Did you know that 80‐90% of overweight individuals have food sensitivities? Food sensitivities are becoming a new buzz word in alternative medicine, mainly because research is showing they can have a huge impact on overall health of not only overweight people, but anyone. There is often confusion about what food sensitivities are and how they differ from food allergies.
Food sensitivities are similar to food allergies but the symptoms experienced from eating a reactive food are delayed. It can take up to 4 days for a food reaction to occur, which is why many people do not correlate the symptoms that they are experiencing on Friday with what they had to eat on Monday. Food sensitivities can create many undesirable symptoms in the body, such as tissue swelling (hands, ankles and/or feet), bloating (abdomen, puffy face or double chin), watery eyes, running nose (especially right after eating), nasal congestion, heartburn, headaches, achy or stiff joints and cravings for certain types of foods.
With all the bloating and swelling that takes place from food sensitivities, it is no wonder that many people may be carrying around an extra 10‐25 pounds of “false fat.” False fat is not really true adipose (fat) tissue but is created from extra fluid and gas that forms by delayed food reactions.
“False fat” will make you look and feel heavier and will only be lost if the offending food(s) are eliminated. Following is a list of seven foods that are the most common culprits related to delayed food reactions: dairy products, wheat, soy, corn, eggs, peanuts, and sugar. Looking at the list, it becomes clear that the foods most people consume on a regular basis are the most allergenic.
Helpful tips to aid in preventing food sensitivities:
- Mix‐It Up
The average American obtains 75% of their calories from the same 10 foods. (Hass 33) When consuming the same foods over and over, we eventually weaken our ability to digest them. Varying the foods in the diet will ease digestive stress and help to keep sensitivities out of the picture.
- Eat Whole Foods
Packaged and highly processed foods are devoid of nutrients and often contain chemical additives which put an additional burden on the detoxification system. Increasing whole foods, which are as close to nature as possible, will support overall good health.
- Eat More Fiber
Foods that are high in fiber help to pull toxins out of the body and also literally keep things moving. When the body is unable to eliminate properly, undigested food sits in the colon causing inflammation and irritation that can lead to food sensitivities.
- Eat Less
When we over consume food, or in other words eat until we are “stuffed,” our digestive system becomes overwhelmed and does not function properly.
- Chew Your Food
Completely chewing food before swallowing eases digestive stress and facilitates proper digestion.
- Drink In‐Between Meals
Focus on consuming liquids between meals, not with meals, so stomach acid is not diluted when eating. Drinking around 4 ounces of water every half an hour between meals is ideal.
Another interesting aspect of food sensitivities is that people are often sensitive to their favorite foods. Food reactions can cause the body to produce its own natural “feel good” endorphins, which is partly why people can become addicted to certain foods. The “feel good” high created by elevated endorphins levels will eventually lead to a crash that creates a craving for the foods that caused the problem in the first place. It turns into a cycle that can have devastating effects on both over health and weight.
If you think that you are experiencing food sensitivities consider doing the following:
- Check out Dr. Elson Haas’s book, The False Fat Diet. This book will give you more detailed information on food reactions and also provides a special elimination diet that aids in uncovering food sensitivities.
- Tune into your body and listen to the messages it is giving you after you eat certain foods. For example, if every time after you consume wheat bread you feel bloated, it might be a signal from your body that it is not agreeing with your system. If this is happening to you, try eliminating the food for a week or two and then reintroduce the food and see if symptoms reappear.
- Have your blood tested for food sensitivities. It will help take some of the guess work out of figuring out what foods are creating a reaction in your body. We have several options for food sensitivity testing. Please contact us to determine which test is right for you.
In most cases, until food sensitivities are resolved optimal health and achieving ideal body weight are difficult if not impossible to accomplish. However, once we can identify and remove offending foods, many people find weight loss and overall health improves quickly.