Food allergies are a severe hyper-reaction of the immune system caused by a massive release of histamine and other chemical mediators from certain types of white blood cells called mast cells and basophiles. Food allergies only affect 1-2% of the population. People suffering from a food allergy can usually identify what foods they are allergic to without testing because the reaction will occur every time and shortly after eating the allergic food.
Food sensitivities are delayed food allergies that manifest themselves in many different ways and can affect any organ system of the body. They can take anywhere from, say 45 minutes to 72 hours for symptoms to become apparent. This delayed onset of symptoms makes it virtually impossible to correctly identify the culprits without the proper lab tests and thus often go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.
Food sensitivities cause the immune system to react to foods and cause the release of chemicals called mediators. Examples of these are cytokines, histamine (think runny nose and watery eyes), and prostaglandins (Dr. Barry Sears of "The Zone Diet" fame talks about this at length) from white blood cells. It is these mediators that end up causing inflammation, pain, and a whole host of symptoms that come with food sensitivities. Now, the thing that makes food sensitivities complicated is that there are numerous ways our immune system can respond. Because there are different ways it responds, there are different ways researchers have tried to identify reactive foods, food additives, and chemicals.
The most reliable ones seem to be the Signet MRT test and the ELISA test. I can go on about these two but for now I would suggest that you Google both of them, do some research on each, and then resubmit with questions.
Food intolerances can be similar to food sensitivities except they do not involve the immune system. Instead, the questionable food is not properly digested and then begins to ferment inside the gut. The most common example of food intolerance is lactose intolerance.
Eating the same foods day in and day out *can* lead to food sensitivities. I personally did this with red meat and as such I am now going without for a few months to hopefully restore some balance within my body and then I will try it again and re-assess. If you have developed food sensitivities from eating too much of the same foods then it would be advisable to go without them for at least 30 days and then reintroduce them slowly and observe the results. For additional information on what to look for when observing these results please refer to "The Pulse Test" document of the Elitefts.com Metabolic Typing diet documents package.
In my practice I find that many people are sensitive to eggs; and I am one of them. Therefore, I only have them on occasion.
I know there is a lot of information that might be relatively new to you in this "article" so please take your time in reading it, do some additional independent research with the thoughts that spur from my reply, and then email me with your questions.
About the author: Eric Talmant
Eric Talmant is a top lightweight powerlifter and has a "passion for all things nutrition." A 1996 graduate of the University of Evansville, Eric is a certified Metabolic TypingŪ advisor www.mt-advisors.info/EditIndex.php. Talmant is certified to offer the Advanced Metabolic TypingŪ Test as well as order blood work (the Signet MRT Test, U.S. BioTek ELISA IgG allergy test, the High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein heart health test); as well as the BioHealth Diagnostics Adrenal and Hormone saliva test Profiles.
Eric has competed in the ADFPA, NASA, AAPF, APF, APA, the WPO, and the Raw Unity Meet. He holds the APF Florida state men's open equipped squat record of 678 pounds. He has been ranked in the top in the 75K class among all raw lifters in the United States for the past two years and he was a top equipped lifter in the two years before that.
His best equipped lifts are a 683 pound squat, 391 pound bench press, and a 650 pound deadlift in the 75K weight class. His best raw lifts to date are 485 pound squat without knee wraps, 290 pound bench press, and 635 pound deadlift.
He is also the founder and contest director of the Raw Unity Meet www.rawunitymeet.com which experienced great success in 2008 and 2009.
Talmant brings a unique skill set and 16 years of nutritional experience to his sponsors BMF Sports, Ultra Life, Inc., Critical Bench, and Titan Support Systems. He lives in rural Spring Hill, Florida, and can be reached through his web site at www.erictalmant.com
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