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What is the difference between food intolerance and food allergy?

Did you know that approximately 2% of adults in Europe have true food allergies, whereas it is estimated that up to 45% of the population suffer with food intolerances?

If you are unsure of the differences between the two and how they could affect you, then please read on…

* YorkTest define Food Intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction.

Percentage of people with food allergies
Percentage of people with food intolerances

What should I do if I think I have a food allergy or intolerance?

If you think that you may have a food allergy, then you should consult your healthcare provider. If you have symptoms of food intolerance then you also need to be checked out by a healthcare provider first to rule out anything serious. If after being checked out you still think food might be contributing then why not try a YorkTest programme. YorkTest are passionate about helping you to optimise your diet.

Many healthcare providers acknowledge food intolerance, however they may recommend keeping a food diary and following an elimination diet. This can be, at best, frustrating for you, as it can be very difficult to identify problem foods, especially as it is common to experience reactions to several different foods at the same time. At worst this type of ‘blind’ elimination diet can cause you to deprive yourself unnecessarily of nutrients you don’t need to avoid. Also if you try cutting out a combination of suspected ingredients all at once, it can make it more difficult to pin point the exact trigger foods.

No more guessing! Get the answers you need with YorkTest Take our most popular food intolerance* test, the Food&DrinkScan and begin your journey to an optimal diet for you.

The Small Print

Some people have detectable levels of raised food-specific IgG antibody levels but do not experience any health problems. We recommend that only people showing symptoms should take a test, and we always advise that these symptoms should first be checked out by a healthcare provider to rule out anything serious.

YorkTest food intolerance programmes do not provide information about Coeliac Disease, enzyme deficiencies such as lactose intolerance, IgE-mediated allergies, histamine sensitivity or other chemical sensitivities.

YorkTest Nutritional Therapists have chosen to use the YorkTest food-specific IgG antibody test as a strategy for the elimination diets that they recommend. The presence of food specific IgG antibodies indicates that the body has shown a reaction to a particular food(s). Many people have circulating levels of IgG antibodies to foods in their blood, but, in order to support their strategy for dietary elimination, YorkTest and their Nutritional Therapists have defined the cut-off used to determine whether food-specific IgG antibodies are detected or not as 10 AU (arbitrary units) per millilitre (AU/mL) of blood, with a “borderline” result being defined as 6-10 AU/mL.

Causes of food intolerance

People react differently to different foods. There is no one definitive test because food intolerance takes on different forms such as:

• Food Allergy – immediate reaction (IgE)
• Coeliac Disease – lifelong autoimmune reaction to gluten proteins which damages the gut wall and prevents nutrients being properly absorbed
• Enzyme deficiencies – lifelong deficiencies such as lactose intolerance
• Chemical sensitivities – such as reactions to food additives like tartrazine (E102), caffeine and sunset yellow (E110)
• Reaction to histamine in foods
• Delayed onset food intolerance (measurement of food-specific IgG antibodies used by YorkTest as a strategy to determine which foods to eliminate); need not be lifelong

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