Saturday, 26 February 2011

Card-Carrying Wheat Dodger?

This post is a bit delayed partly due to life getting in the way and partly from me reeling from shock.

I received my results to the York Test I blogged about in January very quickly after posting my blood sample off to their lab. I think it took about a week or so.

Now, if you're a regular reader, you'll know that I find food intolerance frustrating as doctors rarely know how to diagnose them (or perhaps know it is quite expensive to run tests to find out exactly what is wrong). I was diagnosed as wheat intolerant after a process of elimination suggested by my GP which caused my symptoms to almost disappear when I eliminated wheat. Even after this diagnosis was made, there's always this nagging doubt that it's 100% accurate which is exacerbated by people asking things like 'how do you know you're wheat intolerant?' and 'how come it's just come on and it wasn't a problem before?' Having some kind of confirmation that you're not mad or attention seeking is quite a comfort. So I was really keen to get my results
from York Test to get a second opinion.

The results are shown on a form (see picture above) which is in very plain and simple terms. There are two columns that list the 113 foods they test for intolerance with a result next to each. The foods that give a positive result go to the top. The top 3 on my results were Egg White, Egg Yolk and Gluten (Gliadin). There is a separate option for wheat which apparently gave no reaction.

This changes things a bit then.

My diet rarely incorporates gluten, as many wheaty alternatives I buy are gluten and wheat free. So this diagnosis could be right. Eggs have become a close ally since many cereals have been taken off the menu so I probably eat them more than ever before. Can this be right? How the flip am I supposed to cut out Gluten AND eggs? It doesn't just mean I'll have nothing to dip my gluten free soldiers in, eggs are in so many products. They also help wheat free cakes rise and I can't be without cake completely!

So, I chose to ignore the egg thing.

I don't know about you, but since you gave up an ingredient, heck, an entire food group, have you found you are even more sensitive to it? I have. I react much worse than before and to smaller doses too. So if I give up eggs for a while, chances are, they will be very difficult to reintroduce (based on my experience, not what the doctors say).

Lucky for me (sort of) on a scale of 0-4, my reaction is 1 for gluten and eggs. I also have a borderline reaction to yeast apparently, but again, it doesn't feature that highly in my diet anyway. The scale refers to your reaction, not how much you should cut out or whether or not you should cut out the items listed. York Test advise you remove these items from your diet completely if you score between 1-4. I imagine a level four reaction for gluten would mean you are coeliac. If I have gluten/wheat I feel quite ill but I'm not bed bound or off work, I just feel like I had week long bender on the Jagermiesters.

So, now you have your results, what next? Well, York Test provided me with a results guidebook to help me figure out how to remain healthy if I choose to remove the suggested items from my diet. I also received a food diary to test out their theory over 12 weeks, a special membership/proof of intolerance card to carry around and a voucher for a free telephone consultation endorsed by Allergy UK. I haven't used any of them as yet due to very poor time management on my part. I will have a go soon though as I'm rather intrigued, particularly by the consultation. I suppose if my symptoms were worse, I would have definitely used all of these items by now.

So, all in all it's a useful exercise but I am taking the results with a pinch of salt. I am avoiding gluten more so than before and will cut eggs out a bit more if I feel a bit dodgy after eating them. If the reactions were worse, I would definitely take heed.

If you would like to know more about York Test, visit their website



  1. I imagine a level four reaction for gluten would mean you are coeliac.

    Probably not. I used to spend a good two hours a day looking down a microscope to tell whether people were coeliac or not. It's not a 'gluten intolerance' as is constantly said in public books. It is to the extent that you can't tolerate gliadin (a protein that's found in gluten) but it's not the same as having a food intolerance.

    Coeliac disease is an autoimmune conditon - the body produces antibodies in response to gliadin. You can detect anti-Gliadin antibodies or endomysial antibodies in a lab and these antibodies actually end up attacking the wall of the small intestine, destroying the villi. It causes the pains and the malnutrition because iron and calcium etc. aren't absorbed properly.
    < / end scientific rant >

    The Yorktest looks interesting though. It's the price that puts me off. Have you considered cutting down on eggs and seeing if you feel better? But I can see the reluctance to cut them out. Eggs would be awkward.

    And yes - I thought I'd be less sensitive but it's worse. I used to function eating wheat, but on Christmas day I had some crisps where I didn't read the packet and spent 18/24 hours on Boxing Day asleep with a stomachache. And a lovely rash too.

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    Jen :-)