Food Sensitivity or Food Allergy; What’s the Difference?
Education and Advocacy What if your super clean diet just isn’t good enough?
Do you often feel sluggish? Do you have mysterious symptoms that seem to come and go? If so, there’s a good chance you could be dealing with a hidden food sensitivity. That’s right. A food sensitivity — not an allergy. The terms are often used interchangeably but they have very different meanings.
Most allergic reactions to food happen quickly, within minutes of exposure to the offending food, and can range from mild — think itchy red hives on the skin — to severe and life-threatening. Some may experience swelling of the lips, mouth, and airways which can lead to difficulty breathing and shock, sometimes with a sudden drop in blood pressure. Given the severity of many food allergies, most people are aware that they have them.
Understanding your body’s messages
A food sensitivity, on the other hand, is far more difficult to diagnose because it does not lead to an immediate reaction. Food sensitivities involve the formation of complexes consisting of Immunoglobulin G or IgG antibodies which have attached themselves to food molecules or antigens. These complexes must be removed by special types of white blood cells in the immune system called macrophages.
However, if there are too many complexes or antigens, the macrophages can’t eliminate them quickly enough, and this causes food antigen-antibody complexes to accumulate in body tissues where they can eventually trigger the release of inflammation-causing chemicals. This delayed inflammation can play a role in a variety of health conditions and diseases with symptoms that can take days to appear. “The problem with this delayed response,” says Dr. Joe Klassen ND, Clinical Consultant at Rocky Mountain Analytical, “is that it’s often difficult to draw a link between the specific foods you eat and your symptoms.”
Additionally, an adverse response may not appear every time a particular food is eaten. And when symptoms do appear, they often mirror other common complaints such as fatigue or acne which are not commonly associated with food. Furthermore, people can develop food sensitivities even while on a clean or paleo diet. Consequently, many people who have a food sensitivity can go decades without ever considering their symptoms to be a food-related problem.
Take the guesswork out of your diet
“Food sensitivities have been implicated in migraines, eczema, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, and weight gain,” says Dr. Klassen, ND. A growing body of scientific evidence supports the notion that elimination of IgG reactive foods from one’s diet may lead to the improvement of these symptoms.
A great way to find out what foods might be causing health challenges for you is a food sensitivity test. The RMA FST™ Enhanced Food Sensitivity Test is a personalized assessment of hundreds of food antigens that may help you to better manage your health and well-being.
While you may not decide to completely eliminate certain foods from your diet, this test is designed to empower you to create a diet that works for you.