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Certified Clinical Densitometrist and Bone Health Expert

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Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities

Wednesday, May 05, 2010
 
Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities

Allergy FoodsFood sensitivities are a common--and often undiagnosed--health problem. Next Wednesday, I'll be giving a free webinar discussing some of the most common triggers and ways to deal with them.

There are many points of view about how to define food allergies and sensitivities. For the sake of simplicity, a true allergy is considered by most to be a fixed condition. That means that you experience a reaction every time you eat the food, and the reaction usually becomes more severe with each subsequent exposure. For instance, a peanut or nut allergy can cause swelling in the mouth every time the food is ingested. For some, food allergies can lead to anaphylactic shock, and even be deadly. Fixed allergies account for approximately 5% of food sensitivities.

Many more people experience less severe reactions, referred to as food sensitivity (FS), food intolerance or a "cyclic allergy". What is interesting about FS is that they tend to be the foods we crave and eat frequently or daily. FS can progress over time and develop into chronic health problems and can even trigger an asthma attack. During stressful times FS can become more of a problem.  I have seen people with gluten sensitivity develop celiac disease after prolonged intestinal wall destruction.

Here are some of the symptoms of food sensitivities:

  • Skin problems: rashes, hives and eczema
  • Weight gain or unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating, gas or extreme discomfort
  • Digestive problems: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, diarrhea, nausea
  • Respiratory problems: sinusitis, asthma, sore throat, persistent cough
  • Candida – fungal infections like thrush, jock itch, tinea etc.

Often the FS will emerge when a specific food is eaten in excess, either by eating large quantities of it in one sitting or by eating it on several successive days. In addition, a reaction to a cyclic allergen may be triggered by other adverse factors such as emotional stress, a diet high in processed food, or environmental agents such as toxic fumes, tobacco smoke and so on. Combining two different FS in the same meal may also cause a reaction due to the combined effects of both. A diet high in acid-forming foods will also increase FS reaction.

Some topics I'll discuss in my webinar:

  • Why do we crave foods we are allergic to?
  • Do women suffer from cyclic allergies more than men?
  • Do hormones play a role?
  • Can we be cured of cyclic allergies?
  • Elimination diets – where to start
  • ELISA test analysis

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