Food Allergy vs Food Intolerance

I get a lot of enquiries asking me if I do food intolerance testing. Often when discussing this clients will use the word allergy and intolerance interchangeably. This is not the case.

Food Allergy we can test for, involves the immune system and can be life threatening (anaphylaxis). Food intolerance however we cannot test for, does not involve the immune system and is not life threatening.

There is a list of 14 official food allergens that need to be displayed on food labels for safety. The list of foods causing food intolerance can really be endless and depends upon what a patient thinks or feels.

The lack of testing for food intolerance allows for a gap in support available for those suffering with this problem. This gap is filled by online companies charging large sums of money for testing that is not based upon any science and are a waste of time.

This is a problem as it leads to many patients self diagnosing food intolerance, cutting out food groups leading to malnutrition, deficiency and reduced quality of life.

This is usually when patients get in touch, confused and wanting expert advice.

So next time you think you have a food allergy speak to your GP who can refer you to a specialist for blood test, medical history & skin prick testing if required.

If you think you have a food intolerance speak to a dietitian trained in this area who can ensure you are doing the basics right before exploring an evidence based, structured exclusion diet.

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