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Finding Your Food Allergies Depends on the Right Testing

Common Food allergies

Food allergies are common. In fact, they are much more common than the average person would anticipate. If you think you are reacting to foods, how do you know which ones? After all, you could be reacting to one of the big food allergens. Such reactions include a wheat allergy (gluten allergy), milk allergy, egg allergy, and / or a corn allergy. These are the common food allergies. In most cases, one of these reactions will be a contributor to the overall state of dysfunction originating from foods, but there are likely others as well. The question becomes, how do you figure out which foods are causing problems.

The Elimination Diet

This is a question I often get from patients. They want to know how to figure out which foods to avoid. Many options exist for figuring out food allergies. The traditional approach was known as an elimination diet. This diet works well in some cases, but depending on the number of reactions and the state of health of the gastrointestinal tract, it can be difficult to tell which foods are actually problematic.

Food Allergy Testing

Beyond the elimination diet, food allergies are often assessed with lab tests. I am going to let you in on something here that most of the doctors that deal with allergies don’t pay attention to. That is that food allergies are often delayed. This means that the reaction they cause does not happen immediately, but rather takes time to manifest. A true allergy happens quickly. If you are waiting to see an immediate response to determine a food allergy, most of the time you will miss it. When looking for common food allergies, it actually is more efficacious to look for delay reactions, better defined as sensitivities. Food sensitivities make up the greater portion of reactions against food.

Which Test Should I Take?

Herein is the next question that my patients will often ask. They want to know what food allergy test they should run to figure out the best way to identify their problem foods. The best food allergy tests are actually going to look for delay reactions and sensitivities. Within this grouping, there are 3 types of reactions that can take place. Let’s just call them type 2, 3, and 4. (Type 1 reactions are related to true food allergies and are more immediate). Here is the big difference when you are selecting a lab to perform delayed sensitivities to food. Most of these labs only look at the type 2 reaction. What if your reaction is type 4? If you were only looking for a type 2, you may think that eating a particular food is okay, when in reality it could still be causing a reaction. For example, if your test shows that you are not reactive to gluten, but in reality you are, you may continue to have the classic gluten allergy / sensitivity symptoms.

Which Foods Should I Test For?

When it comes to food allergies, and food sensitivities, I let my patients know that there is no compromise for testing all of the foods that they come into contact with. Moreover, I let them know that testing all of the possible reactions for delayed sensitivities, types 2, 3, and 4, is the best option. An added benefit we get from doing this is that we are also able to look at other aspects of the environment that may be a problem, a real consideration here in Houston and South East Texas.

If you are going to take the time to figure out what you are reactive to, make sure you do it right. Not only does this save time, but it also saves a lot of frustration. Nothing could be more aggravating than trying to eliminate foods you are reactive to, only to later learn that the most problematic ones are still a part of your diet.

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