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Are You Food Intolerant?

First of all, let’s distinguish the difference between a food intolerance and a food allergy. A genuine food allergy is quite rare with approximately 2% of the US and UK population affected. A food allergy is defined as a rapid immune response to the protein part of the food and can result in symptoms such as a raised, itchy rash (urticaria), wheezing, vomiting, gut symptoms or (very rarely) sudden collapse. This type of reaction results in the production of antibodies called immunoglobulin E’s (IgE).Common food allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, cow’s milk, eggs and seafood.

Food intolerances, however, are much more common. Symptoms which are often associated with food intolerances include: gut problems, bloating, migraine, low mood, weight gain, fatigue and skin problems*. Food intolerances are not life-threatening, but can have detrimental effects upon quality of life. Symptoms are often slower to present and can take up to 72 hours to appear. This type of reaction produces antibodies called immunoglobulin G’s (IgG).

Whilst IgG antibody testing for delayed food sensitivity remains controversial, improvements in symptoms have been reported. Data suggest that eliminating trigger foods identified through IgG testing may improve symptoms of IBS. Also, a recent study has shown that eliminating trigger foods identified through IgG testing, in an intervention lasting for 90 days, resulted in reductions in body weight, BMI, waist and hip circumference. Quality of life indicators, which included physical and emotional wellbeing, mental health, social life, pain levels, and vitality also significantly improved.

If you think you might be sensitive to certain foods or would like to arrange a food intolerance test, please call 07725 972927 for a FREE 15 minute chat or to book an appointment.

Sarah West-Sadler

BSc (Hons), PgDip, mBANT, CNHC Registered Nutritional Therapist

* Nutritional therapy is a complementary therapy and should not be used as an alternative to seeking medical advice. Symptoms outlined above must always be checked out by a medical professional.


  1. Mullin G.E et al, (2010) Testing for food reactions: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 25 (2), pp. 192-198.


  2. Lewis J et al, (2012) Eliminating Immunologically-Reactive Foods from the Diet and its Effect on Body Composition and Quality of Life in Overweight Persons. Journal Obesity & Weight loss Therapy 2:1


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