Food allergy: a true allergy produces an IgE antibody response. The immune system assesses the culprit as potentially harmful so launches a strong immune response. Onset can be rapid resulting in itching, skin hives, and respiratory distress and in severe cases anaphylactic shock which is a life threatening medical emergency.
Food intolerance: the immune system is not involved but instead a delayed reaction which can range from hours after exposure or present the next day.
Common causes of intolerance’s:
- Milk lactose intolerance – lacking the enzyme lactase to digest milk and dairy
- Wheat intolerance or NCGS – non coeliac gluten sensitivity to gluten.
- Reaction to caffeine in coffee, tyramine in cheese or sulphites in red wine.
- A great many triggers of intolerance reactions are still unknown including reactions to food additives such as tartrazine.
Symptoms can range from upset tummy and bloating to diarrhoea or even systemic such as headaches, anaemia or affecting mood. Symptoms could even be attributed to other conditions too, for example compromised enzyme function to actually break down the suspect food or leaky gut or small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO). It takes time to investigate what is the underlying cause before attempting to remove any foods from the diet.
What’s triggering it in the first place and then address this.
For this reason it is essential to establish what your triggers are rather than just symptom suppression. It is not ever advisable to eliminate food groups and I would strongly oppose this. Structured guidance and individual support is so important. This requires time and is certainly not a quick fix but in the long term will be prove to be invaluable for long term relief.
Food intolerance testing is not a valid diagnosis. There is no real sound evidence to support their credibility so I do not offer food intolerance testing at in fine fettle.
Elimination Diet: Is accepted as the gold standard for addressing suspected food sensitivities and intolerance’s. It is a short term eating plan that removes suspect foods that are triggering your symptoms. It is imperative this is carried out under supervision and guidance with someone who is qualified to avoid nutritional deficiencies. During this elimination period it is important to address symptoms and follow a gut health protocol. Foods are re- introduced gradually and symptoms are closely monitored throughout.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao