But first, this is the final post in my series about food sensitivities. If you would like to read the others they are:
Food Elimination Diets Benefits:
Diets like Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), or even the basic removal of the “nasty nine” (gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy, food additives, peanuts, and citrus), help you to find out which foods you are reacting to by eliminating a whole bunch of foods for at least a month, usually more.
The benefit of this approach is that it doesn’t cost any more than buying some different foods to eat while you are removing others.
Food Elimination diet drawbacks:
- Removal of non-problematic foods due to inaccuracy: You may end up removing a whole bunch of foods that you are not reacting to, making the very restricted diet an unnecessary hardship, and adding unneeded stress to your life.
- Increased inflammation due to inaccuracy of foods removed: You most likely will not end up eliminating all the foods you are reacting to which will make it extremely hard, if not impossible, to heal your gut. Some of the foods you are reacting to may be consumed in large quantities now that you have eliminated a whole bunch of other foods. If you are reacting to let’s say broccoli, and you start eating broccoli 4 or 5 times a week on your elimination diet, you run the risk of increasing inflammation in your gut rather than decreasing it so that you can heal it.
- Time: This way of eliminating can take a lot of time! Not only because you may be taking two steps forward and three steps back as mentioned above, but you must eliminate all of the foods for at least a month (longer for GAPS) and then slowly re-challenge them to see if they are a problem for you. Also, since you will likely still be eating foods that are inflammatory to you and causing you symptoms, it will be more difficult to determine whether an eliminated food is safe or not upon challenging that food back into your diet.
Food Sensitivity Testing Drawbacks:
- There are many inaccurate tests on the market: Most food sensitivity tests are testing to see if you have an antibody to a certain food (usually IgG but occasionally IgM). There are a couple of problems with this method. The first is that there are many ways to react to a food (cytokines, prostaglandins, other antibodies, etc.). So this allows for many FALSE negatives. Also, IgG can be present even when the body is not reacting to a food. This can lead to FALSE positives. Most food sensitivity testing out there is only 60% accurate! You would have almost as good of a chance of flipping a coin as you down down a list of foods.
- Cost: Food sensitivity tests are not cheap and they are usually not covered by insurance. Tests like the Elisa (that only test one antibody) are usually about $150 (and that’s for 60% accuracy!) The MRT (discussed below) is $325. With the tests, you also need to factor in either a doctor visit or a visit to another health professional.
- Long term removal of foods leads to an extremely limited diet: People often completely stop eating a food once they see it come up on a food sensitivity test. This is not the point of food sensitivity testing! You are only need to temporarily remove the offending foods while you work on healing your gut and rebalancing your microbiome. Then, you challenge each food to see if you have healed the sensitivity.
Food Sensitivity Testing Benefits:
If you choose the right food sensitivity test, you have accurate information and can get quick results with your elimination diet. The Mediator Release Test (known as the MRT) tests to see if over 200 foods and food additives are causing you inflammation regardless of which mediator (antibody, cytokine, etc.) is causing it. This test is 94% accurate which is way above the other food sensitivity tests out there.
- You will know exactly which foods to temporarily remove from your diet to heal your gut.
- Although, like other functional tests, the MRT is not covered by insurance, you generally can use an HSA or FSA account to pay for it if you have one.
So, now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of food elimination diets and food sensitivity testing, what path do you think you would take? As with so many things in life, it comes down to time versus money.
If you end up decided you would like to go the testing route, you can book a free discovery call with me to see if we would be a good fit to work together. There is a button below this post.
Either way, best of luck investigating and healing your food sensitivities. Once you get your foundation of health (the gut) in order, you can expect drastic improvements in your health and energy.
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