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Are Food Sensitivities Preventing Weight Loss?

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Author: Dr. Caroline Bearss, ND, Med, BBEC
Bracebridge ON

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Are Food Sensitivities Preventing Weight Loss?

I’d love to share a personal story about weight loss and food sensitivities. Since I was a child I have experienced various digestive symptoms and have sensed that these symptoms could be connected to possible food sensitivies. Years ago I did not have a Naturopathic doctor of my own and the medical field had nothing to advise about my digestive symptoms except to label them as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Years after this diagnosis I was studying at the Naturopathic College in Toronto and had the opportunity to do a Urinary Indican test on a sample of my urine. The test revealed that I had something naturopathic doctors call “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. Leaky Gut Syndrome is related to food sensitivies and too many pathogenic organisms (“dysbiosis”) in my digestive tract. I then stopped eating wheat, dairy and sugar. I switched to eating breads made with Spelt and Rye, pasta made from Kamut and crackers made from rice. Instead of milk I used rice and hemp milk. I still used a little honey but avoided other sugars as they promoted the growth of pathogenic organisms in my digestive tract. I also began to take a good quality probiotic (Acidophilus).

Within a few weeks of these dietary changes and probiotics I began to feel better than I had in years. The daily bloating subsided. The discomfort in my abdomen lessened. My bowel movements normalized, and to my astonishment I began to lose weight. By the end of the year I had, without intending to, decreased my weight by four dress sizes!  This experience was over ten years ago, and to my surprise I am still this size. I can now tolerate a little dairy but still limit sugar and wheat.

I have prescribed versions of this hypoallergenic or elimination diet to hundreds of clients and almost everyone loves the results. People report feeling an increased energy, decreased appetite, fewer digestive symptoms, and improvements in many chronic symptoms such as arthritis, skin issues, heartburn, irritability, depression, headaches, sinusitis and postnasal drip. Most people appreciate the effects so much that, after 8 weeks, they choose to stay on the diet indefinitely, as part of a lifestyle choice.

For many people, wheat and diary are the major foods that provoke sensitivies. Other allergenic foods can include: eggs, tree nuts, seafood, citrus, strawberries, soy, gluten and corn. Research shows that allergenic foods can cause an immunological reaction and inflammatory response in our bodies. This can contribute to the effect and symptom of weight gain through water retention and edema.

Weight loss can be a simple side effect of a healthier individual diet and lifestyle. Consult your Naturopathic doctor to help you assess if you have food sensitivities or food allergies. Through an elimination diet, urine and blood tests, your unique sensitivity picture can become clear and with the guidance of a Naturopathic doctor, you can easily be on the road to recovery and a healthier optimum weight.

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