A Food Intolerance Definition Most People Can Understand
Finally, the medical community has developed a food intolerance definition that makes sense to the layperson.
For decades, the medical community has resisted the idea of food sensitivities. They have largely accepted the fact that food allergies exist for many years. The fact that patients who have this condition manifest such strong symptoms when they eat certain foodstuffs means that there is indisputable and very easy to interpret evidence of a medical condition.
With non-allergic food hypersensitivity, the symptoms are far less obvious. This and the fact that often the symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions has lead many in the medical profession to doubt the existence of food intolerance.
However, this has started to change as more and more patients have found that making simple changes to their diet clears up most, often all, of their symptoms. GPs and consultants who have seen this happen now know that there is definitely a good reason for further research into food intolerance to be carried out. The medical community has turned from sceptics to actively calling for more research to be done, so that they will be better equipped to help their patients.
An agreed upon food intolerance definition
A first important step has now been taken. An agreed up food intolerance definition has been come up with.
Doctors now agree that food intolerance can be defined as “an adverse reaction to a food, drink or additive that is ingested by mouth”. A proper definition of food intolerances is something that we and many others who work in the field have been asking for. We know that if you do not define a problem it is all but impossible to successfully tackle the issue.
Researchers are now working to define the symptoms and to come up with effective tests.
Currently the only way someone can work out what foods they are sensitive to is to go on an elimination diet. This is because the reaction to the foods they are sensitive to is very mild.
Far less obvious than it is if someone has a food allergy. Then it is painfully obvious that a particular food is very bad for their health. When someone who is allergic to a certain food eats it they have an almost instant, sometimes lethal, adverse reaction.
Therefore, when someone who is only intolerant is tested. Often, it will appear that they have no issue with that particular food. For example, a traditional allergy skin test will usually come back as negative. The skin may not hive when the food their body finds hard to tolerate is applied, but it is just as likely to remain unaffected. As a result, definitively telling whether someone has food intolerance or not, is not easy.
One promising development has been the discovery that those who are sensitive to certain food products often produce high levels of Immunoglobulin G (IgG) is a type of antibodies. This is important because it allows doctors to distinguish them from those with full-blown food allergies. Typically, their blood had high levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE). You can find out more about food intolerance blood tests here.
There is no doubt that this discovery is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, it is a relatively small step. The problem is that the test only confirms the likelihood of the patient suffering from food sensitivity. It does not tell them which foods they need to avoid.
There are other tests available. Again, it is early days for them, but they are promising and are being developed. You can find out more about them here.