Certain foods can cause food reactions or sensitivities which can effect your sleep cycle and many other elements of your health and wellness. Here are the four most frequently asked questions I get about food sensitivities.
1. What is the difference between a food reaction, food allergy and food sensitivity?
A food reaction is an umbrella term used to cover any adverse reaction to food, whether it’s immune mediated (a food allergy and sensitivity) or not. A classic food allergy usually only involves one or two foods and is easy to diagnose. Symptoms include a significant rash, swelling of the throat or throat closing up. The symptoms occur immediately, usually within 2 hours of eating. On the other hand, a food sensitivity usually involves multiple foods and can occur anywhere from two hours to two days after eating the food. Since sensitivity symptoms are non-specific, it isn’t obvious or easy to self-diagnose. The third group, non-immune reactions to food are also non-specific and hard to diagnose.
2. If I’m sensitive to a certain food, does that mean I’ll never be able to eat it again?
No, a food sensitivity is usually not permanent, as opposed to a food allergy which usually is. Eliminate the food for one to three months, then slowly introduce it back into your diet. If the underlying gastrointestinal dysfunction–such as Dysbiosis or Leaky Gut–is treated, chances are your food sensitivity will have improved or gone away completely.
3. My skin and blood tests were negative, could I still have food sensitivities?
Yes, routine blood and skin tests will detect classical food allergies only. Most people have food intolerances or sensitivities, which have different immune mechanisms and are not picked up with such tests. There are labs that test for these antibodies (IgG), and some people have food reactions that don’t product antibodies at all.
4. What is the best way to test for food sensitivities?
Although there are IgG food allergy tests, the easiest and I believe the best way to detect them is to do an elimination diet for 2 weeks and then re-introduce the foods again.
If food sensitivity is affecting your sleep, try this elimination diet: For two weeks, eliminate sugar, corn syrup, sodas, refined grains and processed foods. These are metabolic disruptors which overstress the organs involved in hormone regulation and can seriously affect your sleep cycles. In addition, avoid dairy and gluten products, especially wheat, for the two weeks as these can cause food reactions or sensitivities which can affect your sleep cycle, too.