Allergy Insight is the new site and blog by me, Alex Gazzola, a journalist and author with almost 20 years’ experience, and who specialises in food hypersensitivities, coeliac disease and gut disorders.
I have written about these subjects for a number of magazines and newspapers, both in the UK and overseas, including the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Reader’s Digest and the Irish Times. I am the author of four books, including the latest, Coeliac Disease: What you need to know, which was shortlisted in the Guild of Health Writers’ “Best Health Book” Award in 2012, and which was fully revised in 2015.
I work closely with the Free From Matters family of sites as a regular contributor and sub-editor, as well as acting as their social media director. I am the deputy editor of its skincare site, SkinsMatter.com, and run its associated FreeFrom Skincare Awards, which I conceived and launched with Michelle Berriedale-Johnson in 2011.
For other work, see my main website.
Allergy Insight started life as ‘Food Allergy and Intolerance Ink’ – a blog covering my views and analysis of current issues of relevance in food hypersensitivity – for instance, research, products, initiatives, campaigns – and on the representation and coverage of intolerances, allergies and coeliac disease in the media. The blog lives on as part of this site, but Allergy Insight has expanded to include additional information, such as listings of free from foods and other resources and links.
Media / PR / Advertising
I am happy to receive press releases concerning any area of food sensitivity, gut disorders or allergy in a wider sense, including free from food.
I may consider sponsored posts – but only in areas strictly relevant to the blog’s theme, with full disclosure.
Box ad slots are available in the right hand column. Enquiries welcome.
Some affiliate links and automated ads are included on the site.
Writing / Consultancy
I welcome enquiries to write articles, marketing material and web content, and to advise on projects related to the subjects in which I specialise. Fees on request.
You can contact me via the E Mail Alex icon on my website.
History of the Blog
I was originally driven to start the previous incarnation of this site – the Food Allergy and Intolerance Ink blog – in early 2010 after receiving a press release from the University of Portsmouth regarding their Wheat Hypersensitivity Report, written by Dr Heather Mackenzie and Dr Carina Venter from the School of Health Sciences.
In my view, the Wheat Hypersensitivity Report gave inappropriate prominence and value to old research from the early 90s. This research, published in the Lancet in 1994, held that 20% of the population believed themselves to be allergic or intolerant to one or more foods, but that only 2% of the population could be reliably diagnosed as such.
The Report failed to mention that the original researchers considered their 2% figure an underestimate, or that less than 1% of the population reported a wheat sensitivity.
The press release led with the same, old data, omitting its 1994 provenance and presenting it as news. Having used this ‘news’ to claim a widespread exaggerated self-diagnosis of food intolerance and food allergy in Britain today, it then suggested the public was particularly ignorant when it came to wheat hypersensitivity – despite the Report making clear that even the experts do not know the true prevalence of reactions to wheat, and neglecting to take into account the public’s tendency to confuse and conflate allergy and intolerance.
A number of issues frustrated me, two especially:
a/ The media widely reported these points uncritically and apparently unquestioningly;
b/ The Wheat Hypersensitivity Report was commissioned by the Flour Advisory Bureau – which represents the British flour milling industry.
You can read my original posts on the subject here.
This research continues to make regular appearances in media articles on the subject.
None of the information on this blog is intended to replace proper medical advice which you should seek from an appropriately qualified professional – a GP, a dietitian, a gastroenterologist, an allergist / immunologist – if you suffer or suspect you suffer from a food hypersensitivity. While all information here is presented in good faith and is accurate to the best of my knowledge, I cannot be held responsible for errors, or for posted comments from third parties.
Last updated: 30th November 2016