Part 2. Nutritionist Guide to Weight Loss Series
Gut health and food sensitives
Tired of weight loss failures? Ready to find the key to weight loss? It might not be what you think. Consequently, most people miss this and struggle with weight loss.
I can admit I am a bit of a foodie. I love to try new foods, new diets, and new restaurants. However, I don’t want to buy a new clothing size, and I want to feel good. So many dietary plans out there are confusing. Of course, there is always talk about eating the correct number of calories and keeping active.
I am a registered nutritionist and often provide my clients with information on what and how to eat to lose weight. In fact, as I have gotten older, I, too, have to be conscious of my weight. My family has a history of weight gain with age. Over the years, I have done a ton of research and tried many things myself. As a result, one thing has proven to be the key for myself and hundreds of clients…gut health.
Without a doubt, a big miss with most diets is they ignore gut health as a precursor to weight loss. Why does that matter? A happy gut has good bacteria that can break food down, get that food digested and add calories. Too much, and things do not work the way it’s supposed to, which can make weight loss that much harder. The most common cause of an unhealthy gut is food sensitivities.
Difference between food allergies and food sensitivities
I will point out I am not a doctor, and anytime you are unsure whether something is an allergy or a sensitivity, you should consult a physician. The reason being an unidentified food allergy can be a serious risk to your health. After all, a hospital visit is probably something to be avoided.
In the meantime, I can define the differences between allergies and sensitivities. The easiest way to define the differences is one might put you in the hospital and require treatment before it worsens.
Food sensitivity and a food allergy can have some of the same symptoms, so it can be hard to distinguish which one is happening. A food allergy causes an immune system reaction that a sensitivity does not. The extreme reaction of a food allergy can be severe and life-threatening. In contrast, a food sensitivity is often limited to digestive issues and much less threatening…uncomfortable but not severe.
Most people understand that food allergies such as eggs, peanuts, fish, soy, shellfish, tree nuts, etc., can put some in the hospital or worse. 5% of adults and 8% of children experience food allergy symptoms:
- itchy rash or eczema
- tingling or swelling in the mouth or tongue
- difficulty breathing
- vomiting and/or diarrhea
Food sensitives are less recognized or considered an issue with weight issues. The issue occurs when our body is missing a specific enzyme that helps us digest that food. In fact, It is often caused by too much exposure to a specific food. Food sensitivity symptoms, for example, may be the following:
- chronic muscle or joint pain
- headaches or migraines
- gas or bloating
- stomach pain
- upset stomach
In short, the easiest way to define the differences is one might put you in the hospital and require treatment before it worsens.
Gut health and weight loss have only begun to be a red flag in the last decade. The truth is nutritional science is surprisingly young. All science can be hit or miss; As a matter of fact, for years nutritional science meant taking all good and bad ideas and letting them battle it out. In the last 20 years, new studies have focused on processed food effects. Now, studies have found a correlation between gut health and its effect on weight.
A study conducted entails examining gut health and its effects on weight. The scientists took gut bacteria from identical twins. However, one twin was obese, and the other was lean. Scientists transferred the bacteria into mice; the results were the obese bacteria make one of the rats fat.
What to do
Multiple companies do food allergy and sensitivity testing. They don’t tell you which one food is causing a specific issue. Some will, however, guide you in personalizing your diet.
I’ve taken a food sensitivity on a couple of occasions. Eight years ago, the first time I took a test, I had some borderline results. For example, the top offenders were;
- egg yolk
- baker’s yeast
- brewer’s yeast
- green beans
What is a food sensitivity test?
The premise of a food sensitivity test (also referred to as a food intolerance) is to measure your body’s immune response to specific foods.
Food sensitivity tests range from 26 items to, I believe I saw, 296 items. My test was a blood draw, but there are other methods: finger prick, hair strand, and a mouth swab. Recently, I read an article on Healthline that lists the best-at-home tests. You can decide on testing or eliminating suspect items.
I took those foods out of my diet for 30 days. After the 30 days, I added them back in one at a time to see if they still caused issues. A couple did, but fortunately, they were things I was not overly attached to. I leave the out of my diet with the occasional allowance.
My bloating and other discomforts all but went away, and bonus, I lost 7 pounds without doing anything else—weight loss without focusing on weight loss.
Before I took the test, there were items I had already suspected. I quickly noticed symptoms like headaches, stomach cramps, and running to the bathroom when I ate them.
Part I Intro to Series: Introduction to gut health