August 29, 2010 @ 4:01 PM

Portsmouth University released new research on food allergies.  According to PTI news–

“A new study has revealed that although 20 percent of adults in Britain claim they are unable to eat foods from milk to mustard, fewer than two percent actually have a problem.”

“There is a clear discrepancy between the number of people who report that they have food allergy or intolerance and the numbers whose food allergy or intolerance can be confirmed by a medical diagnosis.”

Why would so many people think they have a food allergy issue when science says they clearly do not?

FIRST, let’s put all research in context.

Universities conduct research in exchange for money. The research itself is often designed by the client who is paying for the research. The client is often a well funded business or organization with a niche industry to protect. Which is why they often design research that is misleading.

The Portsmouth research used the traditional skin prick to test for existing food allergies. This test only measures severe reactions but will NOT measure smaller reactions like food sensitivity and food intolerance. Also, the skin prick only tests 10-20 foods.

Portsmouth research appears to find that people who say they have food allergies, really don’t have food allergies.

The media then translates this news as ,”Food Allergies: It’s all in Your Mind.”

But in reality, the negative food symptoms experienced by the research subjects could not be verified merely because their reaction wasn’t severe enough to be measured by the traditional food allergy test.

But why would a large segment of a population think they have food allergies in the first place?

New tests are gaining popularity that measure food intolerance and food sensitivity.  These tests are often marketed as food allergy tests. There are two good reasons why they are: 1) the tests identify food allergies as well as intolerances and sensitivities. 2) foods often cause the same histamine reactions that hay fever allergies do (runny nose, itchy eyes) and the public understands these symptoms as “allergies.”

But instead of embracing these tests, Allergists are dismissing them. In fact, there is an industry war being waged mostly by old school Allergy Organizations and the doctors they represent. Allergists are fighting for their profession mostly because food intolerance tests are now being offered direct to the public without a requiring a doctor.

Allergists are trying to sow doubt into the public about food intolerance and food sensitivity tests with confusing semantics.

Allergists and drug companies will tell you that your itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing are hay fever allergies. In the same breath they will say food allergies are severe whole body experiences. Everyday gas is not a food allergy, so stop calling it one. In the Allergist’s mind, if you don’t have an extreme reaction to a food, then you don’t have a food allergy.

Allergists also believe that your hay fever allergy symptoms are all caused by pollens. Pollen, molds and pollutants in your air cannot be blocked by your nostrils and thus you will always be breathing them in. You now have chronic symptoms which require allergy shots and prescription allergy medicines which of course require allergists.

So how do the old school Allergists fight back?

These comments from the PTI news clip are typical of Allergists:

“Self-diagnosis and other diagnostic tests not conducted by qualified medical professionals are not reliable.”

“Food allergy is usually investigated via a skin prick test by a medical professional with access to the patient’s clinical history, sometimes in conjunction with a period of eliminating the suspect food.”

Listen, if Allergists can convince you that these new food intolerance and food sensitivity tests are worthless then you will continue to frequent their offices. And that’s what this research and news report were all about. Casting doubt on new technologies in order to keep you in their offices.

Nerissa Oden