Help with identifying food intolerances

Written by: Dr Sarah Weber

Food is supposed to help children grow up healthy and strong. But for a growing number of kids, something as innocuous as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, scrambled eggs, or a glass of milk can cause problems -- and this can be a major source of anxiety for parents, not to mention much discomfort for the child.

While a growing number of children are diagnosed with food allergies, a 2010 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed the prevalence of food allergy might actually be overestimated. “While allergists in the United States would agree that food allergy issues seem to be increasing, most would also point out that much of what people consider ‘food allergy’ may instead be a food intolerance or non-allergic issue.”1 A true food allergy requires a specific antibody to be produced by the immune system in response to specific proteins in a food.  If a food allergy is suspected, your allergist will collect a complete medical history and perform a physical exam of your child. An allergy skin test or even blood tests can help determine which food(s) caused a reaction.  However, any positive food allergy test can be wrong as much as 90 percent of the time.1

Food intolerances on the other hand are negative reactions, often delayed to a component found in food.  Contrary to allergies, food intolerances do not cause allergic reactions, and they are much more difficult to diagnose than through traditional testing.  Additionally, the symptoms of food intolerances can often mimic those of food allergies.  For example, symptoms of food intolerances can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • colic     
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • gas 
  • bloating, skin rashes
  • eczema 
  • congestion 
  • asthma
  • chronic colds
  • chronic ear infections

These symptoms can occur with a few minutes of ingesting the offending food or up to several days later.

As a family chiropractor and digestive health specialist, Dr. Sarah sees many children and parents with digestive symptoms and can identify food intolerances through a simple urine test and physical exam. Once the offending food is revealed, food intolerances can be easily managed and in many cases resolved.  Finding the source of stress and removing it through dietary changes and specific supplementation will eliminate the above symptoms and allow the body the healing it needs to get back in balance.  


1American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.


For more information, visit Dr. Sarah’s website at

Posted on August 19, 2013 at 1:56 PM