Doubt cast on many reports of food allergies

Source: The New York Times

The federal government recently commissioned a report to investigate food allergies and the tests being used to diagnose them. The investigation was headed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases department. The results of the study found that most people who believe they have food allergies (approximately 30 percent of the population) have actually been misdiagnosed by their doctors.

Only approximately 5% of adults have food allergies. Patients misdiagnose certain types of food sensitivity or intolerance as an allergy. Doctors often confirm these misdiagnoses because the more reliable tests such as "food challenges" are seen as too time consuming. Instead, they look at things like IgE antibodies which often give false positives since some people produces antibodies to foods without there having any impact on their bodies.

The report affirmed the growing consensus that a great deal more research is needed to understand the cause of food allergies and its interaction with our immune system.