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.