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Food allergies vs. food sensitivity
Food allergies vs. food sensitivity

Am I allergic? Intolerant? And what to do?

Ana avatar
Written by Ana
Updated over a week ago

Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivity: The Truth Behind At-Home Tests

There is a growing trend in food allergy and intolerance testing worldwide, with a surge in the use of IgG food sensitivity tests. These tests claim to identify intolerances causing various health issues, but the actual data on medically diagnosed food allergies remains constant at 2-3%.


1. Food Sensitivity vs. Food Allergy:

- Food sensitivities and intolerances both involve difficulty digesting specific foods, leading to symptoms like gas, bloating, and abdominal pain.

- Food allergies are immune system-mediated and can result in severe, life-threatening reactions, involving even tiny amounts of the allergen.

2. Risks of Self-Diagnosis:

- Self-diagnosis using at-home tests can lead to issues and should be avoided.

- Medical professionals should be consulted to discuss symptoms and consider referral to a gastrointestinal specialist.

3. Problems with IgG Testing:

- IgG tests measure immunoglobulin-G antibodies and claim to identify food sensitivities.

- Research indicates that elevated IgG levels reflect exposure to a compound but are irrelevant for diagnosing food allergies or intolerances.

4. Lack of Research and Accuracy:

- There is a lack of research supporting the use of IgG for diagnosing intolerances or sensitivities.

- The available research fails to provide comprehensive information on the measurements and test procedures.

5. Misinterpretation of Results:

- IgG elevation may indicate recent exposure to a food, suggesting tolerance rather than intolerance.

- Example: Elevated IgG for a regularly consumed food does not mean intolerance but is often misinterpreted.

6. Placebo Effect:

- Positive changes observed after eliminating foods based on IgG results may be due to improved diet quality or the placebo effect.

- Belief in the effectiveness of the elimination diet can produce subjective improvements without objective changes.

7. Potential Harm of Elimination Diets:

- Reductionist approaches and elimination diets may harm overall health by reducing diet diversity.

- Consuming a varied diet with more than 30 different foods is associated with microbiome diversity and improved health.

8. Considerations for Health:

- Rather than self-diagnosis, seek medical advice for gastrointestinal symptoms.

- Consider inclusive diets, low FODMAP diets, and probiotic supplements to improve gut health.

- Consume a diverse range of plant foods and be mindful of portion sizes.


At-home food intolerance tests are deemed a scam based on current scientific data. Elimination diets may provide relief but may not be related to actual food avoidance. Seeking professional medical advice is crucial for accurate diagnosis and proper management of gastrointestinal symptoms.

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