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Assessing food sensitivity with the Coca Pulse Test

What is the Coca Pulse Test?

Although not 100% accurate, the Coca Pulse test can help identify foods that may be stressing your body without having to spend money on lab tests.

In 1956, Dr. Arthur Coca, a medical doctor, wrote an entire book about this test, which is publicly available.

I still feel it’s a good idea to run lab testing because, as I’ve said in other posts, a good food sensitivity test provides more information about your health than simply which foods you might be reacting to.

It gives clues about whether you have a leaky gut and can also include things like Candida antibodies.

But let’s look at the Coca Pulse Test in this post…

Why is this relevant on a blog about H. pylori?

As you know, H. pylori causes digestive symptoms and can also cause headaches, joint pain, low energy, skin problems and other symptoms.

Well, these symptoms can all be caused by food sensitivities.

In fact, working with thousands of people has taught me that you can’t tell exactly what’s causing symptoms from person-to-person, without accurate tests and food elimination diets.

If food sensitivities are causing symptoms for you, then removing H. pylori might not help you feel better.

For an overview of this topic, read this food sensitivity article first.

You might also like to read Joyce’s story here, as she had a dramatic improvement in the way she felt when she stopped eating bananas of all things!

For an even more powerful story, read how food sensitivity testing transformed the health of an entire family here.

What’s the idea of the Coca Pulse Test?

In a nutshell, Dr. Coca believed that you could assess your food sensitivities by holding different food in your mouth and measuring your pulse.

He felt that a significant change in pulse/heart rate caused by placing different foods in the mouth indicated that some kind of adverse reaction was taking place.

So the Coca Pulse Test is simple: you just place different foods in your mouth and measure your pulse against your standard pulse rate.

A Note of Caution

This test might not give you accurate results if you’re taking a drug that controls your heart rate, like a calcium-channel blocker or a beta-blocker.

You must be in a relaxed or rested state to do the test properly.

It’s also not a good idea to do the test if you have a current infection like a cold, sore throat, cough or flu.

Step 1 of the Coca Pulse Test.

Gather a pen, piece of paper, and stopwatch. Have your ‘test food’ within reach when you begin the test.

Step 2 – Relax

Sit down, take a deep breath, and relax. Start when your heart rate is at a normal pace, not when you’ve been running around, or soon after exercising.

Step 3 – Take your pulse

Determine your starting pulse by counting your heart rate for a full minute. You can use your wrist or your neck, as long as you take it on the same place each time. Write down your ‘before’ pulse.

Step 4 – Place your “test food” in your mouth

Take a bite of food, a mouthful of drink and chew it, or swish it round your mouth, making sure it hits all your taste buds, but don’t swallow it.

You can also do this with a drink or a supplement, if it’s safe to chew on it.

Make sure you taste it for at least 30 seconds, because the taste is what informs your central nervous system, which makes the snap judgment on whether this food is ‘safe’ for you or not.

If this food is seen as stressful for your body, your pulse will elevate briefly. For the most telling results, test one food at a time.

Step 5 – Take your pulse again

Take your pulse for one full minute again, while holding the food in your mouth, and write down your ‘after’ pulse.

An increase of 4 or more beats is considered the result of a stressful reaction. For those with Type O Blood, an increase of 3 or more is considered a stressful reaction – some of us are just more sensitive than others.

The bigger the pulse change, theoretically, the more stressful your body considers this food. I’ve seen reactions with an increase of 10 or 20 beats per minute.

If you have a stressful reaction to a food, leave it out for about 6-8 weeks and then reintroduce it to see if the food still causes a problem.

Step 6 – Testing the next food

Spit out the food you’re testing if you plan to test another food right away.

If you reacted to a certain food, it helps to rinse your mouth out with filtered water, and then spit the water out.

Then wait about two minutes and retest your pulse to see if it has returned to its starting rate.

If it hasn’t, wait another couple of minutes and try again. It doesn’t usually take super-long.

Note: please take a full 60 second pulse each time.

Taking a 15 second pulse and multiplying it by 4 won’t work because the variation in your pulse can happen at any time during the minute you’re holding the food in your mouth.

Be careful to test only one food at a time.

For example, if you cook food in butter, margarine or oil, and find that you react to that food, it might be the cooking fat/oil and not the food that is the problem.

Also, make sure you standardise the test by standing or sitting in the same position and doing the test at the same time of day.

Drawbacks of the Coca Pulse Test

I really do feel that the pulse test is useful in identifying general reactions.

Its biggest drawback is that you don’t know specifically how your body is responding to a given food item.

As I have discussed in other posts, our bodies can react to foods in many different ways, and it is very useful to know what the mechanism is.

When you understand how and why a food is causing problems, you can often address the underling cause and go back to eating that food again.

For example, a food reaction may be the result of low stomach acid, a chronic digestive infection, leaky gut, an under-functioning liver, or hormone imbalance.

Give the Coca Pulse Test a go!

Try using the Coca Pulse Test on one food today – see how you go. Ideally, start with a food or several foods that you suspect might be causing problems.

If you figure out something interesting, please leave a comment or email and let us know!

Remember, a negative Coca Pulse Test is NOT diagnostic that the food is okay for you but it does give you some basic data to play with.

Would you like some assistance?

My recommended food sensitivity test checks IgG reactions to 94 common foods, and checks to see if you have an elevated immune response to Candida albicans.

It’s a simple home test and just needs a finger prick blood test, making it great for kids.

Click here if you would like to learn how use a finger prick home blood test to check your sensitivity to 94 foods, and Candida albicans.

Click here if you would like to arrange a case review and consultation by phone or Skype so we can provide some personalised support for you.

I hope this post is helpful and it goes without question that we’d love to hear from you if you have any questions whatsoever about your health.



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