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What Is Food Intolerance? Common Myths and Truths: Live Q&A

3 minute read time

Earlier this month we held a live Facebook Q&A, offering a rare opportunity for you to ask an expert in the industry your questions on food intolerance.

In recent years more and more people have become aware of food intolerances, there has been a lot of talk in the media about the rise of free-from foods and even celebrities coming forward about their intolerances. Not only has this led to a surge in people self-diagnosing suspected food intolerance but it has also led to much confusion about the topic. Understanding the need for more information, our live Q&A provided a forum for your questions.

The turnout was fantastic but we appreciate that not everyone could make it – for those of you who missed out we’ve put together a few of the questions we found particularly interesting.

My son (now aged 10) has an intolerance to fish. When weaning him as a baby if he had cod he would start being sick a few hrs after and would continue till it had left his system. He has eaten it since approx. 6/7 months old. What I would like to know is would it be dangerous to try it now?

It is hugely unlikely that your son would have an anaphylactic reaction as the only signs he has shown in the past were of intolerance rather than allergy. The two are very different. Why not re-introduce fish in a tiny dose, say mashed into some potato and if there is no reaction increase the amount next time. Fish is a healthy part of a balanced diet and considered brain food for children so missing out on it would be a shame.

I am intolerant to egg. Is it true the flu jab is injected into egg? Also in some anaesthetic?

The amount of egg membrane protein in a flu jab is infinitesimally small so as food intolerance is dose related it is highly unlikely that you’ll need to worry about having a flu vaccination.

Would you say tests from blood and hair samples show the same results or is the hair less reliable?

Hair analysis has no scientific basis in diagnosing food intolerance. There are many things that hair analysis can do especially in the area of forensic medicine but it is not scientifically reliable in the field of food intolerance.

I have an intolerance to eggs and yeast. I’m also lacking in calcium. Can you advise how to intake calcium and any advice if avoiding eggs can cause deficiency?

Rich sources of calcium include milk, cheese, and other dairy products and also tofu and green, leafy vegetables. If you like sardines these are an excellent source as well, as is any bony fish. You can easily avoid eggs without compromising your overall nutrition with these other dairy products and green leafy vegetables.

I have a gluten intolerance yet gluten free breads still affect me whereas I seem ok with the non-rising GF breads – pitta and wraps. Could this mean I also have an intolerance to yeast or is it likely to be something else?

It is certainly possible that yeast is triggering your symptoms. You could either have a test for this or exclude it as well as gluten from your diet for 2-3 weeks to see if that makes a significant difference.

I’ve been tested with intolerance to kiwi (I had one anaphylactic shock in the past) does it mean I’m allergic to it? What’s the difference between allergy and intolerance? If I’m barley/malt intolerant can I consume gluten free oats?

There is a very comprehensive explanation of the difference between allergies and intolerances on our website. You can eat gluten free oats if you are intolerant to barley/malt. Oats do not contain gluten but a protein called avenin which is similar to gluten but also there can be cross contamination with oats from crops which contain gluten as they often grow in fields next to each other; so to be safe it is better to buy gluten free oats.

Every so many weeks I get so run down my joints flair up and I’m exhausted and I have to have a day or two in bed yes I have a busy-ish life but there seems to be a pattern and am wondering it it could be anything I eat healthy lots of fruit veg green juices and exercise and take supplements.

Interestingly, the gentleman who founded YorkTest was himself so fed up with aching joints and fatigue that he researched and set up this company specialising in the investigation of food intolerance. Suffice to say that it enabled him to identify the root causes in his diet and his symptoms all settled down permanently. There could of course be other explanations in your case. Certain viruses can cause fatigue and joint inflammation as can auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. See your doctor who can carry out some basic tests and then think of YorkTest’s founder. Get that YorkTest done!

Have you got any more questions about food intolerance? If you think you might have a food intolerance take our Food Intolerance Test which will give you a simple ‘yes or no’ answer. 

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