4 Common Food Sensitivities

Do you know that many people live for years with a food sensitivity but have absolutely no idea? Not all sensitivities make themselves known by a dramatic show of symptoms, like hives or feeling like your throat is closing up. 

Sometimes you might just have a stomach ache or nausea and attribute it to the meal instead of a specific food, for example. Or you might assume watery, itchy eyes point to hay fever instead of a food sensitivity. 

In Scottsdale, Arizona, Dr. Russell Bartels and Dr. Burt Webb have assembled a stellar team at VitalityMDs, who adhere to the functional medicine approach that’s central to the practice’s treatment philosophy. 

They never take a band-aid approach to your care — just addressing an isolated symptom or two — rather, they look at your health as a dynamic reality and explore deeply into your health history, current condition, and symptoms to find the root cause of your problem. 

Food sensitivity differs from a food allergy

We tend to use the terms “food sensitivity” and “food allergy” interchangeably, but they’re not the same. 

The big difference? Food allergies are the result of a disease-combatting response from your immune system when it registers that something you’ve ingested is dangerous, while food sensitivities are defined by symptoms that are responses generated by your digestive system. 

The symptoms are quite different as well. An allergic reaction is accompanied by hives, swollen lips, a constricted throat, breathing problems, and even dizziness. Food sensitivities, on the other hand, cause symptoms that are digestive in natures:

Because of this difference, you may assume symptoms stem from tainted food, a virus, or a different problem — not a sensitivity.

Four foods that cause sensitivity most frequently

Food sensitivities come in many forms, but some of the top trigger foods are:

1. Dairy

If you’re lactose-intolerant, it means that you can’t digest the sugar that is in milk and other dairy products. You need to produce an enzyme to digest and absorb the lactose called lactase, and some folks don’t produce enough of it. 

Another problematic substance contained in dairy foods is the protein casein, which irritates the digestive system. 

Millions of Americans are believed to be sensitive to dairy.

2. Peanuts

Even though it’s an allergy to peanuts that fuels the iron-clad rules at elementary schools forbidding PB&Js, peanuts are also a food that many are sensitive to. Interestingly, peanuts are really legumes and are quite different from tree nuts. 

In addition to digestive issues, you can experience breathing problems after eating peanuts if you’re sensitive. 

3. Gluten

When you see grocery store shelves lined with gluten-free products, it’s a tipoff that indicates many people are gluten-sensitive. 

Wheat, barley, and rye contain gluten, and if you have a sensitivity to it, you likely experience unpleasant digestive symptoms, as well as headaches and fatigue.

Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance, but whether your sensitivity is intense or mild, there are plenty of gluten-free breads, crackers, flours, and other products on the market that takes the pain out of being gluten-sensitive, as well as alternatives like oats and quinoa.

4. Eggs

Eggs are a staple on the American breakfast table, but for some, they’re the quickest path to a digestive nightmare. That is due to specific proteins present in eggs, and people can have an intolerance to egg yolks, whites, or both. Reactions can include skin symptoms like rashes and hives, in addition to congestion. 

Sensitivity to eggs is particularly prevalent in children, but if you experience symptoms as an adult, egg substitutes are readily available. Be careful though, because eggs are hidden in many foods, from candy to condiments. 

How are food sensitivities diagnosed?

The VitalityMDs team offers nutritional counseling — which is about more than losing weight — if you're grappling with food sensitivities or suspect one. We do blood testing and advise an elimination diet to closely examine the effects of certain foods. After assessing the results, we can start helping you craft the ideal diet for you. 

As functional medicine specialists, we perform these tests to see everything that’s going on in your body. We help you live with your sensitivity by avoiding triggers and eating a healthy diet where you’re certain that what you eat won’t make you sick.

Call the VitalityMDs office today to arrange a consultation about food sensitivities, or use our online booking tool.  

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