Posted by Neill Abayon
Some nutritionists estimate that up to 75% of all people have undiagnosed food allergies. They may not be allergies in the way that we commonly think of them – that is, we may not sneeze or get a rash, or go into anaphylactic shock. But they are allergies all the same, if these foods provoke a negative immune response in the body. A good example is lactose intolerance – sometimes called a ‘milk allergy’. People with lactose intolerance cannot digest one of the sugars that milk contains, and milk is harmful to their bodies. They might get a stomach ache, or they might develop a problem with phlegm in the lungs, windpipe or throat. Many people have a similar allergy to wheat or other grains, or to certain vegetables.
But what does this have to do with weight loss? Studies show that food allergies are a leading cause of weight gain. When you eat foods that you are allergic to, they aren’t metabolized properly, and your body will hold onto the calories in these foods for longer, according to one theory. Also, some nutritionists feel that there is a correlation between your food allergies and the foods that you crave or binge on. Often, they are the same foods. In fact, if you eat the foods that you are allergic to, you can develop an addiction to them. Apparently, this is often the case with wheat and other carbohydrates. Apparently, there are some people who are addicted to carbohydrates and sugar – if they eat just a little bit of these foods, they will lose control, and start to eat more and more. To make matters worse, these foods are not metabolized properly by those people, so the natural result is weight gain.
In most cases like this, the underlying cause may be an allergy to wheat and other grains. If you decide to eliminate these foods entirely, it will initially be difficult – just as it’s difficult for a smoker to stop smoking, or for an alcoholic to stop drinking. Once you do it, though, you will be able to reap the benefits. You will lose your urge to binge on these and other foods, and the weight will come off much faster.
If you are trying to lose weight, therefore, it is well worth your while to find out what your food allergies are, if indeed you have any. A naturopath will be able to help you discover this information, often using a process called ‘vega testing’. This may be a little costly, but as more people are doing it, the cost is coming down. At the end of the the visit, the naturopath will give you a printout of the foods you should avoid. You may be dismayed to find that some of your ‘favorites’ are on the list – but if you are committed to your health and weight loss, give it a try. You may be surprised by how little you actually miss the foods you are allergic to once they are gone from your diet altogether.
Some people are skeptical about this process and about the whole notion that so many people are allergic to common foods. Why would so many people have this disorder? It may seem strange – even counter-intuitive. Think about the great variety of foods we eat today, though. In the past, people generally stayed in the same part of the world in which they were born, and they ate the food that was indigenous to that region. Nowadays, that’s all but impossible. For one thing, people move around a lot more. Also, food doesn’t come from the region you live in - it comes from everywhere. Every food is available to everyone all the time, and that’s very different from what it was like in the past. Therefore, there’s a much greater potential for food allergies, because there are probably foods that you eat that your ancestors never would have seen. As a result, you may not have the necessary enzymes to digest them.
You could, of course, try to eat as your ancestors did. For many of us, though our ancestors came from a variety of places, and there’s no telling which set of genetics were passed on to us. Allergy testing, on the other hand, is individual, and may well give you the answers you need.