It is becoming increasingly common to hear of people diagnosed with a food allergy or sensitivity. More people are being diagnosed with coeliac disease (allergy) or suspecting they react to specific foods (intolerance). Determining your food intolerance or allergy can be overwhelming and confusing.
Both a food allergy and intolerance are immune responses by your body to a food. They are measured on the immunes response, with an allergy being a more immediate and potentially deadly reaction. An allergy can be tested by measuring antibodies (IgE) or a skin prick challenge. If you are allergic to a specific food, you must avoid them and any traces in other foods or products.
A person with a food intolerance can experience both immediate or delayed reactions, which makes determining which foods are triggering the symptoms more difficult. For the purpose of today we are going to look at determining your food intolerance.
There are two methods to determine what exactly is triggering your food intolerance or sensitivity and I’ll share and discuss the pro’s and con’s for you.
1. Elimination Diets
The elimination diet involves removing foods to gauge whether symptoms are relieved. It means eliminating one food thats suspected as the culprit of your symptoms or eliminating multiple foods (such as the FODMAPs diet) to then reintroduce and determine on reintroduction which foods you react too.
The pro’s of this method of determining your food intolerance triggers is that it is cheap, can be implemented at any time, and gives some indication of foods impacting your health. It’s only an indication though, and not always completely accurate.
The biggest con is just that, this method is not 100% accurate. If you are intolerant to more than one food, you can see improvement from eliminating a food you believe to be your trigger. There may, however, be other foods that still cause you reactions. If this is the case, you will experience some improvement, but not significant relief. When you reintroduce foods on an elimination diet, this needs to be done in a specific way to make sure that your responses are accurate as well. The hardest part of an elimination diet is then knowing what to eat, and feeling as though everything has been stripped from your diet.
2. Food Intolerance Testing
Food intolerance testing measures the immunoglobulins (antibodies) in a blood sample. The body’s immune system produces antibodies to fight off allergens, bacteria, and viruses. Food intolerances or sensitivities are usually measured by the levels of antibodies IgG and IgA.
The pro’s of having testing to determine your food triggers is that it is very accurate. The testing I use with clients measures 96 foods from one blood sample. It gives a clear answer without the trial and error of removing and reintroducing foods over an extended period. It can also identify foods that you might already be avoiding. So, unlike coeliac testing, you don’t have to eat gluten for a period of time before the test. Testing takes the guess work out, if you will.
As for the con’s of having food intolerance testing, it all comes down to cost. The one negative is that testing can be expensive. I truly believe that it’s worth it to get the answers quickly and know exactly what foods to avoid or moderate.
If you want to test for a food intolerance you can order a Food Intolerance Package here.
You can also read about 5 common food sensitivities and the symptoms that you may experience from them here.
Do you feel overwhelmed by determining your food intolerance triggers? Please feel free to send me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. I specialise in food intolerances/sensitivities and am more than happy to offer help where I can. You can also book an appointment with me here.