Food allergy tests: what’s your poison?

08 Feb

The results are in. I was tested by ( a rip off ) company, (see comments for reasonable suppliers) for allergy/intolerance on 200 foods, and I now have a better idea of what my body is sensitive to.

This is a quote from the covering letter:

“The occurrence of raised levels of IgG in food sensitive individuals, and their decrease when the offending food is removed from the diet, provides strong circumstantial evidence for the involvement of IgG in food sensitivities. This view is further supported when the elimination of offending foods also results in symptomatic improvement.”

I only have 3 allergies. These are:
Plums (never liked them anyway)
Brazil nuts (oh no, my favourites!)
Gliadin (this is, to all intents and purposes, gluten)

I am borderline on red kidney beans. Although still in the normal range, I scored fairly high on cranberries, egg white, wheat, soya bean, cashews and pistachios. Interestingly, I scored a big fat zero on all the dairy stuff (and meat and fish.)

So, even though I have fantasies about being locked overnight in Greggs bakery, gluten will have to go. This isn’t the end of the world – I’ve already more or less eradicated it from my diet, and only “cheat” with it here and there.

My previous health scan also showed that I was not dealing to well with my “high” levels of protein intake. I have the liver function of someone who binge drinks. A sobering thought, so beware all Paleo meat-troughers – moderation is the thing.

With the 40 day diet chellenge coming up in Lent, I now have some firm dietary markers to go by. I will follow Zone, but swap out some of the protein for favourable carbs. I’ll eliminate gluten, and dodge sugar and alcohol. Although I’m pleased to discover no intolerance to dairy, I would like to find alternative calcium sources as it’s crucial at this stage in my life to maintain good bone health. Any and all ideas welcome, folks.

Good luck to everyone on the challenge!

24 thoughts on “Food allergy tests: what’s your poison?

  1. Interesting stuff. I’m considering this test at some point, as there are definitely some things in my ‘healthy’ diet that screw with my performance (and I’m not just talking about the booze which occasionally creeps in…)

    Get on the green veg and a good quality supplement for the minerals.
    If Holford is any judge of such matters, good old cabbage is stacked with relatively easily absorbed calcium.
    Get munching!

  2. BTW, we have chased down the actual lab these people use and we think it can be accessed by the public for much less than kate was charged. we will come back with the supplier when they confirm.

  3. this is fascinating! i want. the only reputable place i found online was 250 though. lots!

  4. I really recommend everyone get these tests, in order to inform and empower yourself about what foods you are sensitive to. I work in an office with 20 women, and quite a few are faddy eaters: vegetarian, vegan, gluten, egg and lactose avoiders. They do this because they’ve heard it’s ‘bad’ for you, and somewhere along the line decided they are ‘intolerant’ themselves. As far as I can tell – not one of them knows for certain they are intolerant of anything!

    I know vegetarianism is a moral choice and that’s fine – but to fill up the fridge with lacto-free, coconut and soya milk and nibble rice cakes – for why? Some of them impose this regime on their kids too. What if you’re a vegetarian and intolerant of soya? It might explain all the strange illnesses they’ve been trying to cure by avoiding certain food.

    I’m at risk of becoming a gluten-free bore myself – but at least I have good scientific evidence now. Time for me to spread the word on testing!

  5. Hi all

    this comment was edited on the 11 feb. (there is an offer on till the end of march that adds 10% to our 5%

    you need to use this code CLU646

    that adds the 2 discounts together ( so you get 15%) until the end of March

    visit to order)

    The original Post read………..

    We have obtained a 5% discount from CNS ( these are the people who actually carried out the tests. if you go to this website, and use the discount code.

    discount code CLU388

    Kate got the “foot print” package

  6. All very interesting. Maybe I will get this done because like some I have only tried to guess in the past and been swayed by various fads in vogue at the time.

    I just wondered – I know sugar is very very bad for you, but do they test for sugar on it’s own and does that actually show as an intolerance? And alcohol in small quantities?

    With calcium – I was once told by a nutritionist that it was important to make sure your magnesium intake was good because that works with calcium. Sesame seeds are supposed to be high in calcium. I also read a vegetarian book once that said that eating a lot of meat was supposed to leech calcium out of your body – is there any truth in that I wonder?

  7. Cindy: Think you may have answered that question with your scepticism of the source 😉

    “It’s plant protein, not animal protein that leeches calcium from your bones and causes lower bone mineral density.

    A study focused on 572 women and 388 men from 55–92 years old living in Rancho Bernardo, California. Sorry to vegetarians who think they are eating healthy but facts are facts. For every 15-gram per day increase in animal protein intake, overall bone mineral density increased, especially in the hip, neck and spine.

    Yet the opposite happened with vegetable proteins. The more vegetable protein, the lower the bone mineral density.(3) The study also showed that high calcium intake did not seem to protect those who ate a lot of plant protein. The women who took in the most calcium lost bone mineral density.

    The simple fact is that your body can’t build bones from plants because they contain incomplete proteins.”


    “Contrary to the popular belief that protein is harmful to bone density, Roughhead says, the opposite may be true, that protein and calcium may be synergistic. She speculates that the correlation between protein and calcium loss came from early work, using purified protein. Meat protein, on the other hand, contains substantial amounts of potassium and phosphorus, which reduce urinary calcium loss. In addition, protein is one of the building blocks of bone, so it stands to reason that it’s essential, says Roughhead.”

    Finally, possibly my favourite study ever done…in 1930, two men volunteered to live ONLY on meat for an entire year:

    “At the end of the year, the subjects were mentally alert, physically active, and showed no specific physical changes in an system of the body…Vitamin deficiencies did not appear”

    Brilliant! (Of course the fact that it was only a sample of 2 and also sponsored by the Institute of American Meat Packers has to be considered!)

  8. There’s actually a 10% discount on the website already until end of March 2012, is our one on top of that?:
    “Food Detective ONLY £55 and 10% discount on all FoodPrint orders (valid until end Mar 2012)
    Phone 01353 863279 or order on-line. Put in promotion code WOFFER2012 at the checkout!”

  9. Cindy – my test included cane sugar, hops and brewer’s yeast but not alcohol.

  10. I never comment on the website, but this has me so wound-up, I just can’t help myself. As a life-long Atopic guy, who has during some some seasons runs IgE levels so high that they are usually only found in individuals suffering from parasitic infections, I have read extensively on this topic and had numerous and lengthy conversations with allergy and immunology specialist in the UK and US.

    Please don’t waste your money on mail-in tests. This is pseudo-science at it’s worst. The only way to know for sure if you have an allergy is to do an experiment. A skin-prick test is the most accurate experiment, where you are injected with a small amount of the suspected allergen just under your skin, you wait, you see if and/or how severe your symptoms are, etc. Every experiment needs a control. In this case, when you are tested, you will be injected with saline solution (to benchmark the negative response), and histamine (to benchmark the positive response). The problem with at home/mail in tests are that there are no proper controls, and the test is done OUTSIDE your body. Not all allergies are IgE mediated, and even the best IgE RAST test, performed in a laboratory, frequently give false positives for particular allergens. If you really want to be scientifically tested for a particular allergen, you need to have skin-prick test, and it needs to be done in hospital because if you’re right that you are allergic, your allergic reaction may be bad enough to KILL YOU without an immediate injection of epinephrine. If you decide to be skin tested, you will be asked to stay off antihistamines, prednisone and a ton of other meds for at least a week before testing. Do the mail in kits instruct you to do the same?

    Common sense is probably the best approach when dealing with non-life threatening allergies. If you are allergic to tree pollen, avoid exposure to tree pollen by exercising indoors, or by wearing a mask. Check the pollen count on the weather: I find that when tree pollen concentrations are high and my hay fever symptoms are bad, I need to avoid eating tree fruits like apples and cherries because they cause my lips, mouth and throat to itch. Eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, milk, soy, wheat and tree nuts are the most common food allergens. If you think that something makes you feel sh**y don’t eat it for a month (one thing at a time, please!) and see if you feel better. If you feel better not eating something, it may be for any number of reasons, but you don’t need to spend £200 to figure out it’s not for you.

  11. Hi Sal

    I used to hold a similar view, until i read all the articles attacking the test. This site is devoted to “exposing” the blood test

    but when reading it i began feeling for all the people who wrote in who said “worked for me” who were berated and slapped around the head with “double blind” science. Allergies are very serious and i would be straight to a doctor: Food intolerance, however, as suggested by so many, including the Paleo diet, is a pseudo science soft area, in need of development. Until recently the idea that sugar was the cause of diabetes and a driver of obesity was also pseudo science.

    From the reports i have seen implemented. I wouldn’t rank it with other blood tests, nor would I rush to have it if £100-£200 was a”lot” of money, but if you were serious about really getting the best out of your diet, id have one done.

    Best of luck with dealing with your allergies

  12. Can you get one of these tests just from your local doctor, I’m now intrigued to what I can and cannot eat

  13. Hi Kate,
    I read this along with the rest of the blog posts that you have written on food intolerance and based on some anecdotal evidence that I might be intolerant, decided to bite the bullet and do the Cambridge Nutritional test. I paid £20 for the initial “is it worth doing the full” test and then paid another £110 for the Food 40. They have come back to me saying that I am strongly intolerant to milk, eggs and most nuts (ie most of the stuff that I am currently eating!). Will let you know how I get on trying to find replacements….

    1. @alexwalters75 I need to do one of these, but do you recommend this service. For what amounts to £130?

  14. For anyone who is interested, this is what the assessment looks like:

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