What is Food Additive Sensitivity?

“Food allergies” and “food sensitivities” sound similar but are actually very different. Let’s look at the differences—and how testing can help—using food additives as an example.

What are food additives?

Manufacturers use food additives to help maintain food’s freshness, safety, taste, or appearance. They can come from natural sources like plants or animals. They can also be refined products like sugar or synthetically produced substances like MSG.

What is a food allergy?

With a food allergy, your immune system reacts to a specific food, triggering skin, breathing, or gastrointestinal problems. Symptoms appear within minutes up to two hours after consuming the food. They include hives, swelling, breathing problems, vomiting, or even life-threatening anaphylaxis. Allergic reactions to food additives are typically less common and less severe than reactions to other foods, and only rarely result in anaphylaxis.

What is a food sensitivity?

With a food sensitivity, your body reacts to a food, but symptoms are usually gastrointestinal—such as gas, bloating, and vomiting—though they can also include fatigue, brain fog, joint stiffness, and headaches. Symptoms take longer to appear than do food allergy reactions (from hours up to days), persist longer, and are not life-threatening. For example, xantham gum is often added to gluten-free foods but can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea for those sensitive to it.

How can testing help?

At ARCpoint Labs of Atlanta-Buckhead, we offer many foods sensitivity and allergy, and Gastrointestinal (GI) tests, such as our Food Additives Test checks for 57 commonly consumed food additives by looking at the specific antibody-to-antigen recognition. This panel measures both IgG and IgA sensitivity to the food additives, which can help in distinguishing food additive sensitivities from regular food sensitivities.

Come set up an appointment at ARCpoint Labs of Atlanta-Buckhead to see what food additives are not for you.