I receive so many questions about food sensitivities from both my clients and wider community. So, I thought I would answer the most common questions surrounding food sensitivities right here, right now. Let’s dive right in…
WHAT IS A FOOD SENSITIVITY, AND HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT TO AN ALLERGY?
If you have an allergy, you will react immediately after consuming what you are allergic to. You may experience symptoms such as flushing, hives, swelling or even anaphylaxis.
Food sensitivities, from an IgG perspective, result in a delayed reaction. The reaction can take up to 72 hours to appear. Therefore, you may eat a food that you are sensitive to on Monday, but not experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloating, digestive issues, joint pain, skin issues, itchiness, swelling or fatigue, until Wednesday.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A FOOD SENSITIVTY?
As I mentioned, a food sensitivity can take up to 72 hours to show and is therefore difficult to pinpoint the specific foods causing the reaction.
The best way to know for sure is testing. If you can, test every year as food sensitivities can change year on year. I run mine every December!
You could also follow a protocol that helps you identify what foods you’re sensitive to. This would involve following a specific nutrition guide, and then reintroducing different food groups at particular times. If you’re going to take this approach, I recommend working with an integrative health practitioner, like myself, to ensure the most success from the protocol.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON FOOD SENSITIVITIES?
If you have a sensitivity, any foods can cause you inflammation – even the healthy ones!
However, there are two foods that I see that people are sensitive to and these are: Gluten and Dairy, especially cow’s dairy. These consistently cause inflammation in my clients.
WHAT IS THE BEST TEST TO CHECK FOR FOOD SENSITIVITIES?
There is a specific test that I recommend on my shop. I recommend this test because it checks for sensitivity from an IgG, IgE and IgG4 perspective, via a blood sample! So basically looks at every possible reaction you might have to a specific food!
I trust the company that runs this test and know that it gives an accurate reading.
There are so many tests online that are not accurate at all and, unfortunately, are just looking for quick profit. You need to be wary of this and choose wisely. For example, some even offer hair sample tests – I’m not sure how they’re executing this as there is no evidence that you can test food sensitivity from an IgG perspective from a hair sample!
Plus, other food sensitivity tests that you find out there really don’t give you the full picture. Some tests use live cell analysis, which is not a scientifically accepted sign of a true food sensitivity or allergic reaction. Other tests might measure total IgG antibodies only and so end up missing food reactions that activate the inflammatory response. Other tests may measure only a specific IgG subclass and miss out on information about IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4!
So there’s a reason as to why this food sensitivity test is on the higher price range…
WHY DID SO MANY FOOD SENSITIVITIES SHOW UP IN MY TEST?
These are likely foods that you’re eating on a daily basis that are showing up because of a leaky gut. ‘Leaky gut’ is increased intestinal permeability.
So many things can lead to a leaky gut: antibiotics, birth control, stress, poor food combining, poor diet, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, tap water… the list goes on! Check out this post on leaky gut for more information.
Leaky gut means that there are larger “gaps” in your gut lining. This allows toxins, bacteria and even large protein molecules to leak into your body. This will trigger inflammation, as the particles and toxins trigger your immune system, so antibodies will attempt to attack these foreign invaders.
As a result, your immune system is constantly on the lookout and you enter a vicious cycle of chronic inflammation and leaky gut. Inflammation makes leaky gut worse and leaky gut causes inflammation.
Food sensitivities occurs every time any food particle touches the lining of your gut. This is why it is very common to develop food sensitivities out of the blue.
DO I HAVE TO REMOVE ALL FOODS THAT SHOWED UP?
HEAL YOUR GUT! Specifically, you need to heal your leaky gut and tighten those junctions.
The method I use to do this is my GI Protocol, you can use any gut health protocol but I refer to my protocol because I created it and, therefore, know how it works and know that it’s hugely successful!
The GI Protocol works by creating a balanced gut flora and healing and sealing the gut wall. As a result, many foods that used to be a problem will now be tolerable.
However, I would like to emphasise that many foods that we are sensitive to are inflammatory in nature, so I still recommended only eating in moderation.
WHAT IF I RUN A FOOD SENSITIVITY TEST AND NO REACTION SHOWS UP BUT I’M STILL SUFFERING FROM SKIN ISSUES, ITCHINESS, BLOATING, BRAIN FOG, JOINT PAIN, FATIGUE OR MIGRAINES?
These symptoms don’t only occur due to a food sensitivity. This is especially true for digestive issues, as they can be digestion or malabsorption issues.
You can have an inflammatory gut that is still causing these issues, but not suffering from food sensitivities.
This is where bio-individuality and taking a truly integrative approach comes into play.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Food sensitivities begin and end with the gut. To overcome and keep food sensitivities at bay, you really need to look after your gut health.
If you have food sensitivities, then you need to look into your gut health.
Alternatively, if you’re not sure whether your inflammatory-based symptoms are being caused by food sensitivities, I highly recommend running this test to figure it out. Everyone should be running this on a yearly basis on an ideal world!