Having a food allergy and not knowing it, can make every meal feel like a gamble. Food plays a vital role in our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Besides air, food is our source of life.
Unfortunately, it’s meaning, quality, and value has taken on more sinister roles in the lives of people worldwide. Food can now become a source of sickness, pain, suffering, addiction, and inflammation.
Food Allergy vs Intolerance
A negative physical reaction caused by food is usually the result of food allergies or food intolerance.
What’s the difference?
Firstly, food allergy induces a more severe autoimmune response. An allergic reaction can affect numerous organs in the body, Unfortunately, the reaction often happens very quickly. It can even be life-threatening.
Skin rashes, swelling, itchy mouth, and choking are common symptoms of food allergies.
Though less severe in the short-term. Food intolerance occurs at the digestive stage. However, it can still find its way to the immune system over time.
If you have a food intolerance, you may be able to get away with eating small portions of the offenders without too much trouble.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease such as irritable bowel syndrome, Chrones disease, and colitis. wheat, dairy, salicylates, lectins, and amines contribute to the inflammation of the intestine lining from which these diseases stem.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland which is responsible for many things especially hormone production. Inflammatory foods like wheat and gluten are associated with this condition.
Coeliac disease is an inflammatory reaction caused by gluten and gluten-containing products. The coeliac disease damages the lining of the small intestine, preventing proper absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where skin cells keep building on top of each other creating dry, flaky, itchy patches. This condition has been linked with the consumption of inflammatory foods like dairy, wheat, and sugar.
Rheumatoid Arthritis may occur if your food sensitivities include salicylates and amines. Foods high in salicylates and amines include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and capsicum.
If undetected and untreated, these food sensitivities will cause the immune system to attack the fluid in joints which would cause deterioration and pain.
Food Sensitivity Signs and Symptoms
1 out of 5 people suffer from undiagnosed food allergies and most of them suffer the following consequences:
- Increased Allergies
- Perpetuated food intolerances
- Chronic inflammation
- Chronic infections
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Genetic predisposition
- Elevated cortisol
- Weight gain and retention
- Nutrient deficiency
Unfortunately, most food allergies don’t “express” themselves in an obvious way at all. Instead, food sensitivities result in delayed immune reactions or IgG.
This makes it even harder to detect the exact cause without reliable food sensitivity testing.
What is IgG?
Immunoglobulin G or IgG, is an antibody found in lymph fluids. When it comes to the body fighting bacterial or viral infections, IgG is front row calvary.
The body releases IgG as its first line of defense to fight a new infection.
When it comes to responding to food sensitivities, IgG creates a delayed reaction. There isn’t an immediate response from the immune system. Instead, symptoms will develop slowly and over time.
So, what foods are the most common allergies or sensitivities?
Lactose is a sugar found in cheese, milk, ice cream, and yogurt. Other processed foods that contain the label mentioning “contains milk” may also have traces of lactose.
Lactose intolerance is a very common food sensitivity. Its often recognized at a young age but can also develop in adulthood.
The food sensitivity is due to the fact that some people have a shortage of enzymes required to digest, breakdown, and absorb lactose.
The human body hasn’t adapted to drink the milk of other animals, so everyone has a partial intolerance. Thus, dairy consumption, in general, is encouraged to stay at a minimum.
Common symptoms of dairy sensitivity include stomach bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, and our old friend diarrhea.
What came first, the symptom or the egg!?
Terrible joke for a not so funny food sensitivity. Moreso, it’s also possible to be allergic to eggs. As mentioned above, an allergic reaction would be almost immediate.
However, egg sensitivity signs may not occur up to 72 hours after consumption.
Common symptoms include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Severe headaches and migraines
- Skin issues like itchiness, acne, and eczema
- Swelling of the joints
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Respiratory complaints
The sensitivity is the body’s inability to digest the protein found in the white of the egg and sometimes even the yoke. No omelet is worth this amount of suffering.
Reaction to a nut intolerance won’t be as immediate as a nut allergy but can be as severe. If you have a nut sensitivity you will notice inflammation, swelling, and possibly and scratchy or itchy mouth shortly after consumption.
These uncomfortable symptoms are often just the tip of the iceberg. Nut sensitivity can result in internal inflammation of the stomach lining and intestine.
It can even result in leaky gut syndrome.
You may not eat nuts by the handful, but nuts can be an ingredient in so many packaged and processed foods. Labels are your friend, read them.
Another hidden ingredient is soy. Just because you don’t eat Chinese takeout or tofu doesn’t mean you’re not exposed to soy.
Food and products that contain or often contain soy:
- Bean sprouts
- Bread crumbs, cereals, and crackers
- Breaded foods
- Hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), hydrolyzed soy protein (HSP) and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
- Imitation dairy food
- Infant formula, follow-up formula, nutrition supplements for toddlers and children
- Meal replacements
- Meat products with fillers, for example, burgers and prepared ground meat products
- Mexican foods, for example, chili, taco fillings and tamales
- Nutrition supplements
- Sauces, for example, soy, shoyu, tamari, teriyaki, Worcestershire
- Simulated fish and meat products, for example, surimi, imitation bacon bits, vegetarian burgers
- Stews, for example, in gravies
- Vegetarian dishes
Other possible sources of soy:
- Baked goods and baking mixes
- Beverage mixes, for example, hot chocolate and lemonade
- Canned tuna and minced hams, for example, seasoned or mixed with other ingredients for flavor
- Chewing gum
- Cooking spray, margarine, vegetable shortening, and vegetable oil
- Dressings, gravies, and marinades
- Frozen desserts
- Milled corn
- Meat products with fillers, for example, preprepared hamburger patties, hot dogs and cold cuts
- Seasoning and spices
- Soups, broths, soup mixes and stocks
- Soy pasta
- Spreads, dips, mayonnaise and peanut butter
- Thickening agents
- Monosodium glutamate (MSG) (may contain hydrolyzed protein)
Soy seems to be everywhere!
If anything is as popular as soy, it’s gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Additionally, this food sensitivity is more discussed than a lot of the others.
Gluten intolerances can be linked to all the same symptoms as egg intolerance but including anemia, weight loss, and brain fog. This food sensitivity is becoming increasingly common.
Don’t Ignore Your Symptoms
By not identifying your food sensitivities, you put yourself at even greater risk of autoimmune attack. Ultimately, these reoccurring symptoms will not only be uncomfortable but will create inflammation.
Inflammation weakens your autoimmune response even further.
EverlyWell and Habit provide unique opportunities to test your food sensitivities and address the source of your symptoms. In your journal write three things: What you ate, when you ate it, and how you felt afterward.
In combination with an elimination diet (remove and test foods) and your allergy test results, you’ll be able to live and eat symptom-free.