The Food Detective makes the work of detecting and managing food intolerances easier:
  • It needs just a few drops of blood from a finger-prick and you can have results in under an hour
  • You can rank antibody results by intensity, and work out a practical plan to improve food choices and control symptoms.
  • The quickest and most affordable diagnostic test of its type in Ireland. 

The technology used in the Food Detective is Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), the same laboratory method used for most hospital lab-tests for antibodies. ELISA is used daily throughout Ireland to test for serious conditions such as HIV, Hepatitis and most infectious diseases.

40 minutes work

You start by disinfecting and pricking a finger (with the provided lancet device) and collecting a few drops of blood. In just 40 minutes - without needing a laboratory or other equipment - the Food Detective detects antibody levels against 59 common foods. 

If there are strongly positive results to any of the food groups in the test (or several moderate results), the simple act of substituting the foods can help transform health and well-being.

Tip: Keep a proper written record (even a photo taken with a phone) of the results! Memory plays incredible tricks - you wouldn't believe how easy it is to persuade yourself (in just a few weeks) that foods you like had weaker results than foods you don't. Stick a copy of the results on the fridge. Bring it when shopping.. 

Is there a scientific basis for this test?

Absolutely! While the term "food intolerances" covers many possible symptoms and conditions, at Nutricentric we focus on those reactions for which there is clinical trial support: 

  1. Proving a food intolerance requires an Elimination-Rechallenge protocol. This is the goal of testing. The results are used to design a workable Elimination Diet. The method often allows the Elimination Diet to have a narrower focus than would be possible through a "blind" Elimination protocol. 
  2. The success of this method has been clinically studied (mainly in hospitals) in gastroenterology (for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's Disease) and neurology (migraines). These studies found the method significantly superior to the comparative intervention (or placebo). 
The vast majority of Food Detective tests have been used by health and nutrition professionals (including gastroenterology, general practice, nursing, acupuncture, pharmacy, nutrition and nutritional therapy). My own trials showed that the method often reduces the need for symptomatic treatments such as painkillers, anti-spasmodics and anti-diarrhoeals. IBS is the most common indication cited by people who are tested. 

Affluent Western Societies show a greater prevalence of immune system disorders whereby the immune system attacks either the body's own proteins or environmental or food proteins that it should otherwise "ignore". The IgG antibodies detected by Food Detective are just one part of this issu

In advising dietary change, practitioners are urged to ensure that patients not only answer their specific Elimination-Rechallenge questions but also use the opportunity to improve their diet in terms of variety and quality. The test generally detects the same relatively narrow range of food proteins that are uncovered by traditional Elimination-Rechallenge trials. For the most part, staple foodstuffs such as meat, vegetables and fruit are not identified as problematic by the test. 



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To learn about the South Asian food panel
(Food Detective Professional Indian Subcontinent version) click hereSouth Asian Foods
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Is the Food Detective as reliable as other food antibody tests? The technology is the same. The purified antigens are the same. The only concession to convenience and cost is a smaller range of food antigens. However, the 50-odd items in the Food Detective cover the main culprits. So yes, the test is as good as anything on the market. Comparisons showed 95% overlap with laboratory-tested results.
  • The test showed slight rings around some of the items but the centres were clear As advised in the booklet, colour around the rim of the circle is an artefact (bits left over by insufficient rinsing during the earlier steps), and should not be interpreted as a positive result.
  • Some items were so faint I can’t be sure they were positive I would rate these as inconclusive, useful to know but not to take too seriously at present. However, the Elimination Diet you adopt after testing might shift the diet towards these foods. So it is certainly helpful to know that there may already be some level of reaction to these foods if future symptoms arise.
  • How long does it take to lower the antibody level enough to be able to take the food again? This depends partly on how strictly the diet is followed and partly on the status of the immune system. A minimum of 3 months total avoidance of key items is advised. In some coeliacs avoiding gluten it took all of 3 years for antibody levels to drop to near zero (gluten-free foods are not actually guaranteed to have zero gluten, there's a cut-off. Some may have up to 20 parts per million).
  • Is it possible that IgG levels would remain high even if not consuming any of that particular food for years? Specific antibodies levels may still remain in circulation for some months after exposure. High levels will not remain unless there are hidden sources in the diet. Foods such as wheat, dairy and corn are widely used as additives in processed foods and cosmetics, so exposure can continue even when a conscious effort is made to avoid them. Gluten also appears in so many guises, it takes concentrated effort to avoid – most would not suspect ice cream, chips or crisps as a source of gluten. Even when avoiding, there is always the possibility of cross-reactivity with other foods, especially in processed or cooked forms of the foods. However, even with incomplete-but-as-good-as-possible elimination, control or avoidance of symptoms may be dramatically improved. 
  • What is the connection between high IgG antibody levels and symptoms? Population studies have shown that two people with similar IgG antibody levels against foods may have quite different levels of symptoms. This is also true of many medical parameters. So there is no directly predictable score that correlates clearly with symptoms. The goal is to use the test to design an individualized Elimination Diet. It is this diet and the later Re-challenge that makes the connection between exposure and symptoms clear. However, in general terms, a research study in Austria in obese adolescents found a correlation between antibody scores and circulating levels of C-Reactive Protein, a measure of inflammation. CRP scores also don't directly correlate with symptoms, but they are a good predictor of future ill health. The theory of how the IgG antibodies lead to symptoms is as follows: If there are high levels of IgG antibodies, these antibodies attach to the offending food proteins to form an Antigen-Antibody complex. These complexes are usually eliminated by other cells in the immune system. However, when the immune system is overloaded, these insoluble molecules become deposited in various areas of the body, such as the head, lung tissue, gastro-intestinal tract, skin and joints, where they produce symptoms such as headaches, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, eczema and rashes, and arthritis. These complexes have been demonstrated in patients with cow’s milk related colitis. Even people without food intolerances can have an understanding of this type of reaction as similar complexes build up during severe infection - for example the IgG antigen-antibody complexes produced by a bad flu or cold may also involve joint pain, gastro-intestinal symptoms, clouded thinking, itchy or sore eyes and many other symptoms. Do I need to re-test after changing my diet?Generally no. After testing, carrying out an Elimination Diet (for 3 months) and then carefully re-exposing yourself to the foods (to learn how you react), you will generally have a good idea of what foods do to you. This will help you identify if other foods later begin to affect you. You'd only re-test if you can't work out what is causing food-related symptoms. I have recently tested a lady, a very conscientious lady, who suffers from coeliac disease. She is careful and thorough, but her results still showed up a moderately strong level of antibodies against gluten (if she was gluten-free there should be none). As she knows her foods and generally enjoys excellent health, we were surprised. We did the test as she had been suffering gastro-intestinal symptoms and debilitating joint pain but hospital tests had not detected the cause. When we discussed the gluten result, she mentioned that she'd recently begun eating a new gluten-free bread - which was perhaps not as gluten-free as claimed. I referred her to a nutritional therapist who made a number of changes and prescribed a number of supplements. 3 months later, she is - almost - as good as new. However, while she dropped the new bread, we're still not absolutely sure what the gluten source was. Or whether another non-gluten protein was triggering gluten-like symptoms.If I have a strong reaction to dairy, can I still take skim milk or yoghurt?Unfortunately no. The reaction is to the protein. And even though the protein mix is a bit different in different forms of dairy products, they still contain the main reacting proteins casein anβ-lactoglobulin. A recent study in the USA also showed that reaction to cooked or otherwise processed foods tends to be stronger than to the raw version. Equally, you might cross-react with milk proteins from other mammals such as goats or sheep.If I have a strong reaction to gluten, does that mean I am coeliac?While coeliacs - who are still eating gluten - will show antibodies against gluten when tested by Food Detective, coeliac disease is a very special form of gluten intolerance. Most people who are gluten-intolerant are not coeliac. It is not always easy to recognize a coeliac. The traditional image is of someone who is gaunt and malnourished, but nowadays many coeliacs are of normal weight, or even overweight. It's often diagnosed after other problems appear, such as infertility, underactive thyroid, or anaemia. The Nutricentric Shop has a quick and reliable coeliac screening kit which can confirm if you are coeliac (but you must have had regular recent exposure to gluten). Contact info@nutricentric.com

  • How do I buy Food Detective? Please first register with us by e-mailing. We can then sell to you with payment by cheque, internet credit card payment or Paypal (you can also order directly on the website).