Coping with Food Sensitivities Requires Commitment

You suspect that you have food sensitivities underlying your IBS, fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune disorders or other conditions, but you haven’t been able to solve the which-food puzzle. So you think that taking the MRT (Mediator-Release Test) may solve your problem. Great, but that’s only the beginning. It doesn’t solve the problem; it merely points the direction to the solution.

Though the MRT results include foods to be avoided, the primary benefit of the results are a list of foods that are safe, non-triggering foods. From this list of safe foods the dietitian works with the client to make a dietary plan of only those ingredients are safe and non-triggering. After a week or two on the initially-restrictive food plan, it will usually become clear if food sensitivities are really the problem underlying the client’s medical issues. If so, the protocol continues by expanding the food options in a controlled manner. Eventually the non-triggering foods from the MRT results are fully included in the dietary plan, and untested foods are introduced in an orderly way so that it will be clear if they are safe or not. This process requires commitment.

The reality is that once you have the results of the MRT, for many the follow-on solution becomes a life-long commitment to avoiding foods that trigger your condition(s). If you love your current food lifestyle — restaurants, travel, your kitchen is a foreign location to you, etc. — you will likely have to change most of that if food sensitivities truly underlie your problematic health issues. If you are unwilling to change these types of preferences in which you don’t have control over your food ingredients, taking the MRT will be of little value in providing a solution to conditions that are actually triggered by inappropriate immune-system reactions to food.

So if your physical conditions are severe enough that you are willing to learn to prepare your own non-triggering foods, then the MRT can be an appropriate step if your dietitian agrees. If, however, you are determined to frequently eat at restaurants or consume commercially-prepared foods, then taking the MRT may be a waste of time and money because many persons with food sensitivities have difficulty finding non-triggering food dishes in restaurants; it is possible to do so intermittently, but can be difficult to sustain on long trips for example.

So the bottom line is that to be a good candidate for taking the MRT, you should probably meet all the following criteria:

  • You and your dietitian agree that foods may be triggering your problematic food issues.
  • You are willing to comply with the diagnostic food-plan protocol that follows receiving the MRT results.
  • You are prepared to assume responsibility for preparing much of the food you eat so that it doesn’t contain triggering foods and food chemicals.

Author: Doug Hansford

Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist -- trained in university and hospital; certified by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (RDN credential) and by Oxford Biomedical Laboratories (CLT credential). Member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Specializing in food sensitivities treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migrane, fibromyalgia, and other conditions related to food sensitivities, which can include asthma, eczema, heartburn/GERD, arthritis, joint pain, chronic fatigue, chronic sinusitis, skin eruptions, and autism/ADD. Also a former certified personal trainer and part-time lecturer in the department of nutrition and food science at a major research university.