Usually, the first thoughts of food allergies are of severe life-threatening episodes such as anaphylactic shock when exposed to peanuts unknowingly. Thankfully these are relatively rare. However, having a low-grade food intolerance to foods you commonly eat every day is a really common scenario.
Symptoms may be vague, making it very difficult to pinpoint causes. Symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, bloating, insomnia, asthma, brain fog, joint pain, IBS and arthritis may plague an individual, and it could be caused by the food they consume every day. The exposure can be frequent, for example, a person who is unknowingly intolerant to gluten can easily be exposing themselves for 3 meals a day. This constant barrage on the immune system eventually takes its toll resulting in miserable, unexplained symptoms, such as those described above.
This constant overworking of the immune system can lead to autoimmune diseases such as coeliac disease where the immune system starts attacking the healthy lining of the digestive tract. The trigger is gluten within common staple foods such as bread. More commonly, people can suffer from non-coeliac gluten intolerance, where the immune system attacks the gluten, rather than the body attacking the lining of the intestine as in the case of coeliac disease. This causes a constant state of inflammation within the gut, making an ideal environment for chronic illness to develop, which may lead to inflammation throughout the body.
When the lining of the gut is inflamed, small gaps develop between the tightly linked cells which make up the gut lining, this causes something called a leaky gut syndrome. These gaps allow bacteria and partially digested food molecules into the bloodstream where they are attacked by the white blood cells of the immune system as they are considered a foreign invader, this causes systemic full-body inflammation. This constant stress and inflammation on the body can be likened to a constant hidden smouldering fire! Food intolerances and sensitivities can have a huge impact on your health.
How does food intolerance cause weight gain?
When a person identifies their food intolerances and excludes them, a common side effect is weight loss, suddenly being able to lose those stubborn kilos that wouldn’t previously shift, however hard the person tried. A person’s body consists of more than two-thirds water, sometimes the body can become waterlogged, retaining excess water, food intolerances being one cause, along with poor kidney function, hormonal imbalance and excess sugar which is stored as glycogen in the body which needs 4 units of water to 1 unit of glycogen.
Food intolerances activate the immune system causing a release of histamine, which makes the capillary blood vessels leak; allowing the white blood cells to move to the area it is needed to fight the battle. This creates excess fluid within the tissues and waterlogging leading to weight gain if this exposure is regular; such as eating the offending food several times within the day. When excluding the offending item, weight can be lost, sometimes quite dramatically by losing this extra water retention caused by the inflammatory reaction.
Immune reactions also affect the balance of prostaglandins which are hormone-like substances made from essential fats which can lead to water retention and abdominal bloating.
An additional cause which links food intolerance to weight gain is when the chronic inflammation that is caused by the frequently reacting immune system can impair the brains’ ability to receive leptin’s appetite-suppressing messages, inhibiting the person from feeling full, so overeating occurs. This condition is called Leptin resistance, by removing the offending inflammatory foods, the damage can be undone, therefore reducing appetite and weight.
Identifying and eliminating food intolerances is of the utmost importance without awareness or diagnosis, the damage from inflammation is repeated over and over again when eating. Inflammation eventually seeps throughout the body, making a prime environment for chronic disease and weight gain.
What can I do to discover my intolerances?
www.intolerancetest.co.uk has a range of intolerance tests to meet your needs, which can help you discover the root cause of your symptoms. these tests can be performed from the comfort of your own home and are affordable, quick, painless, non-invasive using just a few strands of your hair. Samples are posted, and your comprehensive report detailing your results and how to perform the elimination diet will be emailed to you.
Dr Hyman a leading expert in the field of Functional Medicine states that if you are overweight, suffer from inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease, the potential health benefits of discovering and uprooting hidden food intolerances can not be overstated.