Dr. Robert Loblay is Director of the Allergy Unit at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia and co-author of the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook. In this Expert Q&A, Dr. Loblay answers some basic questions on food intolerance to clear up common misconceptions.
The recent study by Di Sabatino and colleagues DOES NOT demonstrate the existence of gluten sensitivity. Although the authors report that “the severity of overall symptoms increased significantly during 1 week of intake of small amounts of gluten, compared with placebo,” it simply turns out that 3 of 59 participants reacted strongly enough during their gluten challenges to skew the group results in favor of gluten sensitivity. Taken on their own, however, we cannot diagnose these individuals with gluten sensitivity because they did not complete the required number of gluten and placebo challenges.
When dealing with foods on the list of Big 8 allergens – milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybean – there are a lot of reasons to see a doctor and not many reasons to do an elimination diet on your own. Which of these foods actually cause reactions that don’t involve the immune system?
Even though food allergies often diminish over time, they will never cross over into a food sensitivity or intolerance. If you have previously experienced (or even suspected that you have experienced) an allergic reaction to a food, see a doctor – don’t try to test for food sensitivities on your own.
Up to 10% of the population will experience food intolerance in their lifetime, which translates to millions of people worldwide.
Fruits are often associated with salicylate sensitivity and histamine intolerance, but it is also possible to suffer allergic reactions and even anaphylaxis from common fruits.