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How to Conduct Food Allergy Tests at Home

26 February 2009 2,909 views No Comment
Do you suspect that you are sensitive to a certain food? Do you wonder if you suffer from food allergies? Food elimination trials are the most accurate way to find out.

 

Though allergists can do skin-prick tests that sometimes show evidence of food allergies, and some blood tests can indicate food sensitivities, these testing methods are not foolproof.

Furthermore, even with the possibility of a known food allergy, most people have no way of knowing what their symptoms are, or what the effects of the allergy or sensitivity might be. Sometimes the symptoms of a food sensitivity can be as mild as acne, where in other cases the repercussions can be severe.

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a possible food allergy, or if you even suspect a food sensitivity, the best way to learn about how a certain food impacts your own body is a food elimination trial.

Narrow Down the Foods that Might Affect You

Some patients begin this discovery process with a particular food allergy in mind. Skin prick tests, blood tests, or muscle testing might point these individuals in a particular direction.

However, if you suspect you are sensitive to some kind of food, and do not have another source pointing you to a possible culprit, it’s best to start with the “big six” the most common causes of food sensitivities or food allergies are: corn, wheat, dairy, eggs, yeast, soy. Gluten and Casein (found in cheese) are also very common, but working with the big six to start with will help narrow the options.

Most commonly, the foods you may be sensitive to are:

  • something you eat frequently
  • something you routinely feel lousy after you eat – a suspect food
  • something a blood relative is sensitive to (sensitivities are often genetic)
  • trigger foods – foods that once you eat a little of, it creates further cravings for more

Be sure to select just one food at a time. If you suspect more than one food, go through each two week trial separately. This is mainly because food elimination trials are challenging, and trying to remove too many things from the diet is frustrating. It will also help you to isolate the individual symptoms and causes associated with each of your suspect foods.

Cleanse Your Body: Two Week Elimination of Suspect Food

The first step to eliminating a suspect food is to research all of the words that mask each kind of food in common ingredients lists. In the US, the FDA is encouraging food packaging labels to include allergens more clearly in bold print at the bottom of a list of ingredients. While handy, these lists are not as reliable as the ingredients lists themselves.

For 14 days, you should avoid any foods that include these ingredients. It is generally recommended to avoid dining out in restaurants during this 2-week period, as this poses a particular challenge when you do not have a guarantee of the oil or other ingredients used in a kitchen you cannot see or control.

Take note of whether you feel better during this two week trial elimination. It takes approximately two weeks for the suspect food to clear itself from your system entirely.

Day 14: Trying the Suspect Food

On day 14, eat a serving of the food you have been avoiding in it’s purest form. Try to avoid mixing it with other possible allergens. So, for example, a valid soy test might be edamame, corn would be steamed sweet corn without butter, etc.

See what happens. Symptoms can take 0-24 hours to appear after you eat a problem food. Some people can feel the affects of a food allergen within 20 minutes, others do not affect the individual until the food reaches the lower digestive tract the following day.

Take note of everything you feel. Symptoms are not all digestive. They might be emotional, or cognitive, such as impaired decision-making abilities. Symptoms might be itching or breakouts on the face or neck.

If nothing happens, this may or may not indicate a food sensitivity. In fact, your trial serving might not have been enough to trigger a reaction. Continue the elimination diet for three more days, and then test the suspect food once more in a pure, undiluted form.

If you experience no ill effects within 24 hours of the second trial, then you are not sensitive to the tested food!

If you do experience symptoms then it is safe to assume that you are indeed sensitive to the food you eliminated from your diet. You may choose to seek a doctor’s advice as to how best to approach this in the future. It may be best for you to pursue a food elimination and avoidance diet going forward.

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