In part 1 of my series titled “Weight Loss and Detox” I spoke about choosing healthier foods in order to attain your New Year’s goals. I focused mainly on the importance of eating a diet low in sugar and starch. Here in part 2, I want to explain the importance of eliminating foods that you may be sensitive to which will also affect your ability to lose weight and certainly impede detoxification. It’s not always easy to tell if you’re sensitive to certain foods. And I don’t particularly like most of the lab tests which are designed to identify allergens or sensitivities. The main reasons I don’t like them are: a) too often the findings show 50+ foods that need to be avoided; b) they don’t always pick up foods that the person is sensitive to; and c) they often miss foods that the person is sensitive to.
In my practice, sticking to the basics is all that is needed most (about 80%) of the time. When it comes to food sensitivities, the basics include avoiding wheat (really all gluten), corn, dairy, egg, soy, and yeast as they are the most common culprits. Of course, a person can be intolerant of any food, and often it’s a food that is consumed often. Another fairly common sensitivity would be tree nuts. A simple way to determine what foods you may be sensitive to is to go on an elimination diet, or simply avoid a particular food and then reintroduce it. The problem with avoiding only one food however, is that you may be having a similar reaction/symptom to a different food that you are still eating. Therefore, you may not notice any relief of symptom(s) and falsely conclude that there is no problem with the food you avoided. So again, a complete elimination diet is recommended. Symptoms that may arise from eating foods you are sensitive to include but are not limited to: fatigue, joint pain, digestive disturbances (of any kind), sinus and lung congestion, skin rashes (including acne and eczema), headaches, anxiousness, irritability and moodiness.
So what’s the connection between food sensitivities and weight gain and/or detox? The problem lies in the immune system. When the immune system gets called into action, as it does after eating “problem” foods, inflammatory chemicals are produced which can interfere with insulin metabolism. This can cause blood sugar to be elevated and signal the body to store more fat as opposed to break it down. Secondly, there is research that has showed people crave the foods they are sensitive to and therefore wind up overeating. So essentially, these foods can cause a biologically-based (as opposed to only psychologically-based) addictive response and cause a person to overeat. Obviously overeating will result in weight gain for most people.
As far as detoxification, eliminating food sensitivities will give your liver a break from having to clear out the inflammatory mediators produced after ingesting those foods. This will allow the liver more of a chance to deal with the burden of toxins it already has. Also, it will spare nutrients that are necessary to detox those mediators (and other toxins), in addition to nutrients needed to detox any stress hormones that will also be produced from consuming foods you are sensitive to.
I hope you now have more of an understanding and appreciation for avoiding certain foods. It may not be easy or fun to avoid those foods, but it should pay off in the end when you drop a few sizes!
In the next article, I’ll outline how to go about following an elimination diet.
Dr. Rob D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Diplomate of the International Board of Applied Kinesiology
Dr. Rob D'Aquila
Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you “Love this series”!
I hadn’t planned on writing about specific nutrients necessary for detox. In general, a detox doesn’t always require targeted nutrients. One can simply follow a very “clean” diet and see results. As far as what needs to be eliminated, I presume you are concerned with what toxins (as opposed to foods) need to be eliminated from the body. If so, that will vary from person to person. If there is something specific that needs to be eliminated, e.g. toxic metals, then there certainly are specific nutrients that would be helpful.
Since you asked, I will do my best to address the issue of detoxing certain toxins (and the nutrients necessary) in another article(s).
Thanks for reading and commenting!
Dr. Rob D’Aquila
Hi Dr. Rob,
Thank you so much for doing this series – it’s just what I need to follow! I saw myself in Part 2 and can’t wait for your next writing.
Dr. Rob D'Aquila
You’re welcome, I’m glad you’re interested in my site. Your question is a complicated one in that it requires several responses. Also, in a way, you are mixing apples and oranges. I’ll do my best to break it down for you.
As far as the bacterial health of the intestines, probiotics are a start. However, if there is a fungal, yeast, bacterial, viral, or parasitic infection, probiotics probably won’t be enough. Glutamine is fuel for the small intestine cells and help in repair, not necessarily the bacterial health, but in some way repairing would imply better bacterial health.
Eliminating toxins is one step, and a necessary one, but let’s not forget what I wrote. Eliminating problem foods is where I’m suggesting people start, not toxins per se. As mentioned, please stick to the basics and eat right, or better yet, perfect – don’t go looking for a magical supplement that will cleanse everything out of your system in one month.
When considering something like the Master Cleanse, it can be tricky. I suggest you seek the help of a competent practitioner if you embark on this. The Master Cleanse can actually be quite helpful in (reversing) insulin resistance. However, it needs to be done with great care to avoid causing more harm. As far as nutrients needed during a cleanse like this…it can be specific to the person, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for everyone. However, if I felt a patient could handle it, I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about taking nutrients for those 3-5 days. But again, I’d be monitoring them and making the call based on how they were doing.
It’s OK to sometimes separate eliminating toxins and healing. And, you can also do it together. Hopefully a person has enough nutrient stores to get them through a quick cleanse like the Master Cleanse. But the toxic burden of the person will also play a factor.
Lastly, if you’re finding that this type of eating pattern is causing symptoms in your body, that’s a good indicator that you need support while eliminating toxins/problem foods (which will automatically help in cleansing). And again, what’s necessary can be specific to each person. I try not to shotgun with my approach. But the diet generally applies to everyone.
Hope this helps and I hope I answered your question(s). Feel free to ask more if need be.
Dr. Rob D’Aquila