Understanding food allergies and sensitivities can be a confusing process for parents. The hard work of managing and avoiding problem foods can yield great rewards. Exposure to allergens, even in the smallest quantities, can wreak havoc with your child. Both food allergies and intolerances can hinder health.
Testing in an allergist’s office often starts with a skin prick test. However, a blood test can be more accurate in identifying allergies and sensitivities. Avoiding gluten, casein and soy (the GFCFSF diet) is an important first step, but many parents find they need to look deeper. Allergy testing is an important tool for identifying all problem foods and making better food choices for your child’s unique needs.
Blood tests measure immunoglobin responses to foods (typically IgE, IgG, IgA, or IgM). It is important to choose an allergy panel that tests as many foods as possible.
Eight foods account for 90 percent of food allergies in humans:
- Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts)
- Fish (such as bass, cod, flounder)
- Shellfish (such as crab, lobster, shrimp)
Lab results indicate the presence and the severity of allergic responses. Be prepared to eliminate all foods that test positive for a period of time. While lab tests provide important guidance, the most effective test is elimination, followed by reintroduction of the problem food. For example, if your child’s lab test shows a mild reaction to broccoli, the first step may be eliminating broccoli for at least six weeks. After that, your doctor may suggest a rotation trial, in which broccoli is given on a four-days-on, four-days-off schedule. During a rotation trial, note the big five: sleep, rashes, redness, poop, and behavior. Do not introduce any new foods, therapies, or treatments, during the rotation period. If this process indicates a problem with a food, it should be removed from the child’s diet, regardless of any lab results.
Parents, caretakers, therapists, and schools must be 100 percent compliant during any elimination or rotation period.
Some parents report that the foods their children crave are the ones they are most reactive to on lab tests. Frequent cravings or consumption of large quantities of a particular food are signs of a food allergy or intolerance that should be investigated via lab tests or elimination.
Supplements and prescriptions
Check supplements and prescription medications for problem ingredients. Prescriptions can be compounded to eliminate allergens. Avoid adjusting doses or introducing anything new while you’re evaluating problem foods.
Food allergies and intolerances can change over time. Doctors recommend repeating allergy tests every two years.
Autism Journey Blueprints
Parent Mentor Program
Find a TACA Chapter near you
Email or Phone