Burger could leave me brain damaged! Woman with rare condition faces life-changing health problems if she eats more than a few grams of protein a day
A woman with a rare genetic condition is so allergic to protein that eating burger and chips could leave her BRAIN DAMAGED.
Kreseda Smith, 36, suffers from phenylketonuria which means build-up of protein could leave her with devastating brain and muscle damage.
She has never eaten meat and receives most of her food on prescription from her GP.
And as potatoes and bread count towards her daily protein intake, chips and buns are a no go as well.
Kreseda, from Wellington, Shrops, said: “A burger is always out of the question, and just going to McDonald’s is a big no no because I can’t eat anything.
“Even though it’s a bit weird picking up my weekly shop from the doctors I know I’m safer this way!”
After being diagnosed at just a few days old, PhD student Kreseda has kept to a strict vegan diet.
Phenylketonuria (PKU) means her body cannot break down one of the amino acids found in protein: phenylalaine.
Too much gives her chronic migraines and aching muscles so Kreseda has to limit herself to just 10g of protein a day.
And if she continued to snack on meat, dairy or nuts, or even bread and pasta which also contain the offending amino acid, she would face developing epilepsy, brain damage, and severe muscle problems.
Instead she has to eat specialist pasta and bread which has had the phenylalaine removed and take a cocktail of supplements every day to keep her healthy.
It means eating out is a nightmare and Kreseda was even bullied as a child for her unsual diet.
But she knows it’s a small price to pay for avoiding the horrific dangers of too much protein.
Kreseda said: “It was really hard growing up – I was bullied by other kids at school because my packed lunch always looked a bit funny.
“When I went to birthday parties I took my own little bag of food instead of leaving with a piece of cake!
“Even though I went through a rebellious phase and bought chocolate after school with my pocket money I had to stop because it made me so tired and achy.
“I can only have 10 grams of protein a day – it’s the equivalent of five bags of crisps – so I have to weigh absolutely everything.
“For the last six years or so I’ve been supported by a dietician at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham which has been incredible.
“Before that my diet wasn’t quite right and I had horrific headaches.
“PKU is very rare – it affects one in every 10,000 babies born – so I’m lucky they caught it when I was young – even if it means missing out on a takeaway and chocolate!”