How do I know if I’ve got a food allergy? And what do I do?

Food allergy: a case of mistaken identity?

Realising you have a food allergy can be a tough ask. Many people suffer for years as they attribute symptoms to something other than problems with the food they are eating. This is because food allergy symptoms are often associated with other health issues. Even doctors misdiagnose, believing a patient to be suffering with any one of a number of illnesses and diseases (irritable bowel syndrome being one of the most common ‘mistaken identities’). However, there are some tell-tale signs that you may have a food allergy.

Food allergy symptoms

A traditional food allergy will manifest itself just a few minutes after eating. Often you’ll suffer two or more symptoms simultaneously. It may be you suffer with rashes, swelling, stomach pains, diarrhea or constipation, or heartburn. One of the severest symptoms is anaphylactic shock.

A food intolerance, or type III food allergy, can take up to 72 hours after consumption to manifest into symptoms.  This makes it incredibly difficult to pinpoint the food that caused your reaction.

What food allergy may you have?

There are a number of foods to which you may be allergic, though the most common are shellfish, peanuts, fish, and eggs.

Your food allergy may be caused by a protein called tropomyosin, which is present in many foods, especially shellfish. You’ll also find tropomyosin in dust, so if you have a dust allergy and react to seafood, it’s a big indicator of a food allergy.

Other common proteins which cause allergic reactions include casein, which is found in cow’s milk.

It may also be that you are allergic to preservatives or additives found in so many foods today.

In reality, while most people refer to having a food allergy, the allergy itself is to something in that food, whether it is a protein, additive, preservative, dye, etc.

A food intolerance can occur to any food, and is usually something you are eating monotonously.  The most common food intolerances are gluten, dairy and eggs, but you are just as likely to have a food intolerance to bananas or chickpeas if you eat them every day!

What to do if you suffer symptoms of food allergy

If you suffer symptoms which you believe may be caused by food, you should discover what is causing it as quickly as possible.

A traditional skin-prick or scratch test will determine your food allergies.  This can be undertaken with your Doctor or allergy specialist.

However, if symptoms come on slowly and appear to be more chronic, you are more likely to suffer from food intolerances.  The ImuPro300 test identifies food intolerances by testing a small sample of blood,and sending it to our specialised labs for diagnosis.  Your results are prepared and put together with a personalised recipe book to help you remove inflammation causing foods from your diet.