There are now many different food intolerance tests available to practitioners and consumers; the growing market is driven by increasing personal interest in health, clinical need, limitations of the conventional medical system and direct customer demand. However, the growing number of food intolerance tests could make you question whether, if any, hold a basis in science and what options you can take if you suspect a food intolerance†.
What is the “gold standard” elimination diet?
Food intolerance is relatively common and has been estimated to affect up to 45% of the population and many people choose to remove foods from their diet without any evidence, support or guidance. People who suspect they have food intolerance also attempt the “gold standard” elimination diet and challenge method; a method which can be long and laborious; it is difficult to determine the exact combination of relevant trigger foods using this method. Others carry on with daily life thinking that their symptoms are “normal” and not realising the opportunity that they have to change their diet and change their life.
Do an internet search on “food intolerance tests” and it’s a fact that the majority of “tests” that appear have no basis in science or proven scientific validity, such as hair analysis. Results from these types of tests can lead to many foods being eliminated from the diet unnecessarily and research studies show that these tests provide information that is no better than chance. It’s no wonder that food intolerance “tests” have a bad name.
These types of tests were reviewed by Mullin et al (2010) who identified only one type of strategy for identifying potential trigger foods, which, to quote, “has proven useful as a guide for elimination diets with clinical impact for a variety of diseases”. That one strategy is the food-specific IgG guided elimination diet.
What is IgG testing?
Measurement of food-specific IgG antibodies is used as a strategy for identifying foods to which a subject may be sensitive. This type of testing is now considered mainstream as many choose to use this approach as a starting point for an elimination diet. The YorkTest food-specific IgG antibody tests test for food-specific IgG antibody reactions to 200+ different whole food extracts. The test is not diagnostic of any condition, but is used as an aid to management of dietary intake, a “starting point” for an elimination diet.
If you suspect you have a food intolerance† , it could be overwhelming to remove ingredients one-by-one. Did you know the average YorkTest customer typically reacts to 4 or 5 ingredients? Therefore, there could be some unsuspecting ingredients that may be challenging to find by simply removing ingredients you suspect are causing a reaction. We aim to give you continued support throughout in the form of nutritional consultations and after care support, so you’re not starting an elimination diet blindfolded.
Survey data has been collected since the launch of the service in 1998, and still are to this day to determine whether using the YorkTest food-specific IgG tests are effective for a guided elimination diet. This survey data encapsulated why the YorkTest customer wanted to change their diet, how well the customer was able to respond to the dietary advice, how much benefit, if any, that they felt and how quickly they felt any benefit. In 2007, data from 5286 subjects, the largest survey of its kind, were collated and independently audited by the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York and were subsequently published. You can view the full results here. The YorkTest food-specific IgG ELISA tests have also been used in other independent studies.
In the 10 years since the survey data were published, YorkTest has continued to capture data from the many hundreds of thousands of individuals that have used their programmes and have seen results that are consistent with the original published survey data. We also publish customer testimonials, so people who are considering a IgG food intolerance test can see for themselves real results from real people.
Here at YorkTest, we continually aim to develop our research. There is good evidence to support the role of IgG testing in complex conditions, such as IBS and migraines. You can view all our research here.
In terms of reproducibility, ensuring that matched samples can be tested over and over again and give the same results for the end user is imperative. YorkTest have extensive data sets supporting test reproducibility of >98%. Every working day of every working week many hundreds of data points are collected and analysed to ensure that the results issued are accurate and reproducible.
To sum it up…
Food intolerance testing† to guide an exclusion diet can be a really valuable tool when used in the right circumstances, and with advances in technology much more is possible.
You might be wondering what can you do if you suspect you have a food intolerance? Fortunately, we have various options available at our fingertips. It has to be said that there are dubious tests on the market, such as hair analysis, that could ultimately give food intolerance tests a bad reputation. Here at YorkTest, we are in a unique position with 35 years of experience, a wealth of customer feedback and proven robust and effective methodologies.
Ultimately, people have alternative methods if they’d like to undertake an elimination diet. They can opt for the ‘gold standard’ method or to use IgG testing which could be a starting point for an elimination diet and offers an overview as to what works for and against the body.
Now more than ever, you have the choice to lead a healthier, happier lifestyle.
For more support, you can check out the below posts:
5 Elimination Diet Mistakes & How To Overcome Them – Have you already started your elimination diet? Or are you building yourself up to start one yourself? An elimination diet can be daunting, but with the right prep, motivation and advice, it can be a beneficial time to listen to your body and see what foods work for you and which don’t.
About Us – Find out all about who we are at YorkTest
Our Research – Our research work shapes and directs the way in which we conduct our food intolerance and other testing services. Please take a look at our research.
Customer Survey Results 2017 – Check out our latest customer survey results. Did you know 80% of customers saw improvements in their health following a YorkTest programme?
 Mullin G et al (2010) Testing for food reactions: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Nutr Clin Pract 25:192-8
† YorkTest define food intolerance as a food-specific IgG reaction
YorkTest recommend that you discuss any medical concerns you have with a GP before undertaking a YorkTest programm