Food intolerance presents differently in different people. Some people experience symptoms such as hives, rashes and eczema, while others experience migraines and gut issues. Children might present with behavioural problems, such as an aggravation of ADHD symptoms or existing behavioural issues. Babies can experience colic, reflux, eczema, nappy rashes and loose stools.
It is important to note that food intolerances are not allergies. Food allergies occur when a person’s immune system reacts to substances in the environment that are harmless for most people. Food intolerances do not involve the immune system (1).
There are currently no reliable tests to diagnose food intolerance, and you should be sceptical if recommended such a test (2).
The best way to diagnose a food intolerance is to first rule out any serious medical conditions with the help of your doctor, and then to commence a strategic elimination diet to try and resolve symptoms. Environmental modification, such as cosmetics, laundry products, personal care items and even medications and supplements may be required. This is best done with the help of an Accredited Practising Dietitian who is experienced in food intolerances.
Once symptoms have been resolved, through diet and environmental modification, it is important to reintroduce foods to determine which are your individual triggers. Once you know what your triggers are, you can make a conscious effort to avoid them in order to keep your symptoms under control.
Page last updated: 20 July 2017