Several allergists determined my son had "no food allergies" and that he was fine. But that was because his inability to digest gluten was not a immediate type IgE allergy--it was a sensitivity to gluten caused by the genes for celiac which destroyed his gut and altered his ability to tolerate many foods. After two doctors told me my son didn't have any allergies, the GI doctor finally found the genes for celiac which explained why he had gone from the 95% of weight to the 5% of weight after we introduced gluten (wheat) and dairy into his diet. Technically, he didn't have a life threatening IgE allergy. One doctor even told me, "we have a death and disease model" meaning if you are not going to die from something immediately after eating it, it isn't a problem. But my son was wasting away and his brain was starving for nutrients. And if I hadn't changed his diet he would have a serious, lifelong developmental problem. But, technically, he didn't have an IgE allergy. Celiac is actually a gluten intolerance which causes an autoimmune disease--it is not a true allergy. The protein from gluten causes the villi in the stomach to be stripped away so nutrients can not be absorbed and the person is starving for nutrients. Celiac is often overlooked by allergists because you will not die from it after consuming the food. You will die years later from cancer because you didn't absorb nutrients, and you might be infertile and unable to carry a baby because you don't have enough nutrients to support a fetus. You will have chronic, unexplained problems for years and yes, technically, you will be allergic to nothing even though gluten is causing your body to attack itself and not absorb nutrients.
Allergists missed my daughter's obvious celiac signs as well as my son's and by listening to allergists, I watched my son get sicker and sicker until we finally learned that they were talking about a specific type of allergy they can easily test for. After getting better on a gluten free diet, another doctor finally gave my son a diagnosis of "allergy syndrome." Another doctor finally found the genes for celiac.
The article actually makes me mad because it simplifies an issue that is incredibly complex and makes it sound like the issues that people have with food are in their head. It takes the average person with celiac 11 years to get diagnosed. These people can have severe problems ranging from chronic stomach aches, infertility to learning disorders all caused by their inablity to digest gluten. Interestingly, chronic digestive problems and lactose intolerance are frequent problems for the undiagnosed celiac. Furthermore, more and more doctors are recognizing gluten intolerance as a disorder with profound physical and neurological consequences such as arthritis, migraines, and ADHD.
Yes, technically these people say they have allergies and they don't--but they have very real symptoms and those with celiac have a disease that is life threatening caused by a reaction to a specific food. Also, just because there isn't a test for something does not mean it doesn't exist. IgE testing is limited. Although IgE tests do pick up allergies that don't exist they don't pick up the food sensitivities which are causing real, chronic problems for many people. Just because IgE allergies are overestimated doesn't mean the many, many people who get sick from eating food are not having a real reaction to food. Their reactions just aren't IgE mediated. There is also a gastro allergy which is incredibly difficult to test for because the allergy is happening inside the gastrointestinal system. This disease, which is considered incredibly rare, but isn't as rare as it once was, often takes years to diagnose.
The article says that 25% of the population who thinks they have food allergies don't actually have food allergies. What they are neglecting to say is how many of them have been told they have IgE allergies that don't really exist? How many of them get sick from food and think they have allergies, but the allergies might be a food intolerance, which they don't have a test or a name for? How many of them have early signs of celiac and can't digest lactose and think they have an allergy to milk?
Also, they did a food challenge with my son with dairy and determined he wasn't allergic to dairy. But it was because he was intolerant of BOTH gluten and dairy. He did not get better when we removed dairy from his diet. But when we removed both gluten and dairy he finally got better. I almost lost my son listening to allergists. I just wished I had known how little they actually knew about allergies--as well as how little they know about celiac.