Food Sensitivities

Millions of Americans suffer with food sensitivities.  These sensitivities can cause a wide array of symptoms from rashes to bloating, from congestion to a runny nose, from headaches to aches and pains or from fatigue to mood swings.  Food sensitivities can be difficult to identify as some symptoms can manifest several hours after eating while others may not surface for several days. However, it is important to identify what foods may be causing a reaction in order to avoid the substance and reduce the symptoms.  This can be tricky even if a certain item is suspected it can be hard to track as the reaction that is present today could be from something that was consumed yesterday. 

Some reactions can depend on the amount of the item eaten. Meaning that a small or moderate amount of a reactive substance may not cause any noticeable symptoms, but a larger amount of the substance would cause symptoms.  If the reaction is low to an item, symptoms may only happen if the reactive item is eaten in combination with another reactive item, thus making identification of a food sensitivity even more difficult.

Although some food sensitivity reactions can be dramatic, many times the reactions are more moderate symptoms that can be annoying or uncomfortable. Having only moderate symptoms make it easier for them to go unchecked, and because of this, it’s easy to eat a food that is reactive day after day without even realizing it is causing any symptoms.  Over time, the moderate symptoms can accumulate and result in significant symptoms.  

How prevalent are food sensitivities?
 
3 in 4 people report a sensitivity to dairy.
1 in 3 people report a sensitivity to yeast. 
1 in 7 people report a sensitivity to wheat/gluten. 
1 in 3 people report a sensitivity to sugar.
 
Food sensitivities are different from true food allergies, but they are often confused.  A true allergy directly involves the immune system where a sensitivity does not always involve the immune system.  However, the symptoms can be very similar.  Symptoms from food sensitivities are more common than symptoms from food allergies and affect a much higher percentage of people then previously thought.  Medical evidence shows food sensitivities are much more prevalent than true food allergies, which is only about 2 to 4% of adults and 4 to 6% of children.  Many people don’t fully understand the effects of food sensitivities and because many symptoms can be ongoing, the symptoms are often attributed to something else.  Symptoms of food sensitivities tend to be those that people deal with on a daily basis but don’t want to fully address, like: itching skin, rashes, mild diarrhea, coughing, fatigue, stomach bloating, flatulence, congestion, or headache.  Often, by the time the food sensitivity is properly identified, the symptoms have become elevated and the patient's overall health can be compromised.  
 
According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 90% of food sensitivities are associated with 8 food types:


*       Cow's milk
*       Eggs
*       Peanuts
*       Soy foods
*       Wheat
*       Fish
*       Crustacean shellfish (such shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crab)
*       Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios,
         Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and chestnuts)
 
The items above make up the bulk of our western diets.  Many people have some form of food sensitivity and needlessly suffer with the symptoms associated with them.   

Other possible food reactions can be to corn, salicylates, fruits, wine, beer, food additives, yeasts, food components, oils, veggies, etc… the list goes on and on…

If you are suffering with food sensitivities, give our office a call. We can help.  We treat the symptoms associated with allergies and sensitivities with great success!