Food sensitivities and allergies have become increasingly common in recent years. Around 32 million people in the U.S. have at least one food allergy. That includes one in every 10 adults and one in every 13 children. Rates of food sensitivity and food intolerance among people are significantly higher. For instance, about 65% of people live with some degree of lactose intolerance.
Over the last few years, testing techniques have made it easier than ever to identify foods that affect the quality of our lives. At-home and lab testing for allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances can help us better understand our bodies and make improved dietary decisions.
We’ll dive into various tests offered and recommend which tests could be a good choice for you.
We recommend Everlywell for both food sensitivity tests and food allergy tests. Everlywell offers an at-home blood sample test for both. You can choose between a basic sensitivity test that checks for 96 foods or a comprehensive test for 204 foods. If you want to test in person, Personalabs allows you to select and purchase allergy tests online, then go to one of their 4,000 participating locations to complete your allergy test and receive your results online within a few days.
Summary of our recommendations:
If you’re wondering about the difference between food allergy, food sensitivity, and food intolerance, we’ve got you covered. Check out the “What is food sensitivity testing?” section below.
Everlywell is our top choice for at-home food sensitivity testing. It conveniently checks sensitivity to a wide variety of foods and gives a clear report of results.
The test from Everlywell offers you a comprehensive assessment of IgG reactivity levels for 96 different foods. You can trust in the accuracy of results when testing with Everlywell, one of the most respected at-home test providers.
Current Deals: Save 20% with coupon code: REFER20
This affordable food allergy test is our top choice for most people. Just order from home, test in a nearby lab, and get results within 48 hours.
Personalabs offers a broader and pricier food allergy test as well, but this blood test can help you diagnose allergies to the most common allergenic foods like wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, and fish.
At Innerbody Research, we extensively test each health service we review, including these food sensitivity testing services. All told, our team has spent over 123 hours testing and researching food sensitivity test services to provide an accurate, unbiased analysis of how they compare, free of marketing jargon and gimmicks.
Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions to live healthier lifestyles. We evaluate the service based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?
Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this guide was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Everlywell and Personalabs both stand out in their fields as superior providers. Everlywell provides food sensitivity tests, while Personalabs offers food allergy testing. We chose the following criteria to give you a fuller understanding of each company and what they offer.
Both Everlywell and Personalabs offer various test options that can impact cost. Both companies’ offerings are competitively priced.
Everlywell offers two food sensitivity test options.
- The Food Sensitivity Test ($159) evaluates 96 foods.
- The Food Sensitivity Comprehensive Test ($259) evaluates 204 foods.
The food sensitivity tests offered by Vitagene ($149) and myLAB Box ($159) are comparably priced with the basic Everlywell test.
Personalabs provides a variety of food allergen tests, including:
- Food Allergen Profile (Basic) Blood Test ($144-$154), which evaluates six foods
- Allergen Profile Food Blood Test ($328-$752), which evaluates 15 foods
The company also offers a variety of single food allergen tests that range from $59-$455.
All of the companies in this review provide high-quality products. Everlywell is a leader in at-home food sensitivity testing because their tests are comprehensive and easy to use. The amount of information about testing and results Everlywell provides to customers is unrivaled.
Personalabs offers an extensive list of tests in addition to food allergy tests. Their site allows you to educate yourself on the best tests for you, compare costs, and safely purchase and set up appointments. There are over 4,000 lab locations nationwide.
Because they are at-home tests, food sensitivity tests edge out allergy tests when it comes to convenience.
Everlywell’s Food Sensitivity Test ships right to your door.
Collect your finger-prick blood sample.
Mail it in the provided envelope.
Wait for your personalized results.
There are no at-home food allergy tests available on the market. Personalabs makes food allergy testing as convenient as possible by allowing you to purchase the test online before visiting a lab for testing.
The accuracy of at-home food sensitivity testing has been hotly debated. Some argue that these tests can give false positives if you’ve recently eaten a particular food, but many have found testing useful in identifying foods that cause underlying symptoms like nausea, bloating, and headaches. Keep in mind that at-home tests are not meant to diagnose or treat a sensitivity. Instead, they are a place for you to start to figure out your digestive issues with your doctor.
Even food allergy tests done in a lab are not 100% accurate. Combined with an elimination diet and other strategies decided upon by your doctor, you can figure out which foods to avoid.
Typically, your order from Everlywell will ship within a few days of ordering. One of our testers received their package within one week. Once you’ve sent your sample in, you may have to wait a few weeks to get your results, though many customers receive their results within just a few days. myLAB Box tends to have quicker turnaround times with lab results in just 2-5 days.
The speed of a test you take with Personalabs depends on you and the lab. You can purchase your test right away from the website. Then, locate a nearby lab and either make an appointment or walk in. In general, you’ll get your results within 2-10 business days.
The food you eat impacts how your body feels. Often, eating food gives us more energy and makes us feel ready to conquer the day. But sometimes, certain foods can cause headaches, digestion issues, joint pain, rashes, breakouts, cough, and other symptoms. Even if you eat a healthy diet, certain foods can trigger a negative response in your body.
A negative reaction to food is usually one of the following:
- Food allergy
- Food sensitivity
- Food intolerance
Often, these terms are used interchangeably or get confused with each other when, in fact, they are very different issues.
If you know someone who gets incredibly sick from eating a particular food, you know someone with a food allergy. Food allergies are often severe and can be life-threatening. Common food allergens include:
The symptoms of an allergic reaction usually present within minutes of eating the food. Symptoms vary but might include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Anaphylactic shock
Anaphylactic shock causes your blood pressure to plummet and makes it difficult to breathe. The body produces immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to fight off the antigens in response to food allergies.
Food sensitivity isn’t life-threatening like a food allergy, but it can be severe or make you feel uncomfortable or unwell. Food sensitivity symptoms include:
- Joint pain
Symptoms can appear hours or even a few days after eating. Common food sensitivities include:
When you’ve got a food sensitivity, your body’s immune system responds to the offending food by producing immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies, in addition to other possible responses. This is different from how our bodies react when we’re allergic to a specific food.
Unlike the two others, food intolerance doesn’t trigger an immune response. Instead, your body lacks a certain digestive enzyme or doesn’t absorb certain nutrients as it should. The most common food intolerance is lactose intolerance, which often results in heartburn, gas, bloating, and/or diarrhea after eating dairy products. Other typical food intolerances are:
- Histamine (found in alcohol, shellfish, certain fruits and vegetables. etc.)
- Some short-chain carbohydrates (found in onions, peaches, beans, wheat, etc.)
Sometimes, these symptoms occur within an hour of ingesting the substance, but other times they could be delayed (up to two days).
Here’s a handy chart for reference, breaking down the differences between the three.
|Test available||Personalab||Everlywell||Breath test|
|How long until symptoms?||Often just minutes later||Anywhere from a half-hour to days later||Anywhere from less than an hour to 2 days later|
|Severity?||Severe - possibly life-threatening||Not life-threatening but significant||Unpleasant but not life-threatening|
|What kind of response triggered?||Immune - IgE||Immune - IgG and more||No immune response|
|How common is it?||5-10% of children; 3-4% of adults||Unknown but very common||Possibly 65% of people|
Editor’s choice for best overall food sensitivity test
- Convenient, at-home testing
- Two levels of sensitivity testing, either 96 or 204 foods
- Food allergy and celiac testing
- Simple blood sample collection process
- Exceptional customer support
- Take 25% off your test with code REFER25
- Not covered by health insurance
- You need to consult with your doctor to understand results
- Tests not available in NY
Everlywell offers two testing kits for food sensitivity.
- The Food Sensitivity Test evaluates 96 foods for a price of $159.
- At $259, the Food Sensitivity Comprehensive Test evaluates 204 foods (including the 96 foods on the basic test).
Both tests gauge your body’s immunoglobulin G (IgG) reactivity to foods commonly found in Western diets. For each food, your results show a score from 0 to 3, with 0 being the lowest reactivity and 3 the highest reactivity. A report includes all of your ratings and an analysis that gives you suggestions for next steps and helps you create a trial elimination diet.
The Food Sensitivity Test evaluates foods in 10 different categories, including meat, dairy, spices, and seafood. Here are the foods assessed in this test:
- Baker’s yeast
- Bay leaf
- Bell pepper
- Black pepper
- Black tea
- Black walnut
- Brewer’s yeast
- Brown rice
- Cheddar cheese
- Chia seed
- Cottage cheese
- Cow milk
- Egg White
- Egg Yolk
- Green Bean
- Green olive
- Green Pea
- Lima Bean
- Mozzarella cheese
- Sweet Potato
The Food Sensitivity Comprehensive Test consists of all foods tested by the lower-priced standard test as well as an additional 100+ other foods. If some of the foods below are a part of your standard diet, you might want to opt for the comprehensive test instead of the standard test.
Foods included in the comprehensive but not the standard test:
- Aloe vera
- Baking powder
- Bamboo shoots
- Black currant
- Brazil nut
- Brussels sprout
- Butter lettuce
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili pepper
- Emmental cheese
- Fava bean
- Goat cheese
- Goat milk
- Grape leaf
- Honeydew melon
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Key lime
- Kidney bean
- Licorice root
- Mung bean
- Navy bean
- Pacific oyster
- Pine nut
- Processed cheese
- Red cabbage
- Sheep cheese
- Sheep milk
- Shiitake mushroom
- Snow pea
Food allergy testing
You can also take Everlywell’s new Food Allergy Test, which screens for IgE antibodies associated with nine common food allergens for $149. Those allergens include:
- Cow’s milk
- Egg white
- Egg yolk
If you suffer from bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and other gastrointestinal issues after consuming gluten, you might want to try Everlywell’s new Celiac Disease Screening Test. It looks for total IgA antibodies, as well as two celiac-specific antibodies: tissue transglutaminase immunoglobulin (tTG-IgA) and deamidated gliadin peptide immunoglobulin G (DGP-IgG). This test costs $119.
Insider Tip: Celiac-related antibodies may not show up if you’ve gone more than a few months without eating any gluten. Talk to your doctor about safely reintegrating small amounts of gluten into your diet to get an accurate result.
You can take advantage of coupon code REFER25 to get 25% off of those prices. Other companies offer the same test of 96 foods, but with that code at Everlywell, you’ll get the best price we have found for it.
The testing process
Everlywell’s tests are both convenient and easy to use. You can take the test from the comfort of your home, send in your sample, and wait for your report. One of our testers received lots of communication from Everlywell after ordering the test, including tracking info and further information about the test. The test took one week to arrive.
One of the first of its kind, this at-home test assesses IgG reactivity levels for nearly 100 different foods.
Everlywell is one of the largest and most respected at-home health and wellness testing companies. The company receives high ratings in terms of Value, Accuracy, Privacy, and Customer Support.
Current Deals: Save 20% with coupon code: REFER20
The kit ships discreetly with no noticeable indicators of the sender. Our testers reported that the box contents were well organized, and the instructions for collecting the sample were easy to follow.
Here are the steps you’ll take once you’ve received either of Everlywell’s tests:
Enter your unique barcode on Everlywell’s website to register.
Fill out the information on your testing card.
Collect your sample using the finger prick collection method. Everlywell provides guidance on its website about collecting enough blood to make your sample viable.
Package your sample and return the kit via the prepaid shipping box included.
A board-certified physician reviews your results. The verified results are made available online within 5-10 days.
Your results provide insight into your possible food sensitivities. Our testers found that their results confirmed some suspicions about certain foods and indicated reactivity to other foods they had never considered. In addition to results, you get guidance and resources from Everlywell to understand your sensitivities and options for what to do next. Our testers liked that they were empowered to take next steps and felt supported by Everlywell in that journey.
A close runner-up
- Quickest results – in 2-5 days
- Convenient testing in your home
- Simple finger-prick sample collection process
- Free physician consultation to discuss results
- Take 20% off your test with code: INNERBODY20
- Confusing results page that doesn’t match web tutorial
- Not much information about the test online
myLAB Box provides a wide array of at-home testing kits, including their Food Sensitivity Test. This test is the same as Everlywell’s basic test. It’s got the same price, number and type of foods tested, testing method, and results provided. When using both the myLAB Box and Everlywell tests, our testers received much faster results from myLAB Box.
However, we did not choose myLAB Box as our best food sensitivity test because of our tester’s experience using the product and because of myLAB Box’s lack of transparency about their test’s features.
One of our testers who used myLAB Box’s food sensitivity test found their results a bit confusing. The test results page listed an Alert next to reactive foods, while the myLAB Box site provides a sample results page with a score of 0-4 next to each food. There is no further information on the results page or on myLAB Box’s site about what an Alert indicates. Our tester had to schedule a consultation to clarify their food sensitivities further.
In addition, myLAB Box does not provide much information on their website about the product. Everlywell provides a wealth of information about its tests, including a comprehensive FAQ and detailed product description. Having these resources gives customers the ability to make more informed purchasing decisions. Perhaps because it is a new product, myLAB Box does not yet provide the same amount of information about its test. We suspect, in the future, the company will improve its customer care with regard to food sensitivity testing.
Editor’s choice for best in-person testing
- Cost-effective lab services
- Follow-ups with a health care provider to understand results
- Over 4,000 locations to take a test
- Customizable food allergy testing options
- Not an at-home test–you must visit a lab
- Not covered by health insurance
Personalab’s tests check for food allergies with two test kits–one that tests basic foods and another that tests a more robust list of foods.
- The Food Allergen Profile (Basic) Blood Test evaluates 6 foods at a price of $144-$154.
- The Allergen Profile Food Blood Test evaluates 15 foods (including the 6 foods from the basic test) and costs $328-$752.
Keep in mind that these are not at-home test kits like Everlywell. You purchase these tests online and then must go to a lab for testing–more details on that below. The costs of these tests depend on the lab you choose, either Quest Labs or Labcorp.
This blood test helps diagnose allergies to the most common allergenic foods, including tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, and wheat.
Personalabs specializes in comprehensive blood tests and partners with over 4,000 labs nationwide. Chances are there is a partner lab convenient to where you live.
The basic test gauges your body’s reaction to the six most common food allergens:
- Cow’s milk
- Egg whites
The more comprehensive test checks for the same foods as the basic test but adds ten more:
- Cashew nut
- Sesame seed
In general, the basic test is a good starting point, but you may opt for the more comprehensive test if you suspect an allergy to the foods on the above list.
You can also choose to test just for one particular food. These tests are great if you already have an idea about which specific food you are most likely allergic to. In some cases, testing for one food costs less than testing for multiple foods at once. Here is a list of the singular food allergy tests offered:
The testing process
Remember that Personalabs is not an at-home test like Everlywell. Food allergy tests cannot be reliably completed at home, so you will have to go into a lab for the test. Here are the steps to follow:
Select and order your test from Personalabs.
Print your order form.
Bring your order form to one of 4,000 Personalabs testing locations. Appointments are recommended, and the testing process usually takes less than 10 minutes. To confirm a testing location near you, check here.
Wait for your results to be posted online, usually within 24-48 hours.
Access a free doctor’s consultation if you have any questions about your results.
In addition to Everlywell, myLAB Box, and Personalabs, many other tests on the market offer testing for food sensitivities and intolerances. These tests include a variety of testing methods. How do they compare to our top picks? Here’s a look at the two worthiest competitors.
Vitagene became well known as a DNA testing company that helps you discover insights about your ancestry. They’ve shifted gears to offer health and wellness testing as well, including their At-Home Food Sensitivity Test.
The test is comparable to Everlywell’s basic test in price and because it:
- Tests the same 96 foods
- Uses a finger-prick blood sample
- Measures immunoglobulin G (IgG) reactivity
- Provides a reactivity score for each food
- Includes a results review from a physician
- Provides online results
The main difference between this test and Everlywell is that Vitagene does not offer a more comprehensive test and doesn’t offer a competitive price discount. Everlywell offers a second test that evaluates 204 foods.
What’s unique about Vitagene is that it pairs nutrition testing with DNA testing. For example, if you purchase Vitagene’s Health + Ancestry Report, you get results about food sensitivities in addition to insights about skin conditions, nutrient deficiencies, exercise, and your ancestry.
FoodMarble is a digestive tracker that measures hydrogen levels in your breath. When food is not digested properly, your gut bacteria ferment the food, releasing hydrogen into your bloodstream. Eventually, the hydrogen reaches your lungs.
Using a tracking device called the Aire and the FoodMarble app, you can gather real-time information about how your body digests food. Log your food in the app and then breathe into the Aire. Your results appear immediately on your phone after use.
FoodMarble helps you track food sensitivities and intolerances and provides a comprehensive view of your digestion. It helps you discover which food works best for you.
By providing a few drops of blood, food sensitivity tests check your body for an immune response to certain foods. When you have an adverse reaction to a food, your body produces immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies that attach to the food molecules. IgG marks that food as dangerous, and your immune system responds to the danger. This response causes your food sensitivity symptoms.
Food sensitivity tests measure the number of IgG antibodies in your blood for each type of food. The higher the number of antibodies, the more likely you are sensitive to that food.
At-home vs. in-lab testing
Currently, food allergies cannot be tested at home. You can preview and purchase tests online with companies like Personalabs, but you must go into a lab for the test itself. By sending in a blood or hair sample, you can test for food sensitivities from the comfort of your home.
In-lab food allergy testing varies depending on the allergen and method. Generally, a food allergy test will be one of the following.
A skin test involves introducing the allergen to the skin with either a skin prick, injection, or patch. Then, you and your doctor monitor your skin’s reaction to the allergen. This is typically used for airborne or contact allergies.
A blood test checks your body for immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These are the antibodies your immune system releases when you ingest a food or other substance you’re allergic to. Blood tests are typically less sensitive than skin tests but also less invasive.
Food Challenge Test
A food challenge test includes ingesting small amounts of a suspected allergen in a controlled environment. Your doctor monitors your reaction to determine if you have an allergy or not.
If you’ve suspected that your body reacts negatively to certain foods or if you just feel unwell with no apparent cause, testing food sensitivity could be a good option. These tests can help you change your diet to improve your health and well-being.
Food allergy tests are for diagnosing and confirming a specific allergy. You might also be interested in a food allergy test if you have a family history of allergic reactions. Confirming an allergy helps you and your doctor develop a care plan. This may involve strategies for avoiding certain foods and how to care for yourself if you inadvertently consume the food.
Do the companies take HSA, FSA, and insurance?
You can use HSA or FSA debit cards to pay for many at-home tests. Some tests are also eligible for reimbursement. Insurance does not cover most at-home food sensitivity testing kits. Check your specific plan to see what it covers.
Personalabs does accept most HSA debit cards and insurance carrier medical or healthcare debit cards. Everlywell accepts payments from HSA and FSA accounts and recommends customers check with their insurance companies about possible reimbursements for testing.
How do the companies protect my privacy?
All of the companies mentioned in this review focus on protecting their users’ personal information. Everlywell, Personalabs, and myLAB Box specifically mention HIPAA compliance in their privacy policies, meaning they will not share your medical information without your permission. While all of the companies collect personal information when you create an account or purchase a product, they all provide statements that they will never sell your information to third parties and may use anonymized data for research and product improvement purposes. The sites may collect non-personally identifiable information about users via cookies and other internet technologies.
How often should I retest?
Typically, you should test yourself every couple of years for food sensitivity. Food sensitivities don’t remain constant. Lifestyle changes and other factors can contribute to the development or regression of a food sensitivity at any time. However, if you find an increase in symptoms or suspect that a particular food is affecting your body, there’s no harm in retesting sooner.
How accurate are these tests?
The accuracy of at-home food sensitivity testing varies. Lab tests that check for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies have limitations and may deliver false positives if you’ve recently consumed a particular food. The consensus is that, even with these limitations, these tests help give you and your healthcare provider a starting point for tackling food issues.
I got my results. What do I do now?
Depending on which product you’ve decided to use, your next steps will vary. Some companies, like myLAB Box, offer consultations with healthcare professionals to discuss your results and help you make a plan. With other products, your future is up to you.
If you do have an intolerance or allergy, an elimination diet could be a good step. This means eliminating that food from your diet to relieve symptoms. However, it is always important to discuss any dietary changes with your doctor first.
Are there any drawbacks to testing food sensitivity at home?
While at-home tests can give you an insight into your food sensitivity, it’s always essential to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can help you determine the best way to test for your particular issue and help you decide on treatment and next steps. At-home tests are not intended to treat or diagnose illness.