Food sensitivities are increasingly common nowadays. Take a look at the chart below. Do you experience any of these symptoms or conditions? If so, the cause is highly probable that it’s related to the food(s) you’re eating.
Food Allergy is an IgE reaction of the body’s immune system to a food or food ingredient that it recognizes as “foreign.” A true food allergy can cause tingling in the mouth, hives, swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, trouble breathing, dizziness, fainting or anaphaylaxis. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, cramping and diarrhea, signs and symptoms that can also happen with a food intolerance. Food allergies tend to be higher for children, African-Americans, males and those with asthma.
Food Sensitivity is a non-IgE reaction (IgG, IgA, IgM) in which an individual experiences an adverse reaction to a food, a food ingredient, additive or nutrient. A food sensitivity usually involves the digestive system and the immune system. You can probably eat small amounts of the food without an immediate reaction, however if you continue eating foods your body considers harmful, inflammation increases, gut and function is compromised, and your immune system is affected shown by the many symptoms in the chart above.
Food sensitivities can lead to elevated levels of “itis” as in inflammation. Food sensitivities are the most common cause of inflammation. Most people have “hidden” food sensitivities that can be a huge factor in any chronic health challenge including fatigue, migraine headaches, leaky gut, bloating, chronic pain, IBS, constipation, depression, anxiety, ADHD, autoimmune disease, and behavioral disorders.
Food Intolerance is when you body is unable to break down, assimilate, digest or absorb a food, food ingredient or additive. (i.e. lack of digestive enzymes, pancreatic enzymes, bile or hydrochloric acid (HCL).
Foods and chemicals responsible for 90% of food sensitivities
Food sensitivities are unique to each person. Aside from the top offenders, you can be eating the healthiest of foods and these may be the very foods you’re sensitive to and are problematic for you.
Watch this 4 minute video for a simple technique to help you discover if you have hidden food sensitivities. Years ago, Dr. Arthur Coca popularized the “pulse test” for food allergies. He found that some (but definitely not all) allergic individuals have a significant increase in their resting pulse after eating a particular food allergen. Others have observed that eating certain trigger foods causes them to retain fluids, which manifests as a significant weight gain that doesn’t disappear by the next morning (like most water-weight gain) caused by inflammation.
The Solution. The best way to test for food sensitivities is to do an elimination diet and then reintroduce foods. Eliminate these top offending foods: pasteurized dairy products, wheat, gluten, artificial sweeteners, processed soy, sugar, soda, and products containing corn, trans fats and HFCS. Vitamins and protein powders with additives, HFCS, artificial sweeteners and fillers should also be removed from the diet.
You’re probably thinking, “what am I going to eat?” Switch over to nutrient-dense, organic foods that are free of antibiotics, chemicals, preservatives, dyes, xenohormones, pesticides and GMOs.
What you can expect. Endless health benefits: Better sleep, less belly bloating and brain fog, relief from headaches, joint and muscle pain, a surge in energy, less anxiety and depression, lower cortisol, flatter abs, healthier digestion and elimination, weight loss, and clearer, healthier, younger looking skin.
When you eliminate the foods you’re sensitive to, specifically dairy, gluten, wheat, artificial sweeteners, soy and sugar, you may experience withdrawal symptoms similar to withdrawal from other addictive substances like caffeine, nicotine, drugs and alcohol.
To avoid food sensitivities, it’s important to get into the habit of rotating all foods every day and reading the list of ingredients on all products and make sure to avoid any product with these ingredients. Better yet, stick with REAL, nutrient-dense foods. On a rotation diet, a food is only eaten once every 4 days. So, if you have eggs on Monday, you will not eat eggs again until Friday. Keep a daily food journal of everything you eat for one week. This can help identify foods your body is sensitive to.
Food Sensitivity Testing. If you continue to experience persistent health issues without relief no matter what you do, you may want to consider a thorough screening even if you get a negative result on the at-home self-test. You may consider a food sensitivity test (a non-IgE reaction test) such as an IgG, IgA or IgM test that is completely different than the IgE food allergy test, the skin prick test. It’s important to realize that these tests come with many false negatives and false positives. My preference is the Array 10 test available through Cyrex Labs.