Testing for kids with food allergies

Allergies in children are on the rise. It's estimated that between 6 and 8 per cent of children under three in Europe and North America have a food allergy. And the last two decades have seen a 500 per cent increase in hospital admissions for food allergies among the young. In response to this growing problem, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued new guidelines in February on food allergies in children.

The guidelines should help GPs spot the symptoms of allergies, but they are also aimed at parents who may be misdiagnosing these allergies in their children.

We find out the best ways to test your kids for allergies, and we look at the pitfalls of DIY home kits. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's the Atkins diet or liquid diets, people will try almost anything in their frantic desire to shed a few pounds. Unfortunately, the results are usually the same. Although diets do produce results in the short term, very few dieters maintain their weight loss.

Immediate and delayed allergies

It's helpful to understand that, broadly speaking, there are two types of food allergy. Dr Fox explains the difference. 'With immediate-type allergies, you see a reaction very quickly after you eat the food, usually within a few minutes.

'Symptoms include hives, itchiness and swelling – and, if you're very unlucky, those reactions can cause anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. 'Delayed-type allergies are more subtle and harder to spot, because it's the chronic build-up of a particular food that causes the allergic reaction.'

In young children, the most common delayed-type allergy is to milk protein, which causes chronic symptoms such as eczema, reflux, colic and diarrhoea. This is not to be confused with lactose intolerance, which does not involve the immune system.

Delayed-type allergies are difficult for doctors to diagnose, partly because there's no obvious relationship between eating the food and the onset of symptoms. The fact that these symptoms are also common in children without allergies makes a diagnosis harder still.

Food allergy or intolerance?

Food intolerance is an adverse reaction to a particular food or ingredient, which occurs every time the food is eaten. It's often confused with a food allergy, but it's very different because the immune system isn't activated.

Instead, food intolerance occurs when the body is unable to deal with a certain foodstuff, usually because it doesn't produce enough of the chemical or enzyme needed to properly digest that particular food. One of the most common intolerances is to cow's milk, which contains a certain type of sugar called lactose.

If you have a shortage of the enzyme lactase, you can't break down milk sugar into simpler forms that can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

If your child is intolerant to lactose and eats or drinks dairy products, they may experience symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

Diets fail to address the emotional aspect of overeating

Squash is an intensive sport therefore making it ideal for weight loss. You are advised to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day on average, but for squash it is half this. So, you only need to do less than 2 hours of squash a week to stay healthy under the government’s guidelines. For squash weight loss you should do more than this.

All exercise is good for health

Increasing the amount of fat burning exercise you do on a regular basis is an effective way to improve your health and fitness and help you make the most of the benefits of alli. When you consume fewer calories your body has to use its fat stores for energy and as it does that, you lose weight.

When you exercise, you can encourage your body to burn fat stores more often, so regular exercise can also raise your metabolic rate. This not only helps you lose weight and helps with your general fitness, it helps you maintain your weight loss.

Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body uses up calories. So, if you take in 2,500 calories a day, and burn all those 2,500 calories a day, you’ll stay the same weight. If you burn only 2,000 of those calories, you’ll put on weight. Becoming more active is an effective way to speed up your metabolic rate so that you can burn more calories than you eat.




Regular exercise has a great many health benefits too, including helping to combat diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and osteoporosis. Also, as your body releases natural feel-good chemicals when you exercise, this can boost your mental and emotional wellbeing, helping you to combat stress and feel happier. Remember to consult your doctor before you start an exercise programme. The guidelines should help GPs spot the symptoms of allergies, but they are also aimed at parents who may be misdiagnosing these allergies in their children.

We find out the best ways to test your kids for allergies, and we look at the pitfalls of DIY home kits. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's the Atkins diet or liquid diets, people will try almost anything in their frantic desire to shed a few pounds. Unfortunately, the results are usually the same. Although diets do produce results in the short term, very few dieters maintain their weight loss.