Guide for dietitians to run more effective re-introduction tests with their clients
Running a re-introduction test can be really tricky. There are a million things that are happening in your clients life. Like stress, their social life and the food choices they make.
As a dietitian, there's only so much that you can control! But we believe that there are a few critical tips that you can put in place to ensure the best results for your tests. With any test, the name of the game is controlling as many variables as you can. That way you can safely attribute one action to another, i.e re-introducing lactose may have caused 'symptoms'.
Here's our key tips to running effective re-introduction tests with your clients.
1. Explain why the test is important to your clients. Helping them understand why they're doing it and why controlling variables for the test is important will help them to make better decisions. For example: "John we're running these tests because we want to help you find out if X is a trigger food, however in order for the test to be successful, we'll need you to do your best to control XYZ'.
2. Outline what you're testing and define the test parameters. This is a key step that is often missed! Understanding what you're testing, how you're testing it and then how the test will be executed is critical for running an re-introduction test. So many times across all industries, people run tests and then at the end of the test the data is useless because they didn't factor in certain variables at the start.
3. Setting up the baseline. Making sure you understand what someones symptoms are prior to the test starting is really important. Make sure you're capturing data prior to the elimination phase of the diet, so you can see the change in your clients symptoms to create a solid baseline.
4. Make it as easy a possible for your client. Your client is super busy! And they're already undergoing some serious change, so making it easy for them to run through the test is critical to achieve a positive result. Use a meal planning software (like Tuki), and provide them recipes and step by step guides for them to follow.
5. Tracking your data accurately. With any test the results are only as good as the data you're collecting. So providing something that is easy for your clients to keep note of what is happening with their symptoms is critical for the test success. Luckily there are some great symptom trackers on the market (Cara, My GI app and of course Tuki 😃). Help your clients by arming them with easy to use tools to track their symptoms.
For your clients who don't have access to a smart phone we've created this free Food Journal and Symptoms tracker template.
We hope these tips help. These are only a few and there are plenty more important things to keep in mind when running a test. Comment below if you have any ones we've missed off.