NY Times Report: Misdiagnosed Food Allergies are Far to Common

A recent article in the New York Times states that misdiagnosed food allergies are on the rise and many of the 11 million people, including 3 million children, are needlessly avoiding certain foods and spending hundreds of dollars more on non-allergenic supplements.   

Ouch… for many peoples health and pocketbook.

The article states that many of these misdiagnoses are occurring because of the widespread use of a quick, convenient, and often unreliable, simple blood test for antibodies that could signal a reaction to food, rather than having the painful skin testing and time consuming “food challenge” testing.

My first thought after reading this article was “better safe than sorry”, but further reading explained that avoiding certain foods in the mistaken fear of an allergy may be making many children at risk of malnutrition and more sensitive to certain foods when they finally do eat them (Which brings up a whole different issue: What happens to siblings that don’t eat peanuts, wheat or another foods, because another sibling is allergic to them? Does that MAKE the non-allergic one eventually sensitive to that food?). 

Any thoughts? How were you (or your child) diagnosed with your food allergy or celiac disease (blood work? Skin testing? Bioposy? Food challenge?) ? Do you feel it was accurate or the best way to determine a food allergy / celiac diagnosis in your case?


10 Responses to “NY Times Report: Misdiagnosed Food Allergies are Far to Common”

  1. Robena Lasley Says:

    I was diagnosed, wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, dietary yeast and egg intolerant by a stool sample. I believe that is more reliable then a blood test. Because I don’t carry the celiac gene DQ2 or DQ8, but inherited double genes, DQ1, for gluten intolerance, it was completely missed by blood test,s as well as my grandson and sisters, were also missed by blood tests.

  2. Toni Says:

    I was diagnosed with Celiac and refused the colon biopsy. My Doctor told me to not eat wheat and then told me to take my children off wheat because I refused to have them biopsed as well

  3. Sue Says:

    My husband and daughter were diagnosed with celiac with both blood test and biopsy. Seeing the pictures of the intestines makes a believer out of me. They had symptoms that are not top on the list for celiac so we are thankful that their doctors knew to test for it. As far a becoming sensitive to gluten if you stay away from it….I too wondered about that. So far I have no answers.

  4. Kathleen Reale Says:

    Thanks for all of the comments so far! I look forward to hearing more thoughts. =)

    Be Free!

  5. Heather Says:

    I have been reassured by more than one allergist that avoiding certain suspect foods does NOT raise the risk of a later allergy. Being on a special diet does, of course, risk malnutrition, particularly because we avoid things like enriched cereals, drink low-in-protein milk-substitutes, etc. But if you are truly allergic or sensitive to something, eating it is very dangerous! One of my boys is gluten, soy, and tropical fruit sensitive. The other has celiac, and allergies to soy, dairy, nuts, tropical fruits, coconut, shellfish, and likely more that we just haven’t tried yet. For times, on the advice of allergists, we have avoided ALL legumes till we could safely introduce them, and ALL nuts until we could safely (after age 3, with epi-pen close, in small doses) test each one individually to widen his food options.

    With my “gluten-sensitive” son, I went on and off the gf diet, constantly wondering if I was just imagining it. Now that he is 100% gf, the benefits are clear, and exposures are clear. It’s hard to be 100% free, especially if you doubt yourself too much to stick with it, but once you have been, you’ll probably see more clearly why you should stay that way.

  6. Lisa Says:

    My Son was recently diagnosed with peanut, corn, and wheat allergies. He had a skin test, and next week we are going back for a repeat skin test. At this point we are just avoiding the “bad” foods. I do hope that some of the pos. were false pos., but I guess we will see what happens.

  7. kim perry Says:

    I was diagnosed with celiac in November 2008. Upon reading Dr. Peter Green’s book I began the gluten challanged to ensure antibodies would show up for blood test and for damage to be shown on biopsy. My joints were swelling and i was in so much pain that I didn’t think I could continue the challenge, but I bared it. My blood test was positive and the biposy reveiled celiac. I have been eating gluten free foods but I am still dealing with gastrointestinal problems and joint pain occasionally, maybe due to cross contamination. I suspected other food allergies and went to allergy doctor. He did the skin prick method. The only thing he found i was allergic to was mold. I really think there is an underlying problem with candida.

  8. Giovanna Says:

    I also believe the total elimination of certain foods is risky, though, first the goal is to get better. If your blood work shows you are malnourished then take out the foods that are causing the villi in your small instestin to malfunction. Hopefully in the future with close monitoring you can introduce each item once a week and see what happens. I hope the future holds an answer for so many with food allergies.

  9. Kaite Says:

    I was diagnosed with a soy allergy using the skin test. I didn’t find it painful, but then again, I have a tatoo, so my idea of “pain” might be quite different. I had blood tests for celiac (my uncle has it), but they came back negative. Without more severe symptoms (I have a very…testy digestive system which anxiety can set off easily) and a negative blood test, I opted out of the biopsy. My stress level dropped, and my system began working properly again, so I don’t have celiac at this point. As we all know, these things can change. 🙂

    The only test I had only bloodwork done for was latex allergy–but my doctor won’t do exposure testing with it as it tends to be so severe. Thankfully, it was negative as well.

  10. Bonnie Tolar Says:

    I found this information very interesting and I am looking forward to more posts!

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