Editor’s letter: Food allergies and intolerance

Editor’s letter: Food allergies and intolerance

If you’re a food lover like me, the idea of a food, or group of foods, being off limits is a miserable one. But for the one in five New Zealanders who have a food allergy or sensitivity, having to avoid certain foods is a lived (and, for some, lifesaving) reality.

The only food I’ve ever had any trouble with is green kiwifruit, which occasionally triggers hives.

Optimistically, I give it a go every season to see if things have changed but haven’t had any luck so far and end up sticking with the gold variety instead.

In my 20s, I went to a music festival where a kinesiologist told me I needed to give up dairy. But her diagnostic method of having me hold a small medicine bottle while she pressed down on my arm didn’t fill me with confidence, so I chose to ignore her advice and continue my love affair with cheese. We are inseparable, to this day.

Jokes aside, if you are feeling unwell and suspect something you’re eating might being playing a part, I urge you to make your GP your first port of call. Your GP can make sure you access evidence-based diagnostics and appropriate specialist care and advice. As my kinesiology example above illustrates, there are a lot of questionably-qualified people out there who are quite liberal with recommending a person stops eating certain things, without reliable evidence to back those recommendations.

And, if the cornerstone of a healthy diet is variety, limiting what food is available to you, unnecessarily, is just bad advice. To find out which allergy or sensitivity tests you can trust, head here.

First published: August 2019

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