An estimated 50 million Americans suffer with food sensitivities. These sensitivities can cause a wide array of symptoms from rashesto eczema, digestive symptomstoIBS, congestion to a runny nose, headaches to aches and pains, or fatigue tomood swings. Food sensitivities can betricky to identify as some symptomscan manifest soonafter eating whileothers may not surface for several days after eating, making identification of the cause difficult.
Although some food sensitivity reactions can be dramatic, such as a migraine, acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome, many times the reactions aremore moderate and can be annoying oruncomfortable. Having only moderate symptoms makes it easier for them to go unnoticed or unchecked, and because of this, it's easy to eat a food that isreactiveday after day without even realizing it is causing any symptoms.
Over time, the moderate symptoms canaccumulate and result in significant symptoms. Most people will continuepurchasingsymptom relief in the form of over-the-counter medications for years without ever suspecting that food sensitivities could be the cause for their symptoms.
How prevalent are food sensitivities?
- 3 in 4 people report a sensitivity to dairy.
- 1 in 3 people report a sensitivity to yeast.
- 1 in 7 people report a sensitivity to wheat/gluten.
- 1 in 3 people report a sensitivity to sugar.
Food sensitivities are very different from true food allergies, but they are often confused. A true allergy (IgE mediated reaction) directly involves the immune system, where as a sensitivity (non-IgE mediated reaction) does not directly involve the immune system.
However, the symptoms can be very similar. Symptoms from food sensitivities are more common than symptoms from food allergies and affect a much higher percentage of people than previously thought. Medical evidence shows food sensitivities are much more prevalent than the small minorities usually quoted for true food allergies, which is only about two to four percent.
Many people don't fullyunderstand the effects of food sensitivities and because many symptoms can beongoing, the symptomsare often attributed to something else. Symptoms of food sensitivities tend to be those that people deal with on adaily basis but don't want to fully address, like itchy skin, rashes, mild diarrhea, coughing, fatigue, stomach bloating, flatulence, congestion, or headaches. Often, by the time the food sensitivity is properly identified, the symptoms have becomeelevated and the patient's overall health can be compromised.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 90% offood sensitivities are associated with eight food types
- Cow's milk
- Hen's eggs
- Soy foods
- Crustacean shellfish (such as shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crab)
- Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and chestnuts)
These items are the bulk of our western diet.Many people have some form of food sensitivity and needlessly suffer from the symptoms associated with them.