FAQ on Food Sensitivities


FAQ on Food Sensitivities


What is the difference between a food reaction, food allergy and food sensitivity?

A food reaction is an umbrella term used to cover any adverse reaction to food, whether it’s immune mediated (a food allergy and sensitivity) or not. A classic food allergy usually only involves one or two foods and is easy to diagnose. Symptoms include a significant rash, swelling of the throat or throat closing up. The symptoms occur immediately, usually within 2 hours of eating. On the other hand, a food sensitivity usually involves multiple foods and can occur anywhere from two hours to two days after eating the food. Since sensitivity symptoms are non-specific, it isn’t obvious or easy to self-diagnose. The third group, non-immune reactions to food are also non-specific and hard to diagnose.

If I’m sensitive to a certain food, does that mean I’ll never be able to eat it again?

No, a food sensitivity is usually not permanent, as opposed to a food allergy which usually is. Eliminate the food for one to three months, then slowly introduce it back into your diet. If the underlying gastrointestinal dysfunction, such as Dysbiosis or Leaky Gut, is treated, chances are your food sensitivity will have improved or gone away completely.

My skin and blood tests were negative, could I still have food sensitivities?

Yes, routine blood and skin tests will detect classical food allergies only. Most people have food intolerances or sensitivities, which have different immune mechanisms and are not picked up with such tests. There are labs that Naturopathic Doctors use to test for these antibodies (IgG), and some people have food reactions that don’t product antibodies at all.

What is the best way to test for food sensitivities?

The most nationally recognized test is the IgG food allergy test. It only requires a blood spot on three test strips and can be done in a few minutes either in the clinic or in the convenience of your own home.

Another way to detect food sensitivities is to do an elimination diet for 2 or more weeks and then re-introduce the foods again.