If allergy testing for common food allergies like peanuts, soy, wheat, eggs, milk or shellfish came back negative, but you still have some of the symptoms, you could have a food sensitivity or intolerance.
A true food allergy will show up when you have allergy testing at your doctor’s office. Many people test negative, yet they continue to have itching, rashes, digestive problems, and other symptoms that are similar to a food allergy. They could very likely have a food intolerance. According to the Mayo Clinic, more people actually have a food intolerance than a food allergy. You may want to try an elimination diet to see if you are one of those with a food sensitivity.
Beginning an Elimination Diet
Your allergist might suggest that you try an elimination diet to see what is causing the uncomfortable bloating and other problems you are having. You may receive instructions on how to do this from your doctor, or you may be referred to a nutritionist for help. The tricky part about this type of diet is that if you cheat even a little bit by eating one bite of a forbidden food, the results of the elimination diet will not be accurate. You need to completely clear your system of all foods that could be causing you problems. During this time, you’ll eat only lamb, rice, and a few fruits and vegetables. You’ll want to make sure you or your child is a good candidate for this type of diet, because it is not for everyone. It takes about six to eight weeks to complete the elimination diet, and during this time you will eat a very limited diet. Most doctors recommend taking vitamin supplements while you’re on an elimination diet.
Completing the Elimination Diet
Foods that could possibly cause a food intolerance are then added back one at a time. For example, if you did not test positive for having a peanut allergy, but each time you eat peanuts or peanut butter, you get stomach cramps
or diarrhea, there is a good chance that you have a peanut sensitivity. An elimination diet finishes by allowing you to eat a food that commonly causes food sensitivities for one day and then to wait a few days to see if you have any reaction to this food. No other new foods are introduced until some time has passed so that you can watch for any reaction to this first food. Any response to a new food that is added should be recorded in a notebook or journal so you can discuss the results with your doctor or nutritionist. You may find that a food intolerance has been the reason for your discomfort and problems that you first believed to be an allergy.