Experts disagree on what the healthiest diet is, and that’s because there isn’t a single diet that works perfectly for everyone.
You and I most likely need to eat a different set of foods to feel and perform at our best.
Put another way, what works quite well for me could make you feel awful.
Why is this?
One reason for this is that we are all different genetically, so it makes sense that the same diet will affect us all in different ways.
Another reason for this is that, to varying extents, we all have a degree of food sensitivity, allergy or intolerance.
It is the food allergy topic I’m interested in discussing today.
Let’s break down some confusion
It can be quite confusing to see the different terms “allergy”, “sensitivity”, and “intolerance”.
The goals of this article are to:
Confusion about different food reactions
As the diagram below shows, food is one of the most powerful influences on the way you look, feel and think.
Food has the power to skyrocket your energy and melt away your symptoms, body and mind, or to plunge them into disrepair.
A food “antigen” as described in the green quadrant of the diagram is a portion of a food molecule – usually a protein – that can trigger your immune system respond.
This immune response is then called a “food allergy” or “food sensitivity”.
The trouble is, food allergies and sensitivities are not the same, as you’re about to learn.
Foods such as processed grains and vegetable oils, processed meats, ready meals, sugary desserts and alcohol, are plain bad for all humans if they are eaten excessively.
It doesn’t really matter who you are, if you eat too many poor quality foods it is likely that your health will begin to suffer at some point.
Playing the “percentage game”, I know from experience that if I work with 100 clients, around 80% of them will feel better by minimising these generically “bad foods”.
This is why in my books I recommend trying a gluten, milk, soy and sugar-free diet that is low on processed oils.
In addition to the generically “bad” foods, each of us has the potential to react adversely to any given food, no matter how healthy the experts might say it is.
I have worked with clients whose lives were being utterly ruined by completely innocuous foods that you would find in abundance in virtually every healthy cookbook ever written!
Bananas, corn, oranges, beef, beets, kale, eggs, nuts and even berries have all caused major problems for some of my clients on an individual basis.
Let’s look at what these foods can do to you, and why adverse food reactions happen in the first place.
There are several different ways your body can “react” to food.
These differences often lead to confusion, and rightly so because it is not an easy topic to pick apart.
If you take a look at the simple chart I created, you can see that I included 10 different possibly mechanisms by which food can hurt you.
You could have any arrangement of these different issues.
For example person (a) could have symptoms caused only by an IgE food allergy.
Another could be very sensitive to oxalates or lectins in their food.
And person (c) may have some IgG food sensitivities to deal with.
Like I said at the top, it’s not as simple as you might think!
I’m very sympathetic if you look at this chart and wonder how you will ever navigate the minefield to find a diet that’s perfect for you.
My goal in this article series is to educate you about how foods cause problems and what action steps you can take to navigate the minefield!
Ket’s look at the most common allergies and sensitivities, namely IgE and IgG.
It’s really important to note that IgE and IgG reactions are completely different.
A single lab test cannot identify the different adverse responses humans have to food because each test only looks for one kind of reaction.
Thus, when you have an IgE food allergy test with your doctor, which is the most common test, it may not reveal any food allergies.
Thinking your food allergy lab test was 100% accurate, you might carry on eating the very foods that are harming you because it is actually IgG immune reactions that are causing problems for you.
You may be reacting to food in a way that a single test is unable to detect.
To keep things simple, let’s define food allergies as a type of response that leads to immediate, obvious symptoms.
These allergies are caused by rather rapid responses to foods that lead to obvious allergic symptoms.
Typical symptoms triggered by these kinds of responses include:
It’s this kind of reaction that leads to anaphylaxic shock from time-to-time in, for instance, the unlucky person who has a severe peanut, strawberry or seafood allergy.
The part of the immune system involved in these kinds of reactions is called immunoglobulin E, or IgE.
It is the same sub-component of the immune system that is responsible for conditions like hay fever and allergies to moulds, pets, etc.
A doctor can diagnose IgE food allergies using a finger prick test, or you can have the test done by a private laboratory.
Even though they are best known for causing obvious symptoms, IgE allergies can be subtle and do not always cause obvious symptoms, which makes testing helpful in some cases.
I would certainly consider using an IgE test to foods and environmental substances like grasses, pollen, cat dander, and others in children who were not responding to diet changes that would usually bring symptom improvement.
I am going to define food sensitivity as a reaction to food that develops over time rather than immediately.
I’ll term this a delayed food sensitivity.
In this type of reaction, the mechanism is completely different and the symptoms often take much longer to develop.
In fact, IgG food sensitivity symptoms can kick in after 48 hours or more of eating the offending food.
A different part of the immune system contributes to these kinds of reaction, namely immunoglobulin G, or IgG.
Keeping things simple, in IgG food sensitivities food fragments bind with IgG antibodies in your blood to form clusters.
As these clusters grow in size, they may get wedged and embed themselves in tissues where they cause inflammation.
This inflammation can trigger or perpetuate a wide range of different symptoms.
To make it easy to understand the differences between IgE and IgG reactions, take a look at this table.
IgG food reactions can affect digestion, energy, mood, sex drive, skin, muscles and joints, weight, body composition, sleep and more.
I have seen some excellent improvements in my clients’ health when offending foods were removed from their diet following IgG testing.
When you find out which foods you are reacting to, you can immediately remove them from your diet and you may feel better quite quickly.
Of course, if you have a gut full of bad bugs like H. pylori, Candida or parasites, that are causing symptoms, simply removing foods may only bring moderate relief.
There are three notes of caution with IgG food sensitivities:
First, you will see them called IgG allergies by some people, which is fine. I am only using the term “sensitivity” to keep IgG reactions separate from the IgE ones discussed above.
Second, IgG allergies are often the result of a damaged gut. In fact, the more IgG food sensitivities you have, usually the more damaged your gut will be.
Things like stress, gluten, toxins, bacterial overgrowth, Candida, parasites and even exercise, can damage your stomach and intestinal barrier, causing increased intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut.”
When this happens, food particles (known as “antigens”) can leak into the blood stream in a relatively undigested state.
When these antigens enter your blood in an unrecognized form, your immune system mounts a response to them, which is what you see on the IgG food sensitivity test.
A high number of IgG food sensitivities usually means you need to work on repairing your digestive lining as well as just avoiding the foods.
Third, you will see some authors and practitioners claiming that IgG testing is a waste of time.
I strongly disagree.
Some of my clients have improved their symptoms very rapidly as a result of avoiding foods shown to be highly reactive in their IgG testing.
Furthermore, there is plenty of scientific evidence supporting the use of IgG testing, it’s just that doctors and medical societies do not understand, and therefore won’t endorse, it.
My question is this: would you prefer a medically endorsed test, or a test that helps you feel better, quickly?
Using a simple home test kit that uses a finger prick blood sample rather than a full blood draw, we are able to look at more than 90 foods that you might be reacting to.
This is the test we use with our clients.
Its simplicity is very attractive – no blood draw is needed, which makes it great for busy lifestyles and also for kids.
This test also checks for IgG Candida antibodies, indicating problems with overgrowth in the digestive or genitourinary tracts.
However you must not rely on this test to solve all your problems. It is very helpful, but it’s stil very important to consider all aspects of your diet, lifestyle digestion and detoxification health.
Food intolerances are slightly different from IgE and IgG food reactions because they do not involve the immune system.
You may have heard of lactose intolerance and fructose intolerance?
Well, these conditions are the result of an inability to digest food components, which doesn’t involve an immune system reaction.
Lactose is a sugar found in milk, and fructose is a sugar found in fruit and vegetables (and their juices).
An inability to digest these sugars can be genetic or it can be the result of damage sustained to the digestive system by other factors.
If you can’t digest these sugars properly they end up being fermented by gut bacteria, leading to bloating, gas, pain, cramping and loose stools or diarrhea.
Testing for food intolerances like these is easy.
For example, avoid all cow’s milk (I do mean ALL cow’s milk) for 2 weeks.
Do your symptoms improve?
If so, you may well have lactose intolerance.
Then, after 2 weeks, drink a 8-16 ounces of milk and see if your symptoms worsen or return.
If they do, you most likely have your answer.
Contrary to popular belief, these food intolerances do not have to be endured for life. They can often be improved or even completely resolved by healing the gut.
Gluten sensitivity and coeliac disease (discussed separately), Candida, SIBO and parasites like Giardia can all lead to lactose and fructose intolerance.
Low stomach acid, pancreatic insufficiency, along with poor liver and gallbladder function can also contribute to these problems.
By taking steps to test and remove bad bugs, and restore proper digestion, you may find that lactose and fructose intolerance go away completely.
Comprehensive stool testing and organic acids tests can show you which bad bugs are causing the problems.
A stool test also carries plenty of helpful information about your ability to digest food by reporting pancreatic enzyme levels and your fat digestion capacity.
Other types of adverse food reactions
A number of other important sensitivities and intolerances include:
I will write about these issues separately – make sure you have signed up for my updates and newsletter to get the full scoop on these topics.
I realize it’s hard work to learn all this information, but it’s well worth it because you are empowered to not only regain your wellness, but to hang on to it for a lifetime!
Would you like some help?
In my opinion, high quality food sensitivity testing is the fastest and most effective way for you to customize your diet.
It removes confusion and puts control back in your hands and enables you to choose foods based on your individual requirements.
We offer home IgG food sensitivity tests and you don’t need to leave your home. We can ship the kit right to your door.
It checks for 94-foods and also has an added bonus of checking to see whether you have elevated antibodies to Candida albicans, one of the most common reasons for reduced vitality in society today.
The package comes with a full interpretation, case review and consult to make sure you completely understand your results and what action steps you need to take.
As always, we are here to make things as easy as possible for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions whatsoever.