Should you get tested for “Food Reactions”?

Dr. Levy Food Allergies

Nowadays, everyone is well versed in the dangers of the increasingly common food allergies (peanut, egg, sesame, etc.).  If indeed their child is diagnosed with an allergy to one of these foods, there is more knowledge and literature available to educate parents and help them change their lifestyle to make smart decisions to avoid such foods.  The allergic reactions to these foods are oftentimes instant—ranging from something as little as hives to something as dangerous as anaphylactic shock.  While both require immediate attention, they are both easily recognizable to parents as a bona fide reaction. Because of the gravity of the reaction and its possible outcome, many doctors make sure to test for this.

Food sensitivities can typically go unnoticed by parents but internally wreak the same degree of havoc as a food allergy. The major difference is that while food allergies are immediate responses to food, food sensitivities are chronic DELAYED reactions to food.  Symptoms affect the gastrointestinal system which can often be mistaken for many other benign concerns.  A popular example of a food sensitivity is a sensitivity to gluten.  People with this sensitivity will experience bloating, constipation, diarrhea and abdominal pain.  These common reactions are usually treated with anti-acid medications but this is only a temporary relief for what could be a more important underlying issue.

While food intolerances are also delayed reactions, they deal more with someone’s innate inability to break down the specific components of certain foods.  It is almost always something that is genetically determined.  When someone is lactose intolerant, it means their body does not have the lactase enzyme to digest lactose in dairy products.

Based on symptoms alone, it is very difficult to distinguish between the latter two.  They both affect the gastrointestinal system and both exhibit delayed reactions.  I find it vital to test for both food sensitivities (IgG) and food intolerances in addition to food allergies (IgE) in order to better understand the patient’s profile.

In our clinic, I make sure that patients with food concerns undergo a comprehensive blood test in all three areas (especially children).  Once I have personally analyzed the results, I customize a diet and nutrition plan that outlines foods to avoid and foods to cut out of a diet completely in order to live a healthier, worry-free lifestyle.  Testing early (especially young children) can help avoid future stressful situations and guide patients in making the right food choices.


Click below to get started and schedule your appointment online.