Food Sensitivity Testing
What is the difference between food sensitivities and food allergies?
Many people who have any type of negative reaction to food believe they have food allergies. In reality, there is a distinct difference between food allergies and food sensitivities.
A true food allergy triggers your body’s immune system to launch a powerful response. In essence, your body mistakes food for a potentially harmful substance and is fighting to reduce the risk of widespread harm, even when the triggering food is not innately harmful.
Symptoms of food allergies include:• Swelling• Hives• Breathing troubles, up to and including anaphylaxis• Itching• Sensation of dizziness
Food sensitivities, on the other hand, trigger a response from your digestive system. While these symptoms can certainly be disruptive and uncomfortable, they’re usually less severe than those stemming from food allergies.
Symptoms of food sensitivities include:• Bloating• Nausea• Gas• Diarrhea• Constipation• Cramping
Understanding the difference between an allergy and a sensitivity can help you shape a diet and nutrition plan that works for your body.
What are some foods that trigger allergies or sensitivities?
Many foods can trigger a physical reaction. Some people are affected by only one or two foods, while others find that numerous foods cause symptoms.
Some of the more common foods that trigger reactions include:
• Tree nuts
Many people also react negatively to certain dyes, preservatives, and additives common in processed foods.
What is allergy testing, and when is it needed?
Allergy testing involves a trained professional exposing you to minute volumes of potential allergens. The way your body reacts will determine if you have an allergy to that specific substance.
There are many ways to conduct allergy tests, including an elimination diet, skin test, or blood test. Allergy testing can focus primarily on food items or test for other common allergens like pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and more.
If you have strong reactions to certain foods or you’re going through unusual symptoms, allergy testing can provide information about how your body responds to certain substances. Some allergies can trigger dangerous reactions, so understanding where you stand empowers you to make healthy choices about your diet and your immediate environment.