Food sensitivities can be a major issue in your life. However, many people may not even realize they have a food sensitivity. You might be wondering why it seems like all of a sudden you can’t eat anything without having some sort of reaction. Foods that you used to enjoy are now causing problems like bloating and gas, constipation, soft stools, allergies, flushing, eczema, joint pain, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, and other symptoms. Eating out, especially can start to become a challenge all of its own. It can be quite frustrating to pinpoint what is the actual cause of the sensitivity.
What is a food sensitivity
A food sensitivity is when your body is reacting negatively to a certain food. Many of us have heard of lactose intolerance and gluten intolerance, but a food sensitivity can be more problematic. You can be sensitive to common foods like tomatoes, eggs, and soy. You can even be sensitive from healthy foods that you are actually encouraged to eat.
Unlike an allergy, where you have an acute reaction (hives and/or anaphylaxis), food sensitivities have a more subtle approach. A true allergic reaction stimulates an IgE immune response. This is part of your immune system that goes into overdrive to protect you from what it perceives as an invading organism. A food sensitivity causes an IgG immune response, which is a slower form of inflammation. It can take a couple of days for some people to even see a reaction from what they ate. This is why it can be difficult to make the connection to what you may be eating and how you may be feeling.
Leaky gut syndrome is one of the main culprits of food sensitivities. A leaky gut means that your intestinal permeability is compromised. When this happens, undigested food particles leak through your intestinal wall into your bloodstream. This undigested food particle is seen as a foreign object and your body will attack it. This can lead to inflammation, which can in turn cause a host of problems (skin conditions, joint pain, GI issues, etc). Long-term, it has been suggested this can also eventually lead to autoimmune disorder. As your body is constantly attacking the foreign food particles, your body can then begin to attack itself, hence auto immune.
Leaky gut syndrome can be caused by a overuse of antibiotics, over consumption of processed foods, dysbiosis (gut bacterial imbalance), prolonged exposure to stress, and toxin overload (pesticides, drugs, contaminated tap-water).
There are a number of food sensitivity tests that you can do to see if you have a problem. Working with a functional medicine doctor is a good way to get this process started. There are many food testing kits out there and finding the best one can be tricky. If you want to go down this route, I suggest working with a qualified functional medicine doctor.
Doing an elimination diet can be a relatively inexpensive way to figure out if you have food sensitivity issues. But it can come with other issues. Sometimes figuring out the offending food item, can be quite difficult for some.
Many of my patients on Ideal Protein, find that they start physically feeling better while on the program. I have even had patients get off some of their pain medications while on Ideal Protein. It’s truly amazing how eating well can change your health from the inside-out.
For patients that experience relief of their symptoms while on Ideal Protein, I recommend that when they begin to re-introduce some of the foods back into their diet (once their weight loss goal has been achieved), that they pay specific attention to how they feel. If any of their “old” symptoms should arise, to take note of it. Then it is always a good idea to permanently eliminate that food from their diet.
Some common foods that are associated with food sensitivities are:
- Wheat based products
- Soy products
- Gluten rich grains
- Processed meats
- Dairy products
- Artificial sweeteners
- Refined oil’s
- Alcohol and carbonated drinks
However, you can be sensitive to any food, whether it be “healthy” or “unhealthy”. If your body is reacting to it, it is an unhealthy food for you.
Many people don’t realize that a lot of their health issues can be tied to their diet. Because this process usually happens over time it is hard for people to make the connection. Once you start eating healthier foods, you often notice how much better you feel!