When you think of an allergy, most people think of a severe reaction with shortness of breath, rash and swelling.
Many recent studies are showing that allergies to foods have a direct link to gaining weight, obesity and disease. A recent research article in the New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases that can be traced back to a food allergy. One of those diseases is obesity and weight gain. Undetected allergies will cause an inflammatory reaction when eaten. The problem is the reaction is often delayed 24-48 hours after exposure, so it is difficult to trace vague feelings like fatigue, constipation or softer stools, bloating, gas and mood changes. So the problem continues to grow out of control. The long term effect of out of control inflammation in the body leads a multitude of disease and illness including weight gain and obesity, arthritis and pain, and irritable bowel syndrome to name a few.
Most people will eat foods they are allergic to several times during the day and eventually the inflammation will spread throughout the body and create an environment for weight gain and chronic disease. The gut wall gets swollen and inflamed and has a harder time dealing with its job of defending against invaders like other allergens and infection.. They also have a difficult time absorbing nutrients from food. This compounds the problem.
Gluten is the number one hidden food allergy. It is found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut, and spelt. Celiac disease is a full blown allergic reaction to gluten where the body attacks the small intestine. It is present in about 1 % of the population. About 30% of the population has non-celiac gluten intolerance where the immune system attacks the gluten. This reaction is much more subtle, but can lead to long term consequences if not uncovered and addressed.
The other top undetected food allergies are dairy, corn, eggs, soy, nuts, nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and eggplant), citrus, and yeast (baker’s, brewer’s, and fermented products like vinegar). Left undetected they lead to similar problems.
Identifying and treating these food allergies is the first step in combating the effects it has on weight gain, disease, and inflammation. Most physicians do not address this crucial issue when working up a patient with fatigue, weight gain, or pain. A simple blood test can help identify hidden food allergies. All testing has its limitations and needs to be interpreted by a provider trained in dealing with food allergies and their long term effect on health and healing. At Rejuv Medical Louisville we deal with an array of disease and disorder in the body. From our patients with chronic pains, body degeneration, and inflammation to the athlete with decreased performance our goal is to treat the problem from the inside out. We have found that a quick fix cover-up or too many prescription medications that do not address the root cause of the problem does a disservice to the patients we care about. Medicine is evolving and we need to stay on top of the current research to treat and prevent the diseases that rot and plaque our bodies.
Remember, if you carry unwanted weight or suffer from a chronic inflammatory disease like arthritis, pain, diabetes and, even cancer there is a substantial health benefit in uncovering hidden food allergies that are creating a damaging fire inside you. Healthy food and exercise can be your greatest medicine, but hidden allergies in food can also be your greatest enemy in fighting the battle for your health. Continue to armor yourself with the latest knowledge and fight back!