The American diet has many flaws. It is processed, full of hidden sugars, and chemical-laden, but did you know that healthy foods can cause unpleasant side effects that often go undetected? These symptoms can range from headaches to abdominal pain and even weight gain!
A food sensitivity is not a food allergy. An insensitivity can occur with foods that you tolerate well and even eat daily. However, tolerating a food does not guarantee protection against the body’s inflammatory response. Anyone with lactose intolerance can attest to this. The repetitive triggering of inflammation or “chronic inflammation” causes symptoms that over time can be detrimental to health. To make matters even more complicated, food sensitivities are often difficult to identify because the reactions occur days after ingestion. A food allergy on the other hand creates a robust physical response that cannot be overlooked. Common food allergies include peanuts, eggs, and shellfish and symptoms range from hives, breathing difficulty, lip swelling, to even death.
Why do sensitivities matter?
A food sensitivity could be the cause of unexplained or unresolved medical symptoms. Imagine taking daily medication for a migraine that could be easily eliminated by changing your diet. Food sensitivities have been linked to several disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and abdominal discomfort. Food sensitivities are also essential to identify because one will never reach optimal health by setting off an inflammatory response every time they eat. It’s impossible.
The good news is that testing for food sensitivities is simple. A finger stick blood sample is all that is needed for diagnosis. These tests scan the blood for antibodies (structures in the body’s defense system that protect against harmful exposures) and if the antibody matching a certain food is detected, this means that every time this food is eaten this inflammatory factor is released into the bloodstream. The severity of the immune response is scored and a doctor or certified specialist analyzes the results and initiates the best treatment. A food sensitivity is not usually permanent, as opposed to food allergies, which are almost always permanent.
Once diagnosed and treated, the symptoms associated with food sensitivities subside and people feel better; some gain energy and even lose resistant body fat. All regain quality of life and are one step closer to optimal health and wellness.
Learn more about Food Sensitivity Testing in the FAQ section.
About the author: Dr. Covington is an internal medicine physician and certified in obesity medicine. She is the CEO of Abundant Health & Vitality Associates in Charlotte, NC where she provides personalized nutrition, weight management, and food sensitivity testing.