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How Food Allergies Cause Weight Gain

An Oft-Ignored Culprit to Weight Gain: Food Allergies

When dieting and regular exercise won't help you lose weight, it might be a food allergen that's to blame. Although some allergies are fast-acting and found early because of symptoms like hives, others often remain unknown because they mimic everyday ailments. These types of food allergies can often get worse with age and lead to chronic inflammation, fluid retention, gas, and even get mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome. Not only will food allergies lead to bloating, but also, there are symptoms that can put a wrench in your exercise plan, such as fatigue and joint pain.

Caitlin Weeks, a certified holistic nutritionist, gave us the main food allergens that adults develop intolerance to later in life. Here are the top foods that you should individually cut out if you suspect an allergy. In order to isolate a food allergy, you need to first look at the symptoms. Many food allergy symptoms cross into other categories, but it is the combination of these symptoms that will often separate an allergen from an illness. Included with each of the top allergens are the main symptoms tied to them so that you can pinpoint the possible culprit.

  • Wheat: An allergy to gluten, known as celiac disease, is on the rise thanks to an increased awareness in the mainstream. Adults with celiac can even get a reaction to g-free foods that are produced in a wheat facility because of the strong cross-tracing abilities found in grains. While you may not have a severe allergy to gluten, it is possible that you are dealing with a wheat intolerance. Whether you have celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, the lining of your gut will become inflamed upon consumption of the food, and your body will try to work harder to digest the food by producing more gas. This can lead to bloating, constipation, and weight gain.
    Symptoms: bloating, abdominal pain, upset stomach, intermittent diarrhea, joint pain
  • Dairy: Lactose, the sugar in cow's milk, can be especially difficult for an adult body to digest. The more severe side of this is a dairy allergy, where allergic patients need to steer clear of dairy completely. This allergy will lead to inflammation in the gut, hence the appearance of stubborn belly fat.
    Symptoms: hives, abdominal cramps, upset stomach, coughing or wheezing

Keep reading for two more allergens and an elimination diet plan.

  • Tree Nuts: Although an allergy to nuts is usually fast-acting and found in children, it can be also be caught as a slow-acting allergy in adults. Tree nuts and peanuts can cause weight gain for adults who develop an allergy because, as in most food allergies, your body fights the foreign agent by increasing insulin levels. Insulin is a fat-storing hormone and a leading cause of obesity.
    Symptoms (depending on severity): itchy throat, sneezing, stomach pain, diarrhea, wheezing
  • Corn: Corn contains a very large, commercially made protein known as zein. This is a grain protein very similar to the gluten in wheat. Most people do not have the ability to digest these types of grains, so they are only partially digested, messing with your body's digestive tract.
    Symptoms: headache, aching muscles, joint inflammation, fatigue

Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution, has a three-step plan to eliminate food allergens and rebalance your body.

  1. Try an elimination diet for three weeks. Cut out the most common food allergens found in adults, including wheat, dairy, tree nuts, and corn. Some adults can also be allergic to eggs, soy, fish, and yeast, so you may consider cutting those out as well. If you choose to isolate one food allergen, then go down the list to cut out one food allergen for three weeks. This will help you target your specific allergen. After 21 days, introduce one allergen back into your diet. Dr. Hyman recommends eating the food two to three times a day for three days. If you notice a reaction, then eliminate the allergen for at least 90 days before reintroducing the culprit.
  2. Eat a whole-foods, plant-based, high-fiber diet. Dr. Hyman swears by this to feed the good bacteria in your system in order to reset your gut and get your digestive system functioning properly.
  3. Take probiotics. This is a simple addition to your diet that is said to boost healthy, disease-fighting agents in your body. Probiotics that contain 10 billion CFU of bifidobacteria species and lactobacillus species will be the most beneficial in fighting toxicity and inflammation.
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