Do food sensitivity tests help to understand food triggers for IBS?

Do food sensitivity tests help to understand food triggers for IBS?

If you’ve ever felt like you should take a food sensitivity test, you’re not alone. It's marketed as the solution to end your digestive trouble. Many people take these tests to understand their Irritable Bowel Syndrome triggers. They’re marketed to pinpoint the foods that are giving you digestive troubles. But they end up diagnosing sensitivities to foods that you can actually tolerate. This can lead to unnecessary restrictions in your diet, and severe health consequences.

What are food sensitivity tests?

Alternative health-care practitioners (ie. chiropractors, naturopaths) order  Food sensitivity tests. You can also order them online, and they're send to send to your home. They usually need a tiny blood sample, but some may ask for saliva or hair follicles instead. They analyze the sample in a lab, and send a list of food sensitivities back to the client.

Food allergy vs food sensitivity

Food allergies and food sensitivities are two different responses in the body. A food allergy is an immune response of your body to a specific food. Your body identifies the food as a threat and activates its' defense mechanism.  Your body produces antibodies, called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). They travel to all parts of your body to defend it from the food you ingested. And can give symptoms such as hives, vomiting, diarrhea, or even difficulty breathing.  In extreme cases, these allergies can be life-threatening.

A food sensitivity or intolerance can cause symptoms for two reasons. Your inability to break down foods or a reaction to chemicals found in the food itself. In short, they are not attributed to an immune response.

Increasing research supports that food sensitivity tests measure 'memory antibodies'. They're a natural response to food you eat frequently.

Food sensitivity kits measure a different type of antibody called Immunoglobulin G (IgG). These antibodies develop in response to food. Increasing research shows that IgG antibodies are present in every human body. Moreover, they represent tolerance rather than intolerance to foods. They're known as “memory antibodies” and as a recognition response to food you eat regularly. The more you eat a certain food, the more IgG antibodies are present in your body as a result.

The food sensitivities list you receive is a reflection of the food you eat. It counts IgG and is not a reflection of your intolerance. This could cause a ton of unnecessary restriction in your diet. Being told that you can no longer eat a long list of foods that you eat daily can be distressing and frustrating. Let alone if you can actually tolerate your favorite foods.

Food sensitivity tests can list foods that cause symptoms. Because these foods are in your regular diet. The accuracy rates are low, and it isn’t an effective way in eliminating all your food triggers from your diet.  

What is effective?

The clinical line of treatment recommended by doctors is the low FODMAP diet. This is a medical diet and supported by plenty (over 6000+) of scientific studies.

We hope this article eliminates confusion and controversy around food sensitivity tests. You can always reach out and let us know how we can help answer any questions you may have.

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