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

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