Food intolerance tests

Today one out of four people attributes their symptoms of discomfort to food intolerances or allergies.

Data suggests that this may only be accurate in a very small number of cases, around 3-5%.

Pharmacies, health stores and herbal stores offer their often expensive “food intolerance tests”, based on methods that are unsupported by solid scientific data.
It sometimes happens that people get convinced of having a certain food intolerance, even with no symptoms normally associated with these illnesses. This is the case, for example, of people suffering from obesity who, not being able to lose weight, take one of these tests to identify a food that might be impeding weight loss. However, obesity neither correlated with allergies nor food intolerances, but is largely determined by one’s own habits (nutrition and lifestyle) and metabolism. The result, besides a waste of money, is that people eliminate certain foods without good reason, impoverishing their diet and risking imbalances.

Advice from Altroconsumo

- Avoid taking generic tests for food intolerances as they are useless, costly and potentially damaging to your health. They may in fact encourage you to follow an unbalanced diet, without solving the problem, but rather creating new ones.
- Keep in mind that variety is key to a balanced diet. Eliminating all foods from a specific group (for example, all dairy) is never recommended.
- If you have gastroenterological issues, turn to your general practitioner right from the start.
- Do not forget that many illnesses related to the digestive system may be tied to stress. Stress can inhibit the production of digestive juices as well as the motility of the stomach and intestine, thus impeding digestion and food absorption. Furthermore, stress produces cortisol, which stops the production of gastric mucosa and consequently makes the stomach more vulnerable.
- Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, psychotherapy, or simply dedicating time to pleasurable activities, can help re-establish inner balance, combat stress and help the digestive system function better.

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In collaboration with

ADI - The Italian Society of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition
SIAAIC -The Italian Society of Allergy, Asthma and Clinical Immunology

The information available in this tool is a clue to talk to your doctor or trusted professional. It is not a substitute for information and advice that you can get by contacting them directly.

To find out more and to know the sources used, consult the Altroconsumo website and the Choosing Wisely Italy website