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Food Sensitivity vs. Food Allergies

Posted: November 28, 2012
By: Dr. Drew Rubin
Last week we discussed the signs and symptoms of food allergies, along with their rising incidence.  Today, our discussion shifts to food sensitivities.  The major confusion around food sensitivities comes from the fact that while similar to an allergy, they are actually a different entity.  Make no mistake, however - they can be just as harmful if not monitored and controlled.

What is a food sensitivity?
A food sensitivity is actually a broad term that encompasses both food allergies AND food intolerances.  This means that someone can not be allergic to a food but still be sensitive to it.  Intolerance does NOT trigger an immune response, meaning it is not detected during traditional food allergy testing.  An allergic response is triggered by a protein, while an intolerance results from some other incompatibility between a food and an individual's digestive system.  One intolerance many people are familiar with is lactose intolerance - a situation where a person does not produce the enzymes necessary to break down the sugar lactose found in dairy products.

What are some symptoms associated with food intolerance/sensitivity?

Aside from those reactions mentioned in response to food allergy other symptoms a person with a food sensitivity may experience are as follows:
  • Dizziness
  • Sinus conditions
  • Runny/stuffed nose
  • Digestive issues
  • Brain Fog
  • Poor Memory
  • Learning Disorders
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Headache
  • ADHD
and many more!

What are some common foods to which people are sensitive?
Up to 90% of food sensitivities are caused by the following foods: celery, cereals with gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, milk, mollusks, mustard, nuts, peanuts, sesame seeds, soy, and sulfites.  This is far from a complete list of foods that can trigger sensitivities, so it is important to be aware of what you and your children are consuming.  It is also important to know that sensitivities may occur in response to the chemicals in the air, water, and on our food as well. 

What can I do about food sensitivity?
The most important thing you can do is be aware of the things you family is consuming.  If you suspect a sensitivity, eliminate that food from the diet for a minimum of three weeks and observe the way the you or your child feels or behaves.  If you have a clearer head and more energy with out the suspected food in your diet, odds are you are sensitive to it and should try to avoid it as much as possible.  As to chemical sensitivities, attempt to eat organic and opt for natural cleaning products whenever possible.  As always, we encourage those with sensitivities to supplement their routines with regular adjustments to keep the body functioning at it's highest level!  Rubin Family Chiropractic, as always, is here to help in any way possible...especially with those adjustments!

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