Are you suffering from stubborn health problems that won't go away no matter what you try? Things like constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, migraine headaches, chronic joint pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, inability to lose weight, eczema or skin rashes, or chronic brain fog are some of the most common symptoms related to specific immune reactions to the foods we eat.
In fact, the evidence continues to grow that sensitivities to food are what's behind many of our ongoing health problems. Experts believe that as many as 50% of us may be experiencing adverse symptoms that can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and may keep us from reaching our health and wellness goals. In this week's edition of What's That Wednesday?! we will talk about the most common symptoms and give you some action steps to find out if food sensitivities are affecting your health.
Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities:
It's common to use the words allergy and sensitivity interchangeably, but its important to understand that they mean slightly different things. A food allergy is FIXED and when triggered causes an immediate immune response; release of antibodies into the bloodstream to combat inflammation and potential organ dysfunction. Once you have a food allergy, for example to shellfish or nuts, you are generally allergic forever and must completely avoid that food.
A food sensitivity is VARIABLE, meaning that the immune response might be slower and more subtle and your symptoms may change or shift overtime. Food sensitivity reactions can be delayed for hours or even days after ingestion. And often, food sensitives are dose related. This means that a small amount of a certain food may not cause noticeable symptoms, but a larger amount does. This makes them a little harder to understand and identify.
Testing for Food Sensitivities:
The truth is that many MD's do not recognize food sensitivities because standard food allergy testing may not be precise enough to detect low levels of food substances that could cause symptoms. For example, an allergist will give you an ELISA IgG blood test, but often times these result in a false negative because this test only detects one type of food reaction, type 3, which only covers about 25% of all food sensitivity reactions.
For my clients, I recommend and order a MRT (Mediator Release Test) Food Sensitivity Test since this test has been shown to be the most comprehensive on the market because it is able to test for the one thing that all food sensitivities have in common - an inflammatory reaction! All diet-induced inflammatory reactions release proinflammatory and proalgesic "mediators" from white blood cells. "Mediators" include cytokines, histamine, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, etc., from neutrophils, monocytes, eosinophils, and lymphocytes that lead to all the negative clinical effects a food sensitivity sufferer endures. The MRT test measures these "mediators" or inflammatory responses to 150 different foods and food chemicals and gives you a list of RED (avoid), YELLOW (eat in small amounts), and GREEN (non-reactive foods that are safest and best). This test is a very effective tool and I consistently see significant clinical improvement in my clients by implementing a diet based on the MRT results. If you'd like to understand if the MRT test is right for you or if you are interested in having an MRT test ordered for you, I offer a free 15 minute phone consultation. Just contact me to set up a time - I'd be honored to speak with you!
Top 5 Most Common Food Sensitivities:
Other common foods that cause sensitives include: eggs, citrus, beans, nuts, yeast, fish/shellfish, and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers).
Most Common Food Sensitivity Symptoms:
If you have any of these symptoms on a regular basis - daily or even weekly, your body is telling you that something or somethings are out of balance. And it could be as easy as changing some of the food you eat! Foods that our body is sensitive can initiate an immune response reaction that can lead to certain hormones like insulin and cortisol to be released in larger than desired amounts- these are both "fat storage hormones" and will signal your body to store fat in those hard to get rid of places like your belly, hips. thighs and the back of the arms.
Properly identifying and removing foods that you are sensitive to can make a HUGE difference in your quality of life - and this is something I can attest to personally. A few years ago, after going through an elimination diet myself, I learned that I in fact had sensitives to gluten, dairy, citric acid, yeast, and nightshade vegetables. When I eliminated these from my diet, I dropped the 15 extra pounds I'd been carrying around all my life and could never get rid of, saw my lifelong IBS symptoms completely disappear, my energy increase, and my menstrual cycle completely balance out.
Then earlier this year, I suddenly had some rashes appearing regularly on my torso , so I decided to do another MRT test to learn what may be affecting me in addition to the sensitives I had already cut out. After adjusting my diet to incorporate the tests results, my rashes cleared within a couple weeks. This was a reminder to me that food sensitivities can change over time, especially for those who are chronically ill with infection or autoimmune conditions.
So what are you waiting for?! Follow these simple steps below to find out if food sensitivities are derailing your health goals.
Steps to Take For Finding Food Sensitivities:
Once you've identified the foods that make your body feel sick, you can get rid of them from your diet permanently and enjoy a healthier you without the extra chronic symptoms of pain, fatigue, and digestive distress! If you find that you have many foods you are sensitive to or if this process seems overwhelming to do on your own - we've got your back! Our nutritional coaching services provide expertise, support, and most importantly, DELICIOUS and EASY RECIPES, as you go through the elimination diet. Our goal is to help you feel satisfied and not deprived and make the process as successful and seamless as possible. Please let us know if we can be of any help to you.
In good health,
~Billie & Jennifer
Billie Shellist, FDN-P
I practice functional nutrition, an approach that allows me to look at your entire health history and help you find the "root causes" of your chronic health complaints.
This cuts out the trial and error process and helps you get real symptom relief and resolution!
Food is medicine and knowledge is power -I hope you enjoy my anti-inflammatory recipes which are gluten, dairy, and soy free as well as very low grain and sugar.
If you'd like to heal from the root cause(s) of your chronic symptoms, try starting with a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Click here to request your free session.