Food allergies and sensitivities in Australia’s youth

Food allergies and sensitivities in Australia’s youth

Food allergies and sensitivities in Australia's youth
Do you have, or know some who has, reactions to certain foods such as nuts, dairy or wheat? Food allergies and sensitivities, or intolerances, together affect around one in five people – or maybe more. Many of us may react to food and not even realise it.

I saw a client recently, a mum of a 3-year old boy with asthma and dermatitis (skin rash). Although her doctor didn’t think so, she wanted to know if certain foods might be triggering her son’s symptoms. We agreed to trial a modified diet that avoided all foods containing additives, particularly sulphites, as well as dairy and wheat. A couple of weeks later she contacted me via e-mail saying: “We have noticed a definite improvement to his asthma and his skin. His dermatitis has vanished! Funnily enough, so has his sister’s, so there might be some benefit to all of us.” And a little while later, “Physical symptoms have all but vanished…it is truly amazing!”

This is a common story, including the observation that other family members noticed health benefits when avoiding certain foods. This boy’s reaction to particular foods/food chemicals is because of food sensitivity or intolerance. He did not have a food allergy and there is no reliable test to identify his food reactions, apart from a restricted diet followed by food challenges to work out which foods he reacts to. So what are food allergies and food sensitivities and what is the difference between them?


Published in: Health & PE (2017), vol 1, no 1, pp 3-10, Warringal Publications.

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