The most common everyday foods like wheat, dairy, corn, yeast, sugar, peanuts and soy can lead to weight loss resistance!
They create bloating and inflammation while inhibiting your ability to access stored body fat as fuel and tamp down metabolism.
And they are everywhere these days.
A young mother told me that she wasn’t sure what she would make for her daughter’s holiday party at preschool—in the class of eight, there was a child with a peanut allergy, a child with an egg allergy, another with a gluten allergy and one more with a milk allergy.
And this isn’t a unique experience. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of people allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, nuts and shellfish has soared—increasing over 18% from 1997 to 2007. It’s something I’ve also witnessed firsthand in my own practice, but what’s to blame?
As I wrote in my popular blog No Grain, No Pain, I’ve long wondered about the positive correlation between the rise in food sensitivity issues and the use of pesticides and chemicals on our crops and water supply.
And, it looks like I’m on to something.
A December 2012 study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology researched this connection, focusing specifically on a group of pesticides commonly used to purify water, dichlorophenols.
Of the 2,211 participants (all found to have the pesticide in their urine sample), those with higher levels of dichlorophenols in the body were 80% more likely to have food sensitivities than those with lower levels.
The study authors “believe the exposure to the chemicals may be contributing to a hyper-sensitive system that recognizes even common food proteins as foreign.”
How sensitive are you?
As a health professional, I’m fully aware of my own food sensitivities (for me personally, dairy is a no-no), but so many of these allergies can be overlooked or undetected for years. Even if you don’t think you have a food sensitivity, take a quick moment to answer this easy questionnaire—you may be surprised.
Answering “yes” can indicate the strong probability that you suffer from a food intolerance:
- Has your metabolism slowed down?
- Are you a compulsive eater?
- Do you suffer from a lot of water retention?
- Do you engage in binge eating?
- Are you frequently the victim of food cravings?
- Do you often feel bloated?
- Does your weight yo-yo up and down every day by as much as five pounds?
- Do you eat the same foods every day?
- Do you have itchy skin, chronic skin rashes, or eczema?
- Do you have puffy eyes, dark circles, or swelling beneath your eyes?
- Do you suffer from unexplained headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, muscle aches, arthritis, or extreme tiredness after eating?
Some investigators believe that GMO foods are one of the underlying culprits in the growing food sensitivity epidemic. We do know for sure that ninety percent of food allergies and sensitivities stem from the most common reaction-producing foods: wheat, milk, corn, unfermented soy, and peanuts.
In some cases (like peanuts for example), a true allergy can lead to anaphylactic shock, a deadly allergic response in which the body releases histamines, causing tissues to swell, which inhibits breathing, interferes with blood flow, and sometimes leads to heart failure.
Delayed food sensitivities can sometimes manifest two days after the toxic food was ingested. So, who would ever know that symptoms were tied to food? Therefore, some detective work is in order to find the guilty suspects.
These same delayed food responses are strongly linked with complications like food cravings, food addictions, bingeing, increased appetite, and a decreased metabolism that are not obviously the result of just an allergy.
For most of us, sensitivities seem to cluster around a few ordinary foods and ingredients—mostly wheat, milk, corn, yeast, sugar and MSG (often referred to as hydrolyzed soy protein, autolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, or “natural flavorings”).
By the way, black pepper is also a frequent culprit, according to food sensitivity testing, as are many herbs and spices that you enjoy on a daily basis.
To help tip the balance of health in your favor, take these simple steps:
1. Practice an elimination diet.
- Choose a food that you routinely eat and eliminate it first. Cut out all dishes made with this item from your meals at home. When shopping, read labels to see if any undesirable ingredient is listed. In restaurants always consult with your server about the preparation of your food. You can’t always tell from the menu exactly what is in a dish.
- Continue to avoid the suspected food or item for three weeks. Keep a simple log to help you notice if your symptoms ease. If the symptoms disappear, briefly reintroduce the food and see if they return.
- If they do reappear, you know you need to permanently drop that food from your diet. For extra verification, consider an Expanded GI Panel which tests allergies to gluten, cow’s milk, eggs, and soy.
2. Engage antioxidant power.
Antioxidants help the body cope with any aftereffects of reactions and fight oxidative stress. I would recommend a formula like Oxi-Key which contains well-researched immune boosters and enzymes like catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and vitamins B, C, and E.