Undetected Food Intolerances Equal False Fat

June 27, 2014
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

food sensitivitiesFood Sensitivities Lead to Surprising Weight Gain

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.



Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Marina

    Dear Dr. Ann Louise,
    The above info is very helpful.
    1. Do you believe there is an association between estrogen dominance and food intolerances?
    2. Do you believe there is an association between infections like Lyme Disease and Epstein Barr (often undetected) and food intolerances?
    3. Are digestive enzymes helpful in the case of food intolerances?
    4. Can children/teens take Oxi-Key?

    Thank you!

    • Ann Louise

      Dear Marina:

      Thank you for your post. I believe there may be indirect links between estrogen dominance,Lyme disease or Epstein Barr virus. Any condition which increases the body’s toxic load can weaken the immune response and ultimately trigger food sensitivities or full blown allergies. Theoretically, digestive enzymes that provide digestive support for gluten, casein,lactose, and phenol intolerances can be helpful when ingesting foods that contain these elements but are should be relied upon for special occasions, not as a primary therapy.

      Yes,Oxi Key is an exceedingly effective and potent antioxidant which teens and children at least 12 years of age can utlize quite well. I would start at half the recommended dosage.

      Finally, thank you for your birthday greetings.

  2. Marina

    And best wishes for a very happy birthday!!

  3. Bonnie

    Wishing you a very happy birthday. I will be ordering the gluten sensitivity test for my son. Thanks.

  4. dorothy

    I ,try to be gluten free,but some time I get heart burn what can I do..dorothy

    • Ann Louise


      Your heartburn can be caused from too little HCL or a hiatal hernia. I would suggest that you see an ND who can assess the true underlying cause and make adjustments accordingly. In the interim, taking DGL or slippery elm can ease the acidity and start to heal any esophogeal irritation. Best wishes to you.

  5. Beverly

    Recently learned I’m sensitive to: gluten, diary, eggs, soy, chicken. 20 pound weight gain over last 2 years. Also hypothyroid for 18yrs, adrenal fatigue, low stomach acid and gallbladder removed 12yrs ago.

    Very concerned about what is healthiest water I can drink at home – don’t want to drink tap water or bottled water due to BPA.

    How can I purify tap water at home and avoid:
    1) Pesticides commonly used to purify water, dichlorophenols?
    2) Contaminates and fluoride?

    Would a reverse osmosis water filter eliminate all of the above?

    What is structured water? Is it purified and free of pesticides, contaminants and fluoride?

    thank you!

    • Ann Louise

      Dear Beverly:
      I hope that you are currently treating all the conditions you listed in your post.

      With regard to your concerns about purifying your drinking water at home, please call Sierra at UNI KEY who can help customize a home water filtration system tailored to your needs. Her direct line – 208-209-8256. UNI KEY works hand in hand with one of the premier water purification companies with specialty filters that remove heavy metals, chemicals, radiation residues, and parasites from everyday tap water.
      Structured water has the unique abiity to make water “wetter” and enables it to be better absorbed. It is not necessarily purified nor chemical, toxin, or heavy metal-free.

  6. Marina

    Dear Dr. Ann Louise,
    Thank you so much for the above responses. With your enlightening blogs and your The Gut Flush Plan Book, I have been able to resolve many “gut grief” issues (to borrow your term) for myself and others. Thanks again!

  7. Ann Louise

    Just a quick note to let all my readers know that the term “false fat” was first noted by integrative physician Dr. Elson Haas who has written some of the most innovative books on health and healing. Thank you Dr. Haas!!

  8. Linda

    Are GMO’s you spoke of in bottled spring water, or are we talking tap water?

  9. Julie

    I am so very frustrated re: weight gain. I have spent thousands seeing a renowned women’s health practice in Maine. I did a yeast protocol, adrenal tx, etc. I have just been gaining consistently despite eating well and exercising. I am 5 days into fat flush and have lost nothing. Help!,

  10. Shellie

    Hey Julie,

    This is a late reply to this post I realize and you’ve probably received some good feedback about it. Read Melody Fletcher’s Law of Attraction blog about her doing a liver flush. I’ve been doing them for about 5 months and they have helped a lot. The process Melody references is from Andreas Moritz’s The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush. Best wishes!

  11. Melissa

    I first tried the Fat-Flush Plan nearly fifteen years ago and never felt better in my life.

    Over the years, I’ve fallen off and on the wagon, but have consistently maintained many of the plan’s food and lifestyle recommendations. I have just received my New Fat-Flush Plan book today and am anxious to jump into the plan but I now recall that eggs have always been a big part of the menu plans. Unfortunately, after my doctor did multi-phase food sensitivity testing, eggs are at the top of the list of foods I need to avoid.

    What would you recommend as a good substitute, both in terms of nutritional values, as well as convenience of availability and preparation (nothing easier than reaching for a hard-boiled egg when you’re on the go).

    Many thanks.

    • Team ALG

      Melissa, Some people carry a cooler with a frozen smoothie that defrosts and becomes a snack. Raspberry Cookies are good choice. Made with FF Whey, you have a good protein snack. http://fatflush.com/?s=raspberry+cookies


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