It seems that no matter what the event these days, there is food criteria to attend to. From your child’s school, to the local restaurant, to friends and family, food sensitivities are knocking on your door. Food sensitivities effect so many people that they can’t be ignored.
The CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reports, “allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion…50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year”. According to FARE, Food Allergy Research & Education, food allergy facts and statistics in the United States, there are “more than 170 foods that have been reported to cause reactions in the U.S.”.
PUT A CHECK IN EACH BOX BELOW THAT APPLIES TO YOU:
◊ Depression and/or mood changes
◊ Muscle aches or joint pain
◊ Nasal congestion
◊ Constipation and/or diarrhea
◊ Acid reflux/indigestion
◊ Bloating or gas
◊ Dark circles or bags under your eyes
◊ Rashes or skin dryness/itchiness
◊ Unintentional weight gain
Did you check one or more of the symptom boxes above?
You could be suffering from food sensitivities.
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM FOOD INDUCED INFLAMMATION?
Do you feel like your weight fluctuates or you just can not get rid of the those unwanted pounds. Do you feel like you have done it all and you just can’t lose the weight? This can be truly frustrating indeed!
Food sensitives cause inflammation in the body. This Inflammation increases our risk of developing disease, ultimately obesity.
Although we hear food allergies and food sensitivities interchangeably, they do differ. How do we know which one we are suffering from?
There two types of food mediated reactions, immune mediated and non-immune mediated
- Food Allergies
- Food Sensitivities
- Food Intolerances
Food allergies are known as IgE, immunoglobulin E, mediated type 1 hypersensitivity reactions and are generally immediate in response. These bodily reactions can range in severe such as hives to more critical in response such as anaphylaxis and can be fatal. Some of the most common allergy foods include tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, fish and shellfish, milk, gluten, and soy. Foods that we are allergic to must be avoided and can not even be consumed in even small quantities.
Food intolerances are non-immune related and are a result of a metabolic reactions such as a lack of an enzyme to digest the foods such as lactase. When this happens, they are considered intolerant and will no longer be able to digest dairy foods.
Food sensitivities are delayed in onset, up to 72 hours or more, and are non-immune mediated reactions and are a result of an ingested food. Food sensitivities maybe present as any of the following conditions:
- Crohn’s disease
- Irritable bowel disease/diarrhea/constipation
- Ulcerative colitis
- Eosinophilic esophagitis
- Attention deficit disorder
Food sensitivities can be the body’s response to a chemical naturally occurring in a food such as solanine, histamine, and salicylates. These reactions many times are dose related and sometimes can be consumed in small amounts but when a threshold is reached, a reaction occurs. Each person’s threshold will be different and some people may need to remove this these foods from their diet to become asymptomatic.
4 COMMON CAUSES FOR FOOD SENSITIVITIES
- Leaky gut! When our intestinal barriers break down from bad bacteria, parasites or infections passing through, this is considered leaky gut. When this happens, our immune system becomes compromised and food particles can enter the circularity system and create systemic inflammation. Sometimes these foods that cause our body havoc and can be difficult to assess because these reactions are often delayed. Food sensitivity testing can be done to help us get a baseline for what these foods may be. Elimination diets are implemented to remove those foods for generally 6-8 weeks to essentially calm or better yet reduce the inflammatory response.
- Chronic antibiotic use. The use of antibiotics sometimes can’t be avoided, but this can compromise the immune system. Antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria it was intended to but also do a number on the good bacteria that keep the ecosystem in balance.
- Chronic stress and toxic exposure. Every day we breath in air, drink water, and eat food that have chemicals and pesticides that our liver has to work overtime to filter out. This insult can result in toxic overload causing us to feel fatigue and run down. This can impact our immune systems negatively making our bodies even more susceptible to food sensitivities.
- Too much of one food. Ever think about how many times you eat the same food in one day? Let’s look at a scenario that can be commonly seen in many diets.
EGGS! Breakfast time, you eat 2 eggs over easy over paleo bread (made with egg whites) and butter with a piece of fruit. Lunch time, Chicken cranberry walnut salad made with mayonnaise (this contains egg), over bib lettuce. Snack: RX bar (contains egg). Dinner meal consists of veal parmesan (breaded and dipped in egg) with green beans. Sometimes we can eat a particular food in a small quantity but when we are exposed to it multiple times in one day we can hit our threshold. In this case, it would have been 5 times in one day!
CAN DIET REALLY MAKE AN IMPACT ON OUR HEALTH AND SIGNIFICANTLY IMPACT OUR DAY TO DAY SYMPTOMS?
Yes, changing your diet can be life altering!
5 COMMON FOOD SENSITIVITIES FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Histamines. The most common symptoms of histamine sensitivity include itching and headaches. Foods to consider reducing or eliminating from your diet plan include aged cheese and meats, citrus, spinach, bananas, and fermented foods and many spices too!
- Solanine. A common symptom of solanine sensitivity is muscle and joint pain. I find that this is one of the hardest groups to decrease because it contains tomatoes and potatoes, in other words, tomato sauce and french fries!! Other solanine rich foods include eggplant, goji berries, and peppers.
- Sulfites. Common symptoms of sulfite sensitivity include difficulty breathing or wheezing, loose stool or trouble swallowing. Sulfites can be found naturally in food or added as a preservative. Foods that contain sulfites include dried fruits, shellfish and crustaceans, cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage Brussels sprouts, premade packaged foods such as instant potatoes and doughs, and malt beverages and wines.
- Soy. Soy sensitivity can manifest itself in different ways in each person. Some symptom may include flushing, lip swelling, loose stool or abdominal cramping. Soy is found soybeans, bean curd, edamame, miso, natto, soy sauce, soy milk, many vegan products and additives such as TVP (textured vegetable protein).
- Gluten. Common symptoms of gluten sensitivity may include brain fog, rash, loose stool, and bloating. Gluten can be found in breads, cereals, premade packaged foods, veggie burgers, breaded meats and meatballs, malted products, make ups and
Rather than guessing what these offending foods are, we can get this information from food sensitivity testing.
The FIT test (Food Inflammation Test) measures 132 foods, colorings and additives that can result in delayed food sensitivity. The FIT test is unique in that it measures IgG antibodies along with complement that is produced from immune complexes as a result of food that crosses through the intestinal lining. It is also a great way to understand if you have a leaky gut and if it’s causing food sensitivities. Learn more here.
As a Nutritionist, I knew a lot about food but removing my food sensitivities was a true eye opener for me and one of the largest positive impacts I made on my health and well-being.
Keri Lynn MacElhinney, RD, CDN, CLT, IFNCP is a Functional Medicine Nutritionist at Blum Center for Health. She has over 20 years of professional experience as a Registered Dietitian and holds a nutrition license in New York and the State of Connecticut. In her early years, her field experience covered a wide array of areas including acute care hospitals, community health centers, substance abuse. Make an appointment with Keri Lynn at 914-652-7800.