The Reality Check #205: Allergy Tests + Bottled Water + Single Cause Fallacy + Adidas

The gang was once again joined by Chris who led the show off with a segment about allergy tests. Adam then kept his promise from last week and looked into bottled water and how it compares to tap water. Darren then did a quick rant about the single cause fallacy, and Elan closed out the show exploring what ADIDAS really stands for.

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Show Notes

Allergy Tests

Scott Gavura at Science Based Medicine eviscerates IgG food intolerance tests

Controversial and inappropriate tests for allergies

Extensive and referenced list of inappropriate allergy tests

Slightly technical overview of allergies

More technical but comprehensive over of allegies

Technical review of blood tests for allergies (PAYWALL)

Bottled Water

U.S. Bottle Water Sales Are Booming (Again) Despite Opposition – News Watch

Why Drink Bottled Water? – Bottle Your Brand

Bottled vs. Tap: Which Tastes Better? – BU Today – Boston University

Tap water beats bottles in taste test – Telegraph

Why Does Bottled Water Taste Better? – World of Psychology

Frequently Asked Question about Bottled Water – Health Canada

Too Much Bottled Water Might Harm Kids’ Teeth: MedlinePlus

Bottled Water in Canada – Smart Canucks


Wikipedia – ADIDAS History
ADIDAS Group – History – ADIDAS

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5 Responses to The Reality Check #205: Allergy Tests + Bottled Water + Single Cause Fallacy + Adidas

  1. Tom Sidwell says:

    Hey, love the show, but had to correct one major error in the allergy test segment. Your guest host said “IgG isn’t produced during immune reactions, it’s actually produced in response to consuming food”
    The first half of that statement is
    exactly wrong, and directly contradicts his earlier, correct statements on IgG’s immunological roles. IgG is actually an indicator that an immune response is going well. The very first type of antibody produced is IgM, then if the immune response continues, IgG will typically be the next isotype of antibody to turn up. This is why IgG is used as a marker of past exposure to things like microbes or vaccines – its presence indicates an immune response successfully developed and matured, and then left behind long-lived IgG producing plasma cells and memory B cells.


  2. Tom Sidwell says:


    This is what your guest host was referring to with “it’s actually produced in response to consuming food”, some data has suggested that people can produce IgG against allergens, which seems to indicate tolerance. Again, this is early data, so that link isn’t as concrete as you guest host made out.

    In reading the SBM post I believe was his source, I find that it covered the information accurately, but just a little of the accuracy was lost in translation

    Again, I love the show, and really like this guest host, but just felt this deserved a correction 🙂

  3. Tom Sidwell says:

    Just finished listening to the segment and I have two more corrections:

    When Elan asked if you could take multiple IgE tests to reduce the risk of false positives and Chris said you could, that was incorrect. The underlying assumption here is that the ~50% false positive rate is identical for all people without clinical symptoms of allergy. That is not correct.

    The tests in question work by measuring the levels of antigen-specific IgE in the blood. If you have little to no anti-pollen IgE, you’re pretty much not going to be allergic to pollen. The higher the level, the more likely you are to present with clinical symptoms, but in reality there is no hard-and-fast level of specific IgE beyond which you *will* be allergic and bellow which you are not.

    So, some people will have higher specific IgE levels but will not present with clinical symptoms of allergy, and these people will repeatedly get false positives. To give you an idea of the complexity of the issue, here’s a review article summarising some studies which tried to determine what IgE levels would be diagnostic of allergic disease (you may just want to scroll right down to the INTERPRETING COMMONLY ORDERED BLOOD TESTS FOR ALLERGY section)

  4. Tom Sidwell says:

    And finally, immunotherapy for allergies is available outside of R&D and clinical trials (though research continues!), and has been for years. This includes sublingual immunotherapy as well as the more commonly discussed ‘allergy vaccines’ that Chris mentioned.

    Again, love the show, keep up the great work guys.

  5. Pingback: A skeptical take on allergy testing | Katatrepsis

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