Food sensitivities can be a bit of touchy subject, as food is a big part of our lives. From cultural recipes, to celebrations, to just the simple pleasure of eating food that tastes good. From time to time however, the things we count on to nourish us can actually do us harm.
What we want to offer with this post is that there are a lot of chronic symptoms you might be experiencing because you are consistently eating something your body doesn’t agree with. This is where things get tricky. Unlike food poisoning, food sensitivity symptoms can show up in as few as a couple hours after eating the culprit food, or as long as long as 3 days afterwards.
Here are 7 symptoms associated with food sensitivities:
Chronic bloating: In our experience, many people don’t realize they are actually bloated until they no longer are. Bloating can be a very subtle but important sign that your digestive system is having issues breaking down something you have eaten. It is also a sign of inflammation of the tissues in your gut.
Difficulty losing weight: Food sensitivities create an inflammatory response in the body. Inflammation is like static on a radio. Static makes words fuzzy and hard to hear, dulling communication. Likewise, inflammation creates this same type of “static” in your body and makes communication from cell to cell, or one body system to another, less effective. In addition, you store toxins in your fat as a protective mechanism. When you lose weight, these toxins are released from the fat cells for elimination. If your body is already inflamed and overwhelmed, the last thing your system needs is to add more fuel to the fire. This can make dieting feel very frustrating and incredibly unsuccessful.
Hormone imbalances: Everything from acne to menstrual irregularity can be influenced by food sensitivities. When your body is under chronic stress and fighting inflammation you tend to overproduce cortisol (and this is not accounting for all of the other stresses in your life). Cortisol uses a lot of the same precursors that produce other necessary hormones in your body. So when your body is using up all of these precursors for cortisol, your other hormones take a back seat in production.
Fatigue and energy crashes: Chronically eating foods you are sensitive to sets off an immune system response. This chronic immune stimulation is very tiring to your adrenal glands and takes up a lot of energy you would not be otherwise expending. This can also promote swings in blood sugar, creating more stress and inflammation.
Food cravings and overeating: Foods you are sensitive to cause your body stress. Stress, pain and exercise all stimulate the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are “feel good” hormones. This leads to cravings and consumption of these foods in order to produce more of these “feel good” hormones.
You are chronically ill: You catch every bacteria or virus that comes your way, no matter how big or small! If you are starting to see a pattern here; you guessed it! Food sensitivities stimulate the immune system. This creates an overwhelming load for your immune system and makes you more susceptible to everyday illnesses like colds and flu.
You have chronic IBS symptoms: Inflammation causes swelling of the tissues in your gut wall. This affects your body’s ability to digest your food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate waste. There are other factors like candida and bacterial overgrowth, and parasites that can add to the mix. Eliminating foods you are sensitive to is a great way to get this under control!
How can i fix this?
So, how do you know which food is causing your symptoms? An elimination diet can be a great start. Most elimination diets have you remove the most common foods associated with food sensitivities: corn, gluten, soy, eggs, dairy, and sugar. After about 2 weeks to a month of eliminating these foods you can re-introduce each food one at a time. After eating the re-introduced food for one day, remove for an additional 3 days, to see if any of the old symptoms return.
What if I’m too impatient for an elimination diet, or it doesn’t fix my symptoms? There are great food sensitivity tests that can be run for not only sensitivities, but also any foods that might be cross-reactive with each other. Chances are good there may also be a concurrent infection in the system (parasite, candida, bacterial overgrowth) or even lifestyle factors, that may be contributing to the issue. For this type of testing we recommend seeking help from a professional.
At Alternative Family Medicine & Chiropractic we are passionate about helping you get to the bottom of your health issues. Contact us to learn how we can help and schedule an appointment.