- Are Food Allergies Making You Gain Weight?
- Are Food Allergies Making You Fat?
- How Hidden Food Sensitivities Make You Fat
- Can food sensitivity testing help with weight loss?
Are Food Allergies Making You Gain Weight?
All patients in our practice, and especially in our weight loss programs, are encouraged to undergo digestive health analysis and food allergy testing. Stool testing reveals abnormalities in the gut, while blood testing is done for the food allergies. Our standard blood panel tests for 154 foods and includes testing for gluten allergies and celiac disease. Less expensive panels test for 88 or 115 foods.
Even without formal testing it is reasonable to try some empiric treatments. We often start patients on specific blends of probiotics, l-glutamine, fiber and multi-vitamin-enzyme formulations. The most common food allergens are wheat, dairy, egg, corn and soy. A simple elimination-challenge diet is to try avoiding each for a month (elimination), then reintroduce that food twice per day for 3-4 days (challenge), and monitor what happens.
Having provided food allergy testing for over 10 years I continue to be amazed at the outcomes with the elimination of food allergens. I’d estimate 70-80% of all patients tested report positive results, with at least 20-30% reporting “amazing” results. For many it was the key to helping them lose weight.
Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement for men and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia and other complex medical conditions. He is founder and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www.imcwc.com) and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzalaser.com). Call (970) 245-6911 for an appointment or more information.
Are Food Allergies Making You Fat?
About a year ago, I decided enough was enough. I had a tiny rash on my right thumb for years and it itched like crazy-I couldn’t take it anymore. My doctor recommended an anti-itch cream, but I didn’t want to fight the symptoms, I wanted it to disappear-for good.
I took it upon myself to start researching possible sources. After scouring many books, articles, and websites, I made the decision to start eliminating foods.
It seemed like when I drank beer on the weekends my little rash intensified, so brewsky was the first thing to go. After a few days of passing on the suds, my rash got a little better but it didn’t go away.
Next I took out wheat (bascially all bread), and after two days my rash completely disappeared! I couldn’t believe it. I found sweet relief from simply skipping wheat. Did this mean I was allergic to wheat?
During my first meeting with my registered dietitian, Lauren, she asked about food allergies. I told her the story above and mentioned that I thought I had been allergic to eggs years ago, but now I eat them every day.
Lauren said pinpointing allergies is important during weight loss because foods can actually prevent our bodies from losing weight. Since I was showing signs of possible allergies, Lauren said taking a food sensitivity panel would offer insight.
RELATED: You don’t need a doc to diagnose everything. Use these five DIY health tests that could save your life.
I learned that some food allergies can cause inflammation, the growth of unhealthy bacteria, and even weight gain.
My test results came back and I was stunned: I had 28 food sensitivities. The most severe were eggs, pineapple, and yeast (my rash was triggered by yeast, not wheat after all!). Next came cow’s milk and banana, and on the mild side of the spectrum were soy, yogurt, chicken, peanuts, cashews, garlic, and, most surprisingly, green beans and peas.
Immediately I stopped eating or drinking anything with yeast. I eliminated all baked goods, pretzels, and bagels and replaced them with whole foods like meat and veggies and snacked on celery and cream cheese or pork rinds (they’re high in protein).
I also replaced my daily eggs (which I was not thrilled about since I ate them every day) with a few strips of bacon and avocado or my leftovers from dinner. A few days after making these changes, I noticed my stomach wasn’t bloated-at all. While the scale only moved down a smidge, I felt like I had dropped five pounds overnight.
RELATED: Bloated? Suffering from indigestion? Try one of these seven foods that ease an upset stomach.
I’m doing my best to eliminate the other foods on my list, although Lauren says that I can rotate the mild sensitivities every four days.
At this point, I “feel” thinner from these little changes and I’m thrilled to finally know what was triggering that annoying little rash. Sometimes it’s the little changes that lead to a better quality of life.
- By Beth Blair
How Hidden Food Sensitivities Make You Fat
Think food allergy and you might conjure the worst-case scenario, like a child going into anaphylactic shock after exposure to peanuts. No doubt, a severe food allergy is scary. But it’s also relatively rare. A much more common scenario is an adult with a low-grade food allergy to, say, gluten who never pinpoints the cause of his misery. His symptoms are vague (bloating, constipation, weight gain) and his exposure is frequent (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), so the connection is murky. And, over years, the hidden allergy takes a toll on the immune system. The result of an overworked immune system is everything from weight gain to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to arthritis.
That’s what happened to a patient of mine. John weighed 350 pounds and was facing diabetes. But his blood sugar problem was only the tip of the iceberg. He also had joint pain, asthma, crippling fatigue and a sleep disorder. To combat his lethargy, he craved diet soda and fast food for its high number of starchy carbs, a false source of fast energy. What he didn’t know was that he had celiac disease, a serious autoimmune disease fed by his daily indulgence in bagels and donuts. Celiac disease causes the immune system to turn on itself, attacking the healthy lining of the digestive tract. And the major trigger is gluten, a sticky protein found in many grains, including John’s daily dose of bagels and donuts.
Unchecked autoimmune diseases mean the gut is in a constant state of inflammation, a breeding ground for chronic illness.
Food Sensitivities and Inflammation
John’s story is not unique. Inflammation is one of the biggest drivers of weight gain and disease in America. While celiac afflicts roughly 1 percent of Americans (1) as many as 30 percent may have non-celiac gluten intolerance. The key difference is that, in people with celiac disease, the body attacks the small intestine. But in people with non-celiac gluten intolerance, the immune system attacks the gluten. A recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be traced back to eating gluten (2). Either way, the gut festers out of sight. And, when the lining of the gut is inflamed, the body is even more prone to food reactions, so the problem spirals out of control.
When the lining of the gut is inflamed, small fissures open between the tightly woven cells making up the gut walls. Called leaky gut syndrome, these chinks in the gut’s armor allow bacteria and partially digested food molecules to slip out into the bloodstream where they are considered foreign invaders. Once it spies a potential enemy, the body doesn’t hold back. The immune system attacks full throttle. White blood cells rush to surround the offending particle and systemic inflammation ensues. I’m not talking about a sore throat or infected finger. I’m talking about a hidden, smoldering fire created by the immune system as it tries to fend off a daily onslaught of food allergies.
The problem is that most people, like John, eat foods they are allergic to several times a day. Meaning every time that food enters the body, the immune system whips itself into a frenzy. But because symptoms are delayed up to 72 hours after eating, a low-grade food allergy can be hard to spot. Without diagnosis or awareness, the damage is repeated over and over, meal after meal. Eventually, inflammation seeps throughout the body, establishing an environment ripe for weight gain and chronic disease.
Identifying and treating food allergies and food sensitivities is an important part of my practice. Six weeks after John went gluten-free on The Blood Sugar Solution not only did he lose 3 notches on his belt, but his knees didn’t hurt, his asthma was gone, he wasn’t hungry and his energy was back. John’s response was not unusual. I have seen dramatic effects in weight loss, inflammatory conditions like autoimmune disease, and even mood and behavioral disorders.
The problem is that most physicians, especially allergists, don’t see the value in uncovering hidden food allergies. That is unfortunate because there is a growing body of medical literature illuminating the intimate relationship between the gut, food, and illness. Luckily, you don’t have to wait for your doctor to catch up with the times. Here are three ways to determine if food allergies are undermining your health.
Three Ways to Identify Food Allergies
- Get a blood test. Blood testing for IgG food allergens (www.immunolabs.com and other labs) can help you to identify hidden food allergies. While these tests do have limitations and need to be interpreted in the context of the rest of your health, they can be useful guides to what’s bothering YOU in particular. When considering blood tests for allergens, it’s always a good idea to work with a doctor or nutritionist trained in dealing with food allergies.
- Go dairy- and gluten-free for 6 weeks. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food allergies. For patients who have trouble losing weight, I often recommend a short elimination, as part of the The Blood Sugar Solution. Both dairy (milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt) and gluten (most often found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt, triticale, and kamut) are linked to insulin resistance and, therefore, weight gain. Temporarily cutting them out of the diet, allows the inflamed gut to heal. This one move may be the single most important thing most you can do to lose weight.
- Avoid the top food allergens. If you don’t feel a sense of relief from nixing dairy and gluten, you may need to take the elimination diet one step further by cutting out the top food allergens: gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy, nuts, nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant), citrus, and yeast (baker’s, brewer’s yeast, and fermented products like vinegar). Try this for a full six weeks. That is enough time to feel better and notice a change. When you reintroduce a top food allergen, eat it at least 2-3 times a day for 3 days to see if you notice a reaction. If you do, note the food and eliminate it for 90 days.
If you are overweight, if you suffer from inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, the potential health benefits of discovering and uprooting hidden food allergies cannot be overstated. Remember, food is your greatest ally in helping to prevent and treat illness. For more information see The Blood Sugar Solution to get a free sneak peak.
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Do you have food allergies?
Are you gluten intolerant?
Have you eliminated your food sensitivities and lost weight?
Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD
(1) Ludvigsson, JF, et al. 2009. “Small-intestinal histopathology and mortality risk in celiac disease” Journal of the American Medical Association 302 (11): 1171-8
(2) Farrell, RJ, and CP Kelly. 2002. Celiac sprue, New England Journal of Medicine 346 (3): 180-88 Review
This story originally appeared on EverydayHealth.com.
It sounds like a gag question, but stop and think about it. Do you feel bloated and way-too-full after you eat a scoop of ice cream? Are you gaining weight even though you are sticking to a low-calorie, low-fat diet? If so, hidden food or dairy allergies may be responsible. They can cause weight gain, the perception of weight gain — namely gas and bloating that can make it hard to zip up your jeans, and other belly woes.
The good news is that a little detective work followed by some tweaking of your diet can have you feeling — and looking — much better in no time.
Food allergies: rounding up the usual suspects
Traditional food allergies to foods like peanut and shellfish occur when your body’s immune system misfires against a protein found in food. This “friendly fire’ causes a release of chemicals, including histamine that can lead to allergic symptoms such rashes, hives, itching, swelling, and sometimes potentially fatal trouble breathing, or anaphylaxis. As many as 15 million people have food allergies, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. Even more common are food intolerances or sensitivities.
“There are different ways a body responds adversely to food,’ says Mark Hyman, MD, founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Mass., and the author of many books including The Blood Sugar Solution. “There can be a full-blown allergic response like there would be with peanut allergy, and there can be a low-level reaction that is more of a sensitivity.’
When we talk about weight gain, bloating, and general malaise associated with eating certain foods, we are talking about food sensitivities, Dr. Hyman says. This delayed allergy is known as an immunoglobulin G (IgG) delayed hypersensitivity reaction.
For a host of reasons, certain foods trigger inflammation in certain people, which in turn can cause anything and everything from weight gain and bloating to joint pain and even headache.
Common culprits include:
Lactose, the sugar found in milk or dairy products
Gluten, the main protein found in wheat and a few other grains
Fructose, the primary sugar in fruit juice, and honey, sodas, and other beverages containing high fructose corn syrup and alcohol
Hidden food allergies: innocent until proven guilty
How can you find out if hidden food allergies or intolerances are what’s eating you? Sharon Zarabi, RD, a nutritionist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, often helps patients figure out precisely what ingredients trigger their symptoms. Here’s how she does it:
Step 1. Keep a food diary
“List the specific foods you are eating — even brand names — and all of the symptoms that you experience afterward for one week,’ she says. For example, do you feel tired or bloated after eating cottage cheese or diet soda? Or crampy and constipated after a pasta meal? Whatever the symptom, write it down.
Step 2. Eliminate prime suspects
Next, she tells patients to steer clear of all of the foods that seem to be causing the symptoms for the next two weeks.
Step 3. Slowly re-introduce foods
Re-introduce foods one at a time to try to isolate the one(s) driving your symptoms, she says.
Hyman adds, “We can’t just take away one thing. We take away everything and then add them back one at a time.’ Sometimes blood tests can help measure IgG food allergens, but these are not available everywhere and not always 100 percent reliable, he says.
Something about gluten: not quite celiac disease
Today, there is lots of talk about gluten and gluten sensitivity, not to mention a proliferation of gluten-free foods on market shelves.Gluten sensitivity or intolerance has different and less severe effects than celiac disease, explains Peter H. R. Green, MD, a professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City and the director of the Celiac Disease Center.
Celiac disease occurs when the body mistakenly attacks the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing gluten. More than two million people in the United States have celiac disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. But many more may have non-celiac glucose intolerance or at least think they do, he says. And this kind of food intolerance can make you feel bloated and fat, Dr. Green says.
He routinely suggests a simple hydrogen breath test for people who fall into this camp. “You come in and breathe into a machine,’ he says. Increased hydrogen production occurs when sugars are such lactose, sucrose, fructose, and sorbitol are not properly digested.
This test can also help determine is there is an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut, which can also be causing your symptoms.”We can see if it is fructose, lactose, another sugar, or bacterial overgrowth,’ he says.”People say it’s sugar or carbs that makes them feel bad, but it is usually more specific than that. If you are gaining weight or bloating, see a gastroenterologist and have a breath test done. The results can turn your life around.’ These intolerances may masquerade as gluten sensitivity or travel with it, he says.
Food allergy and weight gain or weight loss?
Not everyone is in agreement that food allergies cause weight gain. In fact, Scott H. Sicherer, MD, a professor of pediatrics at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and the author of several books including Food Allergies: A Complete Guide for Eating When Your Life Depends on It, says they are more likely to cause the opposite — weight loss.
“Besides hives and wheezing, food allergies can cause chronic stomach problems and people may vomit, have diarrhea, and lose weight,’ he says. Also, it makes perfect sense that if you start eliminating whole groups of food — say wheat products, for example — you will probably lose weight, instead of gaining it.
Bloating is possible for people who have trouble digesting lactose, the sugar in milk. “This is not a dairy allergy per se,’ he says. “It is a digestive issue. Your belly may look more bloated, but you won’t gain weight.’
Marc Riedl, MD, an associate professor of medicine and section head of clinical immunology and allergy at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles, is another expert who doesn’t buy into food allergies causing weight gain or bloating. “It’s a pet peeve of mine,’ he says. “The media uses the term food allergy to mean anything unpleasant that happens when you eat a food.’ Food is often just an innocent bystander. “It gets blamed for a lot of things because we eat many times throughout the day, so food can almost certainly be closely approximated to any symptom we experience,’ he adds.
That said, many people may not feel well after they eat dairy foods or gluten. “This is not a life threatening problem, and making some simple dietary changes may make them feel better,’ Dr. Riedl suggests.
Republished with permission from EverydayHealth.com.
Most of us think we probably have a good idea of the foods that can make us gain weight: candy, soda, sugar, cookies, cakes, etc. In fact, the results of a large study were recently released that confirmed what we all know – and the sugar industry does its best to hide – that sugar causes diabetes. After it makes us fat, of course.
Yet some of us remain thwarted in our fat-loss efforts even while avoiding sugar and sugary foods. We do our best to eat healthy foods and exercise and are bewildered and disappointed when we don?t lose weight. What is going on here?
The short answer is: You are likely consuming foods that are not appropriate for YOU. If we whittle this concept down, we can say that one way that a food can be inappropriate for you is that you have a sensitivity to it.
There is more than one way to have a food allergy
So many times, a client has cheerfully sat across from me and declared that they were tested for food allergies and they have none. I then ask: ?Did you have your skin pricked or your blood drawn?? Almost everyone responds, ?skin pricked?.
Skin tests check for one very specific type of allergy ? the one that can be life threatening. These types of allergies are called IgE or anaphylactic reactions. People who have these types of allergies, typically to nuts or shellfish, have an immediate and extremely strong reaction to those foods when they are exposed.
Yet, this is not the only way that you can have a food allergy. The immune system has several branches, exquisitely elegant and stratified into functions and sub-functions. We have a branch that is responsible for strong, immediate reactions, and we have a branch that is responsible for delayed, slower, chronic reactions. These are known as IgG reactions.
These delayed-onset reactions are subtle and can be a major contributing factor to not only fat loss resistance but also migraines, hay fever, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues and an enormous variety of chronic disease.
What?s going on here!?
About two thirds of the immune system lives in the gastrointestinal tract. This makes sense, because our intestines, if we spread them out, cover an enormous surface area and we are exposed to the majority of pathogens in this way, through what we swallow.
The most basic job of the immune system is to be able to sort out the difference between self ? our own tissues and cells ? and non-self particles, and to kill things that are non-self. The immune system is not terribly sentimental. Yet there is a small catch here. Clearly, the food we eat is not self?it is something we put into our self. Since birth, our immune system has been taught to recognize and tolerate food particles. In other words, to not launch a major inflammatory assault on lunch.
Delayed onset food sensitivities occur when this tolerization has been breached. This can happen in a variety of ways. Eating foods that are inherently inflammatory on a regular basis, chronic stress, infection, certain medications, certain environmental agents and genetic predisposition can all play a role. Everyone has their own unique pattern for how and why they begin to react to foods, which is why non-anaphylactic food sensitivity was ignored and dismissed by the conventional community for so long (not anymore. Show me someone who dismisses this subject, and I will show you someone who missed the bus 20 years ago).
So a perfect storm of factors occurs, ranging from genes to food to stress. At the microscopic, cellular level, what is happening?
A look inside a gut on fire
Normally, the cells that line the inside of the intestine stand very tightly together, shoulder to shoulder. They are so tightly bound together that there is a structure – called a desmosome – that buttons them together. They are only once cell layer thick, and the immune system is immediately below them. Enter months or years of some stressor. The immune cells that reside in the gut release inflammatory compounds. These inflammatory compounds make the cells that line the intestine spread apart a bit by unbuttoning the desmosome (certain foods can do this too, like gluten) . A little leak in the gut is created, and repeated thousands upon thousands of times.
As a consequence, the immune system now has direct access to food particles that happen to be sitting in your intestine. The tolerization process has been bypassed, and as a result, the immune system begins making antibodies against the foods it meets and releases even more inflammatory compounds.
These inflammatory compounds call even more immune cells to the area, and create more leaks in the lining of the gut wall. This loss of integrity of the lining of the small intestine is called leaky gut.
The immune system is now held in a cycle of stimulation and inflammation. A chronic, low-grade, smoldering inflammation is established.
This is devastating for fat loss for several reasons. Extra inflammation makes you hold water, most notably, in this case, around the midsection. Fat-burning enzymes and hormonal machinery are functioning sub-optimally as the body is on the attack. Nutritional insufficiencies can incur from mild malabsorption as a result of an inflamed intestine. Your body begins storing resources ? fat ? for the war it is undertaking. Inflammatory compounds in the gut make their way into the blood and eventually the brain. You can feel exhausted and apathetic, making you reach for sodas and sugar foods in an attempt to keep your energy up. You can imagine what this compensatory eating does for your waistline. You may also notice skin rashes, itchiness, digestive complaints, acne, PMS, irritability, and a variety of other seemingly unrelated symptoms.
What to do?
The first order of business when trying to figure out if you have food sensitivities is to take stock of the foods you eat regularly. Look out for common inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy products, beans, nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, white potato) and soy. Especially notice the foods from this list that you eat regularly. As much as we may love these foods, they are major culprits when it comes to food sensitivities and fat loss resistance.
The next step is to eliminate these foods for a period or 4-6 weeks. Emphasize leafy veggies, proteins, low-glycemic index fruits and healthy fats. Take measurements of your waist circumference at the same time each week. If you notice that clothes are fitting easier, you look less puffy and bloated, and your waistline is coming down, you are on to something.
If you feel like you can?t immediately eliminate all of the foods, start with gluten and dairy and soy. In addition to being inflammatory, soy slows thyroid function, acts estrogenic, lowers testosterone, and is difficult to digest. I typically don?t recommend soy consumption, unless it is fermented.
After the period of elimination, it is time to challenge the foods. You challenge one food at a time, this is quite important. Remember that these food sensitivities are delayed. They can take up to 3 days to manifest, which is why they can be so tricky to tease out.
To challenge, eat 2-3 servings of the food you would like to challenge in one day. If you were challenging gluten, for example, use plain whole-wheat pasta, shredded wheat cereal, or whole wheat bread. Eat your servings, and then do not eat any more for 3 days. During this 3-day period after your gluten-load, you are watching for symptoms. If you feel bloated, have digestive change, mood change, hold water, get irritable, moody or get a headache, you have identified a food you are sensitive to. If, three days pass and you notice no symptoms at all, that food can then be incorporated back into the diet.
If you feel like you don?t want to jump into an elimination-challenge diet, there is the option of an IgG food sensitivity test. This is a blood test that detects IgG (not IgE) antibodies to a wide variety of foods. Based on those results, you may tailor your elimination diet accordingly.
You have likely been eating the same foods for years, and are thinking: ?Hey, I?ve been eating these foods for years and have never had a problem?. Remember that food sensitivities are most common in foods that are inherently inflammatory and that we have eaten for a long time. Until we have a look at our nutrition and begin doing some detective work, we can?t know for sure that they are not giving us a problem, particularly with fat loss resistance. We don?t know what we don?t know. Time to start exploring.
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YOUR DIGESTIVE SYSTEM may be making you fat. It’s hard to believe—but very true. I want to explain the bugs in your digestive tract, why they upset your gut’s immune system, and how they just might be behind those extra pounds.
I have observed this phenomenon in hundreds of patients. Recently, remarkable new research has confirmed this phenomenon.
I have developed very effective treatments for it, based on understanding the way in which all the body’s systems—the gut, the immune system, detoxification system, hormones and more—are connected. There’s powerful evidence that addressing these key causes of weight gain and illness can help you shed pounds.
For example, I’ve seen patients who lose significant amounts of weight, just by cutting food allergens from their diet. And I have also seen people lose 20 to 30 pounds, simply by balancing the bacterial ecosystem in their intestinal system.
One patient, a 38-year-old woman, had chronic inflammation, fluid retention, acne, fatigue, joint pain, as well as irritable bowel syndrome with bloating and gas. She had tried every known diet, but was unable to lose weight.
This woman’s problem: She could not lose weight because she was inflamed. The imbalances in her gut and the food sensitivities resulted in the inflammation.
But when we had her eliminate the foods to which she was allergic or sensitive, and gave her some healthy bacteria to heal her gut, she lost 35 pounds in a few months—and all her other symptoms went away too.
The big debate in medicine is which comes first: inflammation or obesity. I have always believed that we become inflamed first, and gain weight second—which makes us even more inflamed, perpetuating the cycle. Now incredible new research bears this out.
Let’s review this research, explain how food allergies can lead to weight gain, and provide you with three steps you can take to eliminate foods you may be allergic to and rebalance the ecosystem in your gut.
Inflammation And Weight Gain
Let me tell you a little more about these studies linking inflammation and weight gain, and explain their implications for treating obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and more. Both studies were done in Europe, where researchers are generally more open-minded.
The first study, published in December, 2007, looked at two groups of children. The first group was overweight and the second was normal weight. The researchers measured three key factors connected to inflammation.
First, they looked at high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker that shows the general level of inflammation in the body. Then they looked for plaque or thickening in the carotid arteries (the main arteries that supply the brain) with an ultrasound. Third, they looked at blood tests for IgG, or delayed food allergies.
What they found was startling.
The overweight kids had a three-fold higher level of CRP and a two and a half fold higher level of IgG antibodies to foods. This is astounding, since in most medical studies a difference of 20 to 30 percent is considered significant. And in this case, the differences were 300 and 250 percent, respectively.
The overweight children also had much thicker carotid arteries, which are a sign of early atherosclerosis and an indicator of heart disease. The study suggests that these food allergies are a CAUSE of the inflammation and obesity, not a consequence.
The authors of the study explain that damage to the gut can lead to a leaky gut, allowing food particles to be exposed to the gut’s immune system. This then triggers a system-wide immune response, leading to inflammation all over the body and producing obesity by increasing insulin resistance.
We already know that inflammation from any cause—bacteria, food, a high-sugar, high-fat diet—will produce insulin resistance, leading to higher insulin levels. And since insulin is a fat storage hormone, you store more fat—mostly around the belly.
The authors of the study go on to say that we should consider elimination of IgG food allergens as a way of treating obesity and preventing heart disease. That means you don’t limit calories, just foods that cause allergies that in turn cause inflammation. This study draws a remarkable link that has received little attention by conventional medicine.
Please watch this video for more information.
So what exactly causes a leaky gut? Well, the next study may help explain just that.
How Your Gut Begins To Leak
The researchers of a study published in the July, 2007 issue of Diabetes, performed a complex but powerful study to tease out which comes first—the chicken or the egg.
What they did was quite ingenious. They took thin mice and then fed them a very high-fat diet.
High-fat diets change the bacterial flora in the gut. Toxin-producing bugs are promoted by the high-fat diet while anti-inflammatory and protective bugs die off. (And there are over 500 species of bugs in your gut all fighting for territory.)
In fact, our highly processed, high-sugar, high-fat, low-fiber diet—plus many drugs like antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatories, acid-blockers, and hormones—completely alter the bacterial ecosystem in the gut, leading to breakdown, inflammation, and a leaky gut.
Back to the study.
The researchers found that mice fed the equivalent of an American diet produced more of a bacterial toxin called LPS, which then leaked into the body through their leaky gut.
In humans, these toxins then latch onto immune cells, stimulating them to produce a firestorm of inflammatory molecules such as TNFa, IL-6, and IL-1 (cytokines), which in turn block your metabolism and produce insulin resistance, fatty liver, and obesity.
When you eat a bad diet, bad bugs flourish. Your whole gut ecosystem is upset and the outside world “leaks” in across a damaged gut lining.
Even more interesting, the researchers also found that even with a normal diet, injecting LPS into the mice led to the SAME problems—inflammation and obesity. These mice didn’t eat a bad diet. Just injecting toxins into them made them fat.
In fact, when you eat a bad diet, bad bugs flourish. Your whole gut ecosystem is upset and the outside world “leaks” in across a damaged gut lining. The result is not just obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, but so many allergic, autoimmune, and inflammatory diseases.
The researchers explain how giving antibiotics to rats and cleaning out the bad bugs can prevent diabetes. They explain that by adding soluble fiber to the diet, they can increase the population of the good bugs like bifidobacteria and decrease the bad bugs—leading to weight loss.
But it doesn’t just happen in lab rats. I have found the same effects when my patients take the special soluble fiber called konjac root or glucomannan. The good bacteria feed on the fiber and reduce inflammation.
And there is more to the gut story. It seems that you are not the only one eating lunch. The bugs in your gut also feast—and they control your fat storage and the calories you absorb. So people with healthy bugs in the gut lose weight, and those with bad bugs gain weight.
Let me review this briefly again, because these concepts are so far from what we normally think about the causes of obesity.
When you eat a typical American diet, you foster the growth of bad bugs in the gut. They then damage the gut lining and produce toxins that are absorbed into your system.
Because of the damage, partially digested food particles also leak into your bloodstream. Then your immune system reacts to the toxins and foods, producing a firestorm of inflammation.
That inflammation then leads to a fatty toxic liver and insulin resistance, which lead to higher levels of insulin in your body. And insulin is a fat-storage, disease- and aging-promoting hormone.
So an unhealthy gut makes us fat and sick because it makes us toxic and inflamed.
This is groundbreaking research that needs to shake up our thinking about how to help people lose weight and get healthy.
Now here are a few simple things to try if you are struggling to lose weight or feel better.
3 Steps To Eliminate Food Allergens And Re-Balance Your Gut Ecology
- Try an elimination diet for 3 weeks. Cut out the most common food allergens, including gluten, dairy, eggs, corn, yeast, and peanuts. Some people are sensitive to soy, so you can also cut that out.
- Eat a whole-foods, plant-based, high-fiber diet. This is essential to feed the good bugs in your gut and to provide the nutrients you need to functional optimally.
- Take probiotics daily to boost the healthy bacteria in your gut. Look for those that contain 10 billion CFU of bifidobacteria species and lactobacillus species. Choose from reputable brands.
Within a very few short weeks—even if you do nothing else—you will see a dramatic difference that comes from cooling off inflammation by healing your gut.
Remember, if you want to get rid of that gut, you have to fix your gut.
Now I’d like to hear from you…
Have you noticed that inflammation is affecting your weight?
What steps do you plan to take to reduce inflammation?
How has reducing inflammation affected your weight?
Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below—but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!
A Parent’s Guide To Food Allergies
As parents know, life for a child with food allergies is a life that is constantly on alert. Everywhere – at school, at restaurants, at friends’ homes, even in their own home — children with allergies are constantly being reminded to “Watch out! Be careful!”
There’s certainly good reason for concern. Some food allergies can cause very serious reactions like anaphylaxis. It impairs breathing, causes blood pressure to tumble, and can even send the body into shock. That’s why many children with food allergies are often prescribed epinephrine.
Below are common allergy symptoms in children. It’s not just foods that can trigger these symptoms. Other triggers include irritants like cigarette smoke and perfume; outdoor conditions such as tree pollen, insect stings, and insect bites; and indoor issues like mold, dust mites, and pet hair or fur.
Common Allergy Symptoms In Children
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin rashes
- Skin hives
- Runny nose
- Itchy eyes
- Upset stomach
Common Food Allergies In Children
The two most common food allergies in children are:View Post
Other foods that can trigger allergies in kids include:
- Tree nuts, such as walnuts, cashews, and pecans
- Shellfish, such as shrimp, crab, lobster, and crayfish
“The foods that tend to have the most serious allergic reactions in children are peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish,” says Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida. Since 1975, more than 100,000 worldwide have come to the Center for education in heart-healthy living.
Pritikin Family Health Camps
Every summer since 2002, Pritikin’s faculty has also conducted Pritikin Family Health Camps that teach children healthy habits in food and fitness.
“In our family camps, we often help children with food allergies,” says Pritikin nutritionist Kimberly Gomer. “They enjoy learning about all kinds of foods, incredibly healthy foods, that they can eat and enjoy.”
More Information on Food Allergies and Children
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All year long, but especially this time of year, a number of people come to me interested in food sensitivity testing for weight loss. Once people find out food sensitivity testing is a service I provide, one of the first questions I get is about weight loss. They often ask:
Can food sensitivity testing help with weight loss?
In short, yes, it can. There are some ways food sensitivity testing can lead to weight loss:
- Your body is inflamed, and as you lose the inflammation, you drop excess water weight.
- Your diet is restrictive enough you can’t get enough calories.
- You clean up your diet as a result of the test, so you end up losing weight. Examples:
- You start avoiding bread because of yeast/gluten, you eat fewer carbs or better carbs and end up losing weight.
- You eat less dairy because the test told you too, so now you switch to plant-based fats higher in fiber and protein like avocados and nuts.
Except for scenario 1, the rest of the results can be achieved without a food sensitivity test. Therefore, you don’t need a food sensitivity test to lose weight, and if it helps, it’s doing so expensively and indirectly. Meaning the same results could be achieved for a LOT less without the test.
So, let’s explore scenario one because it is the only scenario in which the test is required to trigger weight loss: You are “inflamed” or holding on to inflammation.
The presence of food sensitivities suggests inflammation and stress on the body. (Read what is inflammation.) It’s kind of like which comes first, the chicken or the egg? The inflammation or the stress? We might never know. What we do know is, the inflammation will cause you to hold on to water. The stress will make it more difficult for you to lose any unwanted excess fat. The claim that the excess stress caused by food sensitivities will make you hang on to unwanted pounds is a valid claim, in my opinion. However, if this is the case, you will likely have more symptoms than just weight gain. That’s why I have my potential clients fill out a symptom questionnaire, and we look to see if any symptoms they are having might point to chronic or generalized inflammation in the body. Obviously, GI disturbances such as IBS (read how food sensitivities relate to IBS here) are a big tip-off, but others symptoms might be migraines, chronic sinus issues, chronic fatigue, or the presence of an autoimmune condition. And I plan to review all of these conditions this year regarding food sensitivity testing so you will learn more about each one then (or feel free to shoot me an email if you have specific questions).
The point is, I would be okay with testing someone if I saw a cluster of symptoms that pointed toward them benefiting from doing the test. I would never test someone just to help them lose weight. First, because unless you need the test, it’s unlikely to give you the results you want. Second, because if you do get the results, you will be attributing them to the wrong things. I can help you lose weight a number of different ways, but I won’t let you waste your money on something that isn’t worth it.
Hope that helps! If you are looking to lose weight this year I have three kick-ass options to help you do so:
- Individual Nutrition Counseling Packages
- What to Eat? Custom and Standard Meal Plans
- 52 Week to 52 Healthy Habits E-Course
More info on food sensitivities:
- Why I Don’t Recommend Elimination Diets
- What Is Inflammation?
- Food Sensitivity Test Options
- What to do AFTER food sensitivity testing
- IBS & Food Sensitivity Testing
If you still think food sensitivity testing is right for you:
I take all my clients through the consultation process to make sure they are 100% a good candidate for the test. You can schedule your consult here. The fee is 25 dollars which will be applied to the test package should we decide you are a good candidate and will benefit from it.