Food intolerance testing
There are numerous expensive tests that claim to be able to pinpoint your food intolerances, but did you know that there are in fact a grand total of zero that are proven to work (aka evidence-based)?
There are 'wellness' or 'health' companies peddling unorthodox tests that are making (a lot of) money out of vulnerable Australians. Just as bad in my opinion, are the authorities that could put a stop to it but chose to do nothing.
Companies do not have to provide evidence that these tests work. The prevalence of expensive unproven testing among alternative practitioners is particularly worrying. If you're older and grew up on American TV Westerns as I did, you'll understand the image that accompanies this post only too well. These tests are simply the 21st Century version.
I hope this post will serve to educate consumers that might otherwise be out of pocket for meaningless tests that they can not afford.
A food intolerance, aka food sensitivity, can trigger symptoms similar to a mild food allergy, but it can take hours or even days to appear, not minutes as is the case with true allergy.
Food intolerance does not involve the immune system. Despite that fact, IgG blood tests are heavily promoted, and at a very hefty price. Why are they useless? IgG is a 'memory' antibody which signals food exposure. Your immune system has simply marked these food proteins as 'known'. The test is telling you nothing other than the fact that you have eaten that food at some point in your life!
Other unproven and inaccurate tests include:
- ALCAT test
- Cytotoxic testing (Bryans Test)
- Hair analysis
- Oral provocation/neutralisation
- Pulse testing
- Stool analysis
- Vega (electro-diagnostic) testing
If you would like to know more about any of those tests, check out the very informative Queensland Allergy Services website.
The only validated (proven) test for food intolerance is an elimination diet and challenge. You simply eliminate suspect foods and then re-introduce them under the supervision of a university-qualified nutritionist (UQN). We can identify suspect foods based on your particular symptoms, and help manage any identified intolerances. So why bother with an indicative test at all? Why indeed! Won the Lotto and have too much money? Need a good laugh? Probably neither, so please save your money.
Food intolerance can be transient, brought on by infection for example, and though an elimination diet can help alter your diet to minimise your symptoms, this does not have to be a life-long restriction. Your UQN will work with you to re-challenge those foods after your body has had a chance to rest and recuperate. We want your diet to be as varied as possible!
Common elimination food groups include those containing amines, salicylates, glutamates or FODMAPs. The same food can elicit responses as different as behavioural issues in children and diarrhoea in adults. UQNs have access to scientific journals that publish updated guidelines and food lists. Constant technological advances and scientific discoveries mean you do not have to rely on outdated information. We are always studying, always learning, because nutrition is a dynamic science.
Our orthodox methods might take longer, but I can not stress enough that there are no quick fixes in our field. If something sounds like a magic bullet, it probably is. Spend your valuable time and money on a UQN consultation instead. How do you know if someone is university-qualified? Ask them where they got their qualifications. If it wasn't at uni, keep looking. We are out there, waiting to help you because we care. No wacky tests, just proven methods.
#foodintolerance #nutrition #evidence-based #nutritionist