There has been a sharp rise in numbers of people with food allergies and intolerances in recent times. However, experts say that tests that indicate intolerance and allergies are often inaccurate and unreliable. This could mean that many of us are living with unnecessary diet restrictions and spending unnecessary amounts on the supposed allergy or intolerance.
Intolerance testing could be dubious
Health practitioners and other service providers claim to offer tests for all sorts of hidden problems. It is claimed lemons could cause headaches, green peppers can cause bloating and many common foods may act like poison for the body! Depending upon the number of foods you are tested for, such procedures could cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Claims are also made that testing gastric juice, body tissue, muscle strength or even the composition of hair could help to diagnose allergies and sensitivities.
We are warned that symptoms such as tiredness, heartburn, indigestion, problems with concentration could all be due to these intolerances.
However, gastroenterologists and allergist are of the view that this could be unnecessarily alarmist.
In fact the many tests being offered, on websites and elsewhere could actually have no scientific basis. This could mean that we could be spending a lot of money and eliminating foods from our diet needlessly.
Claims made about allergies and intolerances could be incorrect
It is claimed that a repetitive diet could cause intolerances because it overloads the immune system. This is incorrect. It is true that if you have a food intolerance, eating a lot of that food could cause troublesome symptoms. However simply having the same food doesn’t cause the intolerance.
It is also claimed that hair analysis is a good way of detecting allergies and intolerances. However, this is quite incorrect. Hair analysis at best can reveal if you have any nutritional deficiencies. They cannot however tell you if you are allergic or intolerant to something.
Contrary to claims, true food allergies are actually quite rare. While one in three people may think they are allergic to something, only 1 in 28 could actually have a food allergy. Also there is a very significant difference between intolerance and an actual food allergy. The two terms are often used in error however.
We are also tempted to undergo testing by claims that the test is covered by insurance. However insurance doesn’t cover all types of testing, so it is important not to be misled by such claims.