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Food Intolerances / Food Allergies / Food Sensitivities
The below provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. Any treatment protocol should be discussed with a qualified healthcare practitioner ... Please refer to: Medical & Legal Disclaimer.
Allergy / Food Hypersensitivity:
Allergies may manifest itself in the skin, the intestines, the respiratory passages and the brain. If you are allergic to something, you may have get hives from eating a tomato; or you may experience respiratory distress after eating nuts.
Food intolerances are usually due to an enzyme deficiency, (such as lactase deficiency), which causes lactose intolerance. Or, the intestines may be oversensitive to certain foods, resulting in abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and bloating. You could be intolerant to any part of the food, including sugar and/or additives.
It may take a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days for a food to cause a reaction.
Up to three in four people are affected by food intolerance. The four main types of food intolerance are: Dairy, Fructose, Yeast and Gluten intolerance.
Over 90 percent of food allergies are caused by:
- intolerance to dairy products - Symptoms include increased mucus production, postnasal drip, low-grade inflammation, trouble swallowing and a lump in the throat
- corn syrup
- citrus fruits
- tree nuts
- egg whites
- food additives
Diarrhea is a common symptom of all four main food intolerances. Chronic diarrhea leads to social embarrassment, dehydration, loss of precious vitamins and minerals and stress. If left untreated it can soon lead to anemia, osteoporosis and other conditions.
Common Symptoms of Food Sensitivities:
Skin: hives; red, sandpaper-like facial rash; dry, scaly, itchy skin (mostly on face); swelling in hands and feet; puffy eyelids; dark circles under eye; slip swelling; tongue soreness and cracks
Respiratory: sneezing; runny nose; stuffy nose; wheezing; watery eyes' rattling chest; persistent cough; congestion; bronchitis; recurring ear infections
Intestinal: burning rash around anus; abdominal discomfort; diarrhea (mucousy) or constipation; intestinal bleeding; weight loss; bloating / gassiness; excessive spitting up; vomiting
General Well-being: fatigue; migraine headaches; sore muscles and joints
Behavioral: hyperactivity; crying; irritability; night-waking; anxiety; crankiness
Food Intolerance and Rheumatoid Arthritis:
In a report by the British Medical Research Council in 2001, it was found that there is evidence that an individual diet, in which offending foods are removed, can lead to an improvement of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatologist Dr. Gail Darlington conducted a controlled, 6-week study on this subject that was published in 1986. For the first week 53 rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients were only allowed to eat food that were not known to cause allergies. Other foods were then introduced, one at a time, to see whether any symptoms were produced. The offending foods were then eliminated from the patient's diet. The scientists found that there were significant improvements in the exclusion diet group compared to placebo diet group.
- The top five were: corn, wheat, bacon /pork, oranges and milk.
Darlington went on to further clinical studies and in 1993 published a table of food most likely to lead to intolerance in patients with RA.
Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS) & Its Link To Food Intolerance:
Up to three in four people are affected by IBS which is often caused by food intolerance. The four main types of food intolerance are: Dairy, Fructose, Yeast and Gluten intolerance. Many women are misdiagnosed with IBS. They actually have celiac disease (CD).
Diarrhea is a common symptom of all four main food intolerances. Chronic diarrhea leads to social embarrassment, dehydration, loss of precious vitamins and minerals and stress. If left untreated it can soon lead to anemia, osteoporosis, diabetes, and even cancer.
Food Sensitivities & Attention Deficit & Hyperactivity Disorder:
It has been suggested that attention disorders are caused by refined sugar or food additives, or that symptoms of ADHD are exacerbated by sugar or food additives.
In 1982, the National Institutes of Health held a scientific consensus conference to discuss this issue. It was found that diet restrictions helped about 5 percent of children with ADHD, mostly young children who had food allergies.
A more recent study on the effect of sugar on children, using sugar one day and a sugar substitute on alternate days, without parents, staff, or children knowing which substance was being used, showed no significant effects of the sugar on behavior or learning.
In another study, children whose mothers felt they were sugar-sensitive were given aspartame as a substitute for sugar. Half the mothers were told their children were given sugar, half that their children were given aspartame. The mothers who thought their children had received sugar rated them as more hyperactive than the other children and were more critical of their behavior.
Maria Zimmerman (certified nutritionist) recommends eliminating common allergenic foods, such as dairy and wheat for a month, then slowly adding back nutritious choices. She also suggests cutting out additives blacklisted in the Feingold diet, such as artificial colorings, flavorings, sweeteners, preservatives and salicylates.
Undiagnosed Food Sensitivities & Bladder Control Problems
- A food elimination diet can make a huge difference. Try avoiding gluten (wheat), dairy, yeast, eggs, corn, soy and nuts for a week and then adding them back into your diet one food at a time so you can identify what you are sensitive against.
Steps to take:
- Eliminate suspect foods (beginning with the "main offenders" listed above) for at least a week to 10 days. Only eat the least allergenic foods, such as: fresh fruits (except berries and citrus), avocados, rice, millet, poultry and lamb. It's recommended that all food items be organic and free of additives / chemicals.
- Keep a record of any food you eat. Record what you eat and how you feel afterwards. Also note how you feel after eliminating the suspect food item.
- Reintroduce one new food each week to see if symptoms reappear.
Medical tests for food allergies:
- Skin test. A skin test is helpful in uncovering hidden food allergies, but it has a high incidence of false positives, meaning the skin test is likely to show that you or your child is allergic to a food when really you are not.
- Radio-Allergo-Sorbent Test (RAST) Blood test. Measures the antibodies in your blood to certain allergens. The RAST test has a high degree of false negatives, meaning it does not detect food allergies you may have.
- There really is no replacement for the food elimination test in detecting food sensitivities.
Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.
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