria begin the process of fermentation. In this process, water is drawn into the large intestine and carbon dioxide, hydrogen and methane are produced. It is the production of these gases, which results in uncomfortable symptoms.

Meaning of FODMAP

FODMAP is an acronym which includes four main groups of carbohydrates, or saccharides(sugars). The acronym FODMAP is explained below:

  • Fermentable – can be fermented by bacteria in the large intestine.
  • Oligosaccharides – ‘oligo’ means few, sugar molecules in a chain.
  • Disaccharides – ‘di’ means two, a double sugar molecule.
  • Monosaccharides – ‘mono’ means one, a single sugar molecule.
  • Polyols – sugar alcohols.

High FODMAP foods

The number of fructans, galactans, lactose, fructose, sorbitol or mannitol in a food item will vary from one to the next. For example, apples would be classed as a high FODMAP fruit, whereas strawberries would be classed as a low FODMAP food.These certain foods that are higher in FODMAPs should be taken into account when engaging in a low FODMAP diet. You should also consider how your body may be able to tolerate high FODMAP foods in small quantities, but a large portion will produce a high FODMAP load.

These high FODMAP foods include:

  • Vegetables: garlic, onion, leek, asparagus, artichoke, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, mushrooms.
  • Fruits: apple, pear, mango, peach, cherry, dried fruit, plum, blackberries, watermelon.
  • Dairy: products containing lactose such as cow’s milk, ice cream, yoghurt.
  • Grains and cereals: wheat/barley/rye based breads, wheat pasta, muesli.
  • Legumes and pulses: Red kidney beans, baked beans, almonds, black beans.
  • Sugars and sweeteners: high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave nectar, malt extract.
  • Nuts and seeds: cashew nuts, pistachios.

Low FODMAP foods

If you are suffering from symptoms when consuming high FODMAP foods, it is recommended that you undertake a low FODMAP diet for a period of time to see if this eases your symptoms. You will be able to determine if your body struggles to digest highFODMAP foods once they are removed from your diet. A list of low FODMAP food includes:

  • Vegetables: aubergine, bok choy, bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber.
  • Fruits: orange, kiwi, mandarin, pineapple.
  • Dairy: lactose-free milk, hard cheeses, feta cheese. Grains and cereals:quinoa, brown rice, wheat/rye/barley free breads.
  • Legumes and pulses: protein substitutes such as tofu, tempeh, eggs.
  • Sugars and sweeteners: table sugar, maple syrup, dark chocolate.
  • Nuts and seeds: other nuts and seeds are suitable to eat.

Low FODMAP diet

If you experience uncomfortable symptoms when eating high FODMAP foods, it is recommended that you engage in a low FODMAP diet. This diet has been shown to improve people’s symptoms of IBS. A low FODMAP diet involves restriction, reintroduction and personalisation.


Firstly, you will follow a low FODMAP diet, removing highly rated items from your diet. You may want to discuss with your doctor or dietician how this can be achieved to ensure you are still maintaining a healthy diet. Your restricted diet should not prevent you from getting the right nutrients, so you should consider substitutes once you remove an item. This elimination diet will take place for 6-8 weeks to see if your symptoms subside.

FODMAP reintroduction

If you choose to engage in a low FODMAP diet, this does not mean that you will never be able to eat high FODMAP foods again. It is thought that once your body has got used to digesting just low FODMAP foods, you can begin to slowly reintroduce each of the highFODMAP items while monitoring your symptoms. Through doing this, you will be able to determine which food items you can tolerate or not.


Some people will experience symptoms after consuming certain FODMAP foods but not others. It is trial and error to discover which items your body can tolerate or not. From this, you can create a diet that is tailored to your needs where you are still getting the correct amount of nutrients and are no longer suffering from digestive issues.

FODMAP and Food Intolerance

Individuals who are sensitive or intolerant to FODMAP foods are not necessarily intolerant to all of them. It is a case of understanding those that cause discomfort and symptoms through a process of elimination.

This process can be accelerated with the use of an intolerance test, which will analyse your blood sample against 159 key allergens. Complete your intolerance test at home and sendoff your sample to our dedicated laboratory where it will be analysed and your results sent back to you. From this test, you will have an indication of which foods to remove in your elimination diet. If you order a complete test, you are also entitled to a free 30 minute consultation with one of our nutritional therapists. Together, you can plan any lifestyle changes based on your results.

It is important to note that being intolerant or sensitive to certain FODMAP foods may or may not coexist alongside IgG4 intolerance, and this is a highly individual matter. If you do decide to consult our Lifelab Testing nutrition team on your results, FODMAP foods may be an area we discuss with you. FODMAP foods can exacerbate the symptoms of a food intolerance, so it is important to consider them in your elimination journey. If you’d like to order an allergy or intolerance test but are unsure which to choose, get in touch with our helpful customer service team or try our simple test chooser tool.

What are the Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies?

Nutritional deficiencies can cause all kinds of trouble within our bodies. From fatigue and brain fog to more sinister effects like jaundice, osteoporosis and infertility. We all know the importance of a balanced diet, but there are still several nutrients that we are commonly found to be deficient in.

Here are a few of the most common nutritional deficiencies and how you can prevent a deficiency;


Iron is a vital mineral in order for your body to produce fresh red blood cells. It makes up a large part of those oxygen transporters and is important for our health. As blood is how all of our cells receive the nutrients they need, it’s key that our body can adequately produce blood cells to get those nutrients sent around.

The world health organisation (WHO) has said that iron deficiency is highly common [2] and highlighted it as an important nutrient we should aim to consume more of. They also back the fortification of grains with iron. The 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans [1] stated that a large number of fertile women are at risk of iron deficiency anaemia, due to insufficient iron in their diet. Affecting more than 25% of the worldwide population, iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies around [3].

There are two types of dietary iron; Heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is more easily absorbed by the body – it has better bioavailability – meaning you don’t have to consume nearly as much of it to reach your required intake. Heme iron is found only in animal products – red meat is especially high in this mineral. Non-heme iron isn’t as readily absorbed into the blood. Non-heme iron is more common, found in both animal and plant foods.


Iodine is especially important for normal thyroid function and regulating your metabolism. Our thyroid hormones are vital to other bodily processes such as growth, bone maintenance and brain development. So, it’s particularly important for children and adolescents.

Severe iodine deficiency can result in developmental abnormalities and may even cause mental retardation. But the most common symptoms of iodine deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland, which can cause weight gain, shortness of breath and a faster heart rate.

Unfortunately, nearly a third of the world is still deficient in iodine [4], in both industrialised and developing nations [5]. Experts have recommended widespread iodised table salt to help combat this.


Calcium is another nutrient needed for every cell in the body. It’s vital during times of rapid growth (looking at you, puberty) and is also important for bone health. If your blood becomes lacking in calcium, your bones will release some into the blood, which is why low levels of calcium in the diet can eventually cause brittle bone disease (osteoporosis).

A united states survey found that less than 22% of teenage boys and men over 50 met the recommended calcium intake [9]. With fewer than 15% of teenaged girls and under 10% of women over 50 meeting this recommendation too [9]. That equates to an estimation of over 80% of teenagers and people over 50 consuming less than the recommended intake of calcium on a regular basis.

You can increase your calcium intake by consuming boned fish, dairy products and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach. Supplementation has come under some heavy debate recently, so we are reluctant to recommend this approach.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is used to inform your body’s gene expression and maintain bone health. It’s produced in your skin upon exposure to sunlight, meaning those who live further from the equator a likely to be at risk of deficiency without supplementation.

Vitamin D deficiency is a very common condition with an estimated 74% of UK adults (25 Years or older) having levels below the optimum level for wellbeing. This is more concerning than you might at first expect, as chronic deficiency could lead to adverse health consequences – increasing the risk of many diseases from cancer to diabetes to heart disease [7].

It’s not all bad news though. Research indicates that supplementing vitamin D if you don’t get adequate sun exposure may be beneficial in maintaining optimal blood levels of this essential vitamin [6].

Vitamin B12

Every single cell in your body needs vitamin B12 to function properly. Yet, your body is unable to produce it on its own and the nutrient must be ingested via food or supplements. It is only found in large quantities in animal products – but seaweed may have small amounts of B12.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to a condition known as megaloblastic anaemia – a blood disorder that enlarges the red blood cells. Because the body cannot produce this vitamin and it is only available in mostly animal products, risk of deficiency is high. Absorption of the vitamin decreases with age making the elderly especially vulnerable to deficiency.

Because vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal products, vegans and vegetarians should take extra care in ensuring they consume enough vitamin B12. Studies indicate that vegans who do not ingest vitamin B12 supplements are at an especially high risk of becoming deficient [8]. Some researchers have argued that all vegetarians and vegans should be monitored for vitamin B12 deficiency as a precautionary measure [8].

Testing Could Identify Deficiencies

While food deficiencies are something to be wary of – especially if you’re having to cut certain foods out of your diet – it doesn’t have to be something to worry over. There are various tests that can be done to determine whether your body is getting enough of each nutrient. One of these tests is the MyDNA test from MyDNA.

This test analyses your sample to determine what diet is best for your body and least likely to result in any deficiency. If you’re concerned about whether you’re following the optimal diet for your biology, and whether you’re getting enough nutrients, the MyDNA test could lend you a helping hand.



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Is Meat Bad For You?

In 2006 an estimated 150,000 vegans were living in the United Kingdom. According to a survey by the Vegan Society, this number has now risen to 600,000. Combine this growth with the popularity of the “Veganuary” trend, and you can see a movement towards meat-free alternatives. For many, the global climate crisis has inspired the change. Research increasingly points to the meat industry as a significant contributor to CO2 emissions. But, for many, becoming vegan (or indeed vegetarian) has been inspired by a perceived health benefit.

food intolerance blood testing

Netflix documentaries, social media influencers, and prominent nutritionists have lined up to extol the virtues of a switch to a plant-based lifestyle. There has been a backlash in some circles as carnivores claim that millennia of meat-eating has done us no harm thus far, so why change a winning formula. But who is right? Is meat bad for you, or is it an essential part of a complete diet?

The Anti-Meat Argument

The most common argument against eating meat is its classification as a carcinogen. This is believed to be due to the lack of fibre in meat as well as the presence of carcinogenic compounds which form during the process of cooking. Advocates also point to the high cholesterol content of meat which has been shown to be linked to heart attacks, strokes & diabetes. Another thing plant-based lifestyle proponents say backs up their case is the presence of hormones in the majority of meat. The hormones are injected into the animals to maximise the amount of meat you get from them. These hormones are then passed onto the consumer, where they can have a negative impact on hormonal balance.

The Pro-Meat Argument

Team Meat will point to a study by a 14 member international team. This study found that there was no certainty to the links between meat consumption and chronic disease. The study claimed that all data up to this point had, in fact, been inconclusive. Meat-eating proponents will also point to studies which show that many plants eaten by vegans and vegetarians have a higher hormone content than most meats. In response to the criticism of the meat industry’s contribution to climate change, advocates will say that it is far down the list of concerns and that, in advanced countries, it’s contribution to greenhouse emissions is as low as 3% (United States) of the total emissions.

chicken food intolerance blood testing

Considerations To Make When Choosing Meat Or No Meat?

With arguments on both sides of the divide, it appears as though the current evidence is inconclusive either way. But on an individual level, it is essential to consider your own reaction to eating meat. This is where a food intolerance blood test can be crucial. A food intolerance blood test can help you identify whether or not you have an intolerance to any meats which can cause symptoms including diarrhoea, fatigue and vomiting. You can find a food intolerance blood test to help you determine your sensitivity to meat here.

3 Essential Vitamins & Where To Find Them

Vitamins. You know they’re good for you, apparently. But to many, they’re kind of an abstract concept. You know you have a recommended amount you should get of them; you know they do something for your body but, beyond that, you’ve never really given it much thought. You’re not alone. The majority of people have no idea what each vitamin does or what foods you need to eat to get your recommended daily intake.

Here we take a look at three essential vitamins, what they do to support your body, the foods you should be eating to help feel their benefits and why food intolerance testing is vital to doing it right.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also known as retinol. There is a wide range of benefits to maintaining a healthy level of Vitamin A:

Strengthened Immune System – Your immune system is your body’s defence against viruses and infection. Vitamin A helps bolster this vital tool.

Vision In Poor Lighting – Vitamin A supports your ability to see at night or in poorly lit environments.

Skin Health – Stimulates the production of new skin cells to help keep skin looking young.

Vitamin A Food Sources

Cheese is packed with Vitamin A

Cheese, eggs, oily fish, low fat spread, milk, yoghurt, liver.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another essential vitamin and deficiency can lead to a condition called scurvy. Benefits from Vitamin C include:

Protects Cells – As an antioxidant agent it helps protect cells both inside and out

Bone & Cartilage Health – Research has found a link between Vitamin C and reduced bone loss

Wound Healing – Involved in the synthesis of collagen, studies have found a link with improved wound healing

Vitamin C Food Sources

Oranges, Red & Green Peppers, Strawberries, Blackcurrants, Potatoes, Broccoli.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is common, particularly in winter. Known as the sunlight vitamin, it is crucial to find dietary Vitamin D to supplement the reduced sunlight in winter. Vitamin D confers several benefits:

Muscle Strength – Researchers have found a correlation between high Vitamin D levels and increased strength.

weights food intolerance testing
Studies show a correlation between Vitamin D & strength

Lung Function – Low Vitamin D levels has been shown to cause increased risk of lung diseases.

Brain Function – Vitamin D supports neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.

Vitamin D Food Sources

Fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, fortified foods.

Food Intolerance Testing

When you’re looking to introduce new foods into your diet, it is essential to consider food intolerance testing. In your efforts to improve your vitamin levels, don’t expose yourself to food intolerance symptoms including fatigue, bloating and nausea. Find food intolerance testing to suit your budget here.