“Fat” that comes with food sensitivities is a characterized by bloating and fluid retention that many people experience when they ingest these top seven food allergens. Eating foods that interfere with our body’s chemistry causes tissue swelling, abdominal bloating or even facial puffiness that may have the appearance of real fat. In fact, it’s not unusual for a person to look ten to fifteen pounds heavier due to these nasty reactions.
The foods that people react to most commonly are also the most prevalent in the Standard American Diet (SAD, for short) They are dairy, wheat, corn, sugar, soy, eggs and peanuts. Many patients assume they aren’t “allergic” to these foods because they don’t experience the immediate histamine reaction we associate with an allergy, like hives, throat swelling or vomiting. Another complicating factor is that these type of reactions often cause delayed symptoms, meaning that you may not feel badly for 12-36 hours. This makes such sensitivities extremely difficult to identify, particularly if your sensitivity is to a food that you eat on a daily basis. If you are constantly consuming wheat or dairy, for example, and having a low-grade reaction, you may not recognize this as your body’s distress signals. Instead you might assume they are totally unrelated chronic problems, like a eczema, migraines, fatigue, joint pain, or heartburn.
Virtually any food can cause these reactions — even “healthy” foods like citrus or bell peppers. Typically an individual will develop sensitivities to the foods he or she eats most often. Unfortunately the top seven – dairy, wheat, corn, sugar, soy, eggs, and peanuts – are the basis for most processed foods so most Americans are frequently exposed to them. If we eat such foods on a daily basis, we may experience a near-constant state of reaction — including bloating and fluid retention. More serious, it may cause inflammation to the lining of the gut, upset your metabolism, create nutritional deficiencies, and blood sugar imbalances. This can lead to food cravings, low energy, depression and even PMS!
When you eat reactive foods, they enter your bloodstream incompletely digested… as bigger particles that your body doesn’t recognize as food. This not only causes indigestion and gas within the gut, but may trigger release of cytokines and chemicals like adrenaline and histamine that set off an inflammatory response. As fluids rush into afflicted cells and are held in your tissues, swelling and abdominal bloating occur. Due to the fluctuation in endophrins that occurs in this “flight or flight response, you may find that you crave the foods your are most sensitive to. The only real way to heal the gut is to eliminate these food triggers from your diet.
Elimination Diet to the Rescue!
One of the best ways to determine if you are having food reactions is an elimination diet. Plan for a minimum of 3 weeks off all of the most common seven food allergens: dairy, wheat, corn, sugar, soy, eggs and peanuts. You will not be cured by that time, but you can determine which of these seven you are reacting to by adding them back into your diet one-by-one and seeing which one(s) you have a reaction to.
Another way to find the food culprits is to have your physician test you for IgG food sensitivities. The elimination diet is the “gold standard” to determine what foods you are sensitive to but some patients prefer to have the data on paper before they start. I use laboratories like, Genova Diagnostics, Metametrix, and US Biotek for this type of testing.
Be aware that avoiding staple ingredients like wheat, dairy and corn syrup may require you to limit restaurant and packaged foods and to prepare most of your meals yourself. I also recommend drinking plenty of water and getting regular exercise. Exercise will stimulate your metabolism and boost your energy level. It will also help flush excess fluids, burn calories and suppress your appetite, allowing you to experience even faster results. Finding you have hidden food sensitivities may require you to adjust your eating, but when the inches start coming off and you feel better than you have in ages it will be worth all the effort!
Read my article on How to Do an Elimination Diet