If you’re experiencing symptoms of indigestion, nausea, gas, or sudden fatigue after most meals, here’s a simple strategy to help figure out if you have a food sensitivity or intolerance.
An Allergy: Unlike sensitivities and intolerances a full blow allergy symptoms needs the immediate attention of an allergist.The symptoms of allergies are generally immediate – hives, swollen throat, itching, tingling lips, nausea, stomach pain.
A food sensitivity is an immune response to food. It can take from 45 minutes to several days for symptoms to become apparent. Since the symptoms may be delayed, it’s often difficult to pinpoint a sensitivity.
An intolerance causes similar symptoms but doesn’t involve an immune response. Basically it means you body cannot properly digest that food. An example is a lactose intolerance [dairy]. It does not break down properly and results in diarrhea and/or gas.
Some are pretty obvious. You drink a glass of milk and within the hour your are bloated and gassy, you could have a dairy sensitivity or a lactose intolerance. You eat a tomatoe and break out in hives, there could be a connection. The most common foods that many are allergic too include: dairy, eggs, citrus, corn, wheat, shellfish, soy and tree nuts [peanuts, almonds etc.]
How do you pin point your problem?
- STEP ONE: Track everything you eat.
- STEP TWO: Track the symptoms you are having.
- STEP THREE: Eliminate out all of the foods that you think may be causing problems. [The most common: dairy, eggs, citrus, corn, wheat, shellfish, soy and tree nuts.]
- STEP FOUR: Build a menu around the foods that you are certains aren’t causing you problems. Follow that diet for at least two weeks. Drink lots of water. [Wean yourself from alcohol, coffee during testing period for better results.]
- STEP FIVE: After two weeks, add one eliminated food back in to your diet.
- STEP SIX: If you begin to have symptoms from eating that food [gas, sudden fatigue, diarrhea, anxious feelings, headache, joint and muscle pain] you are very likely sensitive or intolerant. Remove it from your diet. Wait 3 days for your immune system to call down before adding another food back in.
- STEP SEVEN: If you don’t have symptoms, wait two or three days, add the next food back in. [repeat with other foods.]
See a dietitian if you’re still having problems. A registered dietician can perform a more in-depth analysis to figure out what you’re sensitive to or intolerant of.