Doesn’t It seem like almost everybody is talking about food allergies and sensitivities? Maybe you’re even dealing with your own sensitivities.

If you are struggling with digestive issues, have you thought about getting a food sensitivity test? But are they testing for a sensitivity, intolerance or an allergy? And, importantly, are they accurate?

Let’s take a look: 

What’s the difference between a food sensitivity, intolerance and an allergy?

  • food allergy is at the more severe end of the spectrum. Food allergies can have symptoms such as hives, breathing problems, swelling and gastric issues such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting. Allergies are diagnosed by an allergist through skin testing and blood work.

  • An intolerance — like lactose intolerance, for example — isn’t quite as dangerous as a food allergy. But since your body can’t properly digest that type of food, intolerances can still cause major issues that interfere with your daily life.

  • sensitivity is considered the least offensive. Nonetheless, your body is still having an adverse reaction to food. Digestive problems, fatigue, brain fog and headaches are common complaints.

How does food sensitivity testing work?

Food sensitivity tests are kits that promise to measure how much your body reacts to specific foods. One option, a cell-based test, looks at how the body’s white blood cell counts change after consuming certain foods. When the immune system reacts, you have a sensitivity or intolerance.

Allergies should be tested by a doctor as they can be serious.

Are food sensitivity tests accurate?

The jury is out on whether or not food sensitivity tests are a viable way to understand gut issues. For example, the IgG testing method only assesses your reaction to foods you’ve recently eaten.

While a food sensitivity test can be interesting to try, for now it’s best to consult a professional who can give you guidance on managing dietary issues.

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JC Guidry
Exercise Physiologist, Personal Trainer, Wellness Coach, Author and Media Fitness Expert with over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Has served over 50,000 sessions from one-on-one, semi-private to large group BootCamp classes. Nationally and locally awarded Fitness expert on both ABC & CBS.