Are Food Sensitivities Real? What are the differences between food sensitivities, intolerances, and allergies?
By Caitlin Self MS, CNS, LDN
What are Food Allergies?
Food allergies are immune reactions to proteins in certain foods. We call these IgE-mediated allergies “True Allergies,” as they can be life-threatening and most people don’t grow out of them.
The Top Food Allergens Are:
Wheat / Gluten
Fish and Shellfish
Symptoms of IgE Food Allergies
Symptoms include breathing problems, tightening of the throat, anaphylaxis, swelling, hives, watery eyes immediately after exposure to the offending food or protein.
How to Test for Food Allergies
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) Testing is considered the best test for food allergies. IgE is an antibody that becomes elevated when the body is over-reacting to a protein, as is the case with serious allergies. This blood test can assess if you have a true food allergy vs. a food sensitivity.
We offer the Genova IgE Test at Juno Wellness.
What are Food Sensitivities?
Food sensitivities tend to encapsulate most other food-based reactions. These can change over time for different individuals, and are often indicative of intestinal issues and inflammation rather than a true allergic response.
Food sensitivities are also sometimes called “delayed food allergies” since some of the symptoms are similar, and when left untreated, can develop into true IgE allergies.
Since these are always changing and also seem to depend on region, we don't have a lot of good data on the top sensitivities, but these are the ones we see most frequently:
The Top Food Sensitivities are:
Gluten / Wheat
Dairy / Casein / Whey
Eggs, especially egg whites
Almonds and other tree nuts
Symptoms of IgG Food Sensitivities
Symptoms include inflammation, joint pain, gut issues, acne, eczema, hives, among others, any time within about 3 days after consuming the offending food.
How to Test for Food Sensitivities
There are two ways to assess food sensitivities. You can choose to do an elimination diet, which eliminates the top offending foods, or do an IgG test. The IgG test can help identify which specific foods to eliminate, but it is always good to keep a food journal after eliminating the offending foods to make sure your symptoms are improving.
Immunoglobulin G (IgG) Testing is the best blood test available for food sensitivities. IgG is an antibody that becomes elevated when the body is over-reacting to a protein, which most commonly happens due to an inflamed or hostile gastrointestinal environment. This blood test can assess if you have a true food allergy vs. a food sensitivity.
We offer the Genova IgG Test and the Great Plains IgG Test at Juno Wellness
Where Can You Get Organic Acids Tests?
Here at Juno Wellness, we offer organic acid tests from Genova and Great Plains Laboratory. We will ship the kit to you, then you can complete the test at home and mail it in using the prepaid FedEx label. It’s an easy, straightforward process!
What are Food Intolerances?
Food intolerances are a condition that arises from an inadequate amount of the enzyme required to break down certain foods. Some people will use the term “intolerance” to indicate any reaction to a certain food, but we typically use it for enzymatic insufficiency.
The Top Food Intolerances are:
Symptoms of enzymatic food intolerances:
Symptoms include gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and other gut symptoms 1-2 hours after consuming the offending food.
How to Test for Food Intolerances
Breath tests and food diaries tend to be the most effective methods of identifying food intolerances. An elimination diet is also a great way to assess your intolerance to certain foods.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration
This information is for educational purposes only. The statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your physician if you have any question regarding a medical condition
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About Caitlin Self, MS, CNS, LDN
Caitlin is a licensed nutritionist and food blogger based in Baltimore, MD. She works closely with clients to understand how their gut microbiome is affecting their overall health.