Your body is not a bank. It’s a Biochemistry lab.
I see people every day…at my clinic, the gym, the grocery store…who view their bodies as a calorie bank and approach weight loss from this perspective (i.e. the calories in/calories out model).
I also see patients who eliminate certain foods from their diet, such as wheat, and consistently report that they lose weight (without adjusting calories or energy expenditure).
What is a possible biochemical explanation for your inability to lose weight?
Food Sensitivities and Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the biggest drivers of weight gain and disease in America.
In people with food sensitivities or intolerances, the immune system attacks the undigested proteins and the lining of the gut becomes inflamed.
When the lining of the gut is inflamed, small fissures open between the tightly-woven cells making up the gut walls. This results in “leaky gut syndrome”.
In a leaky gut, bacteria and partially-digested food molecules slip out into the bloodstream, where they are considered foreign invaders.
The immune system attacks these foreign invaders with white blood cells, which engulf the offending particles and produce systemic inflammation.
Many people eat foods to which they are sensitive several times a day. Every time one of these foods enters the body, the immune system is activated.
Often symptoms are delayed up to 72 hours after eating, making a low-grade food sensitivity hard to identify.
Without diagnosis or awareness, the damage is repeated over and over again, meal after meal, and eventually, inflammation seeps throughout the body, establishing an environment primed for weight gain and chronic disease.
Identifying and treating adverse food reactions can result in dramatic effects on weight loss, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disease and even mood and behavioral disorders.
Three Ways to Identify Food Sensitivities
- Blood testing for IgG food sensitivities. These tests can be helpful in identifying food sensitivities, but have limitations and should be interpreted in the context of a patient’s diet and overall health.
- Go dairy- and gluten-free for six weeks. Dairy and gluten are the most common triggers of food sensitivities. For patients who have trouble losing weight, eliminating these foods can have favorable effects on blood sugar. Dairy and gluten are linked to insulin resistance and, therefore, weight gain. Temporarily cutting them out of the diet allows the inflamed gut to heal. This may be the single most important thing many people can do to lose weight. Keep in mind, though, that sugar is highly inflammatory and it’s critical at this time to keep sugar intake low and not resort to eating those gluten-free packaged foods that increase insulin (rice cakes, cereals, rice bread, cookies, etc.).
- Avoid the top food allergens. If you notice changes from avoiding dairy and gluten, try cutting out the top food allergens: gluten, dairy, corn, eggs, soy, nuts, nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and eggplant), citrus and yeast (baker’s, brewer’s yeast and fermented products like vinegar). Try this for a full six weeks. That is enough time to feel better and notice a change. When you reintroduce a top food allergen, eat it at least two to three times a day for three days to see if you notice a reaction (stop immediately once you notice the reaction). If you do, note the food and eliminate it for 90 days.
If you are overweight or suffer from inflammatory diseases, such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes or cancer, the potential health benefits of discovering and managing hidden food sensitivities could have a significant effect on your quality of life.