Elisabeth Hasselbeck was a recent guest on the Dr. Oz show covering “Hidden Food Allergies”.
It was an interesting segment, though I’m disappointed that Dr. Oz didn’t differentiate between Celiac Disease (which is what Hasselbeck has), Food Intolerances and Food Allergies.
The focus of the show was more on intolerance symptoms in women and what to do about it, and not at all on the potential life threatening nature of some food allergies.
I feel it’s also important to point out that Celiac Disease, while very serious, is an autoimmune disorder and not a food allergy at all.
In response to Dr. Oz asking, “Why do you feel so passionately about getting women to wake up to their hidden food allergies?”
One of Hasselbeck’s comments was, “We pay attention to it with kids. I mean, you walk into a school and you know what kid has a food sensitivity. They’re basically walking around with stickers on them. I can’t have nuts, I can’t have seeds, I can’t have this, I can’t have that. Well we’re so hyper focused on that which is great, but what that should indicate is that it isn’t just about the children. Actually the adults are facing the same intolerances, sensitivities, and autoimmune diseases that the kids are facing. We’re just distracting ourselves and we’re not getting to the bottom of why we are feeling the way we are feeling.”
From this comment, I can’t help but feel that Hasselbeck does not know or understand the difference between a food intolerance and a food allergy. Even more frustrating is that she was being portrayed as an expert.
At the beginning of the show Dr. Oz stated, “It took my next guest over five years to discover her own hidden food allergy.”
Again, Hasselbeck has Celiac Disease.
It is not my intent to dismiss the seriousness of Celiac Disease or Food Intolerances, but to point out how this type of segment can lead to misinformation.
For the record I’ve defined the differences below:
A food allergy is an exaggerated immune response triggered by a food or more specifically – a protein within that food. In an allergic reaction, the body responds to the allergen by binding directly to the allergen and releasing chemicals that cause allergic symptoms. In short, the immune system does not recognize the food protein and creates immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. Food allergies are not always but can be life threatening.
A food intolerance is a digestive system response rather than an immune system response and is not usually life threatening. With a food intolerance, the body does not produce IGE.
Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing important parts of food. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. In Celiac disease, the body attacks itself. The immune system does not produce IGE, but different antibodies – namely IGA. While not immediately life threatening, Celiac disease can cause significant damage over time.
An autoimmune disease is when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake.
For more information and to view clips from the show, click on Dr. Oz Video.
For a basic checklist of Food Intolerance symptoms, click on Dr. Oz Symptoms Checklist. Dr. Oz states that if your score is around 15 or more, you may be food sensitive.
And let me know what you think! Did the find the segment interesting or did you feel it added confusion to the topic of food allergies, food intolerances and Celiac Disease?