SCOTTSDALE, AZ - It sounds strange, but some of the healthy foods we eat can actually be making us fat.
The problem happens when your body is intolerant to certain foods, and it’s different for everyone.
TOXIC FOOD SYNDROME
It is called Toxic Food Syndrome, and it affects most people. An estimated 95 percent of us experience some kind of food intolerance.
Dr. Sam Walters tests for food intolerances at his medical office, Wellspring Clinic in Scottsdale .
He said people react differently to foods, “One man's food is another man's poison.”
The intolerance is actually inflammation within the digestive tract. He said over time, our bodies are taking a beating from the food we eat.
“Inflammation is what sets up the disease process,” said Dr. Walters. “Inflammation, itself, is a major cause for so many of the cancers and heart disease problems we have today.”
WEIGHT LOSS AND CRAVINGS
“Many of the people literally crave the foods that they have an allergy to.”
Food intolerances can also make you crave foods that are bad specifically for you, which leads to weight gain. By finding out what your body is having trouble tolerating, you can help yourself lose weight. “It can really aid tremendously in losing weight, said Dr. Walters.
“There is something missing; something your body desires, needs or wants. So, you will start eating a lot of those particular things which cause you to gain weight. Likewise, when you solve that situation and those cravings disappear, down comes the weight. You start losing that fat you gained.”
So how do you know if you have any food intolerances?
Common symptoms include: constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, skin rashes, food cravings, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, weight gain, mood swings, anxiety and depression.
“People occasionally get a rash, or they get red,” said Dr. Walters.
The reaction can be cumulative and take two to three days to show.
According to Dr. Walters, certain digestive tract problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerations can come from not tolerating certain foods.
And when you have multiple foods at a time that your body is having trouble tolerating, the negative effect or symptom can be more extreme.
I took a food sensitivity test. The one I took is called, ALCAT . Each test is based on the number of foods tested. The test I took was for 50 food items and the cost was about $250. The price can go up from there.
My test result surprised me. Instead of burgers and fries, my list contained healthy foods.
My most severe intolerances are to almonds, spinach, and black or green tea. According to the test, these foods should be avoided for six months.
I have a moderate intolerance to corn, salmon, yellow squash, turkey, vanilla, wheat, etc. But, I don’t have a reaction to gluten. According to the test, these foods should be avoided for three to six months.
The test also gives me a list of acceptable foods. Once I limit the bad ones for a while, I am supposed to rotate them back in slowly and infrequently.
“Some people are so severe that we have to recommend that they stop eating those foods altogether. Other people we can rotate those foods, said Dr. Walters. “There are different ways to rotate those so the body builds kind of a stronger ability to handle it.”
After the first few months, I noticed less bloating and cravings. I lost weight.
“You start losing that fat you gained,” Dr. Walters described.
“People just get a better sense of wellbeing. Seems like invariably the weight starts coming down, their immune system starts going up, and their digestive system works better.”
He said many of the original symptoms start to disappear.
“They just become a healthier human being,” he said. “The body starts to heal internally.”
CAN’T AFFORD THE TEST?
Keep track of the foods you can tell bother you. Stop having them and see if you notice a difference. Remember, some foods can take up to two days to show symptoms. I get red when I have red wine, but it is not until the next day that I get hives.
“We have genetically altered foods today to the point that they are very hard to digest and get anything out of them,” said Dr. Walters. He thinks that is especially true for people who can’t tolerate corn, wheat and gluten.
Dr. Walters recommends people who are interested in changing their diet should buy more organic and natural foods and try to stay away from canned, processed and packaged foods.
“Not only do our foods not have the nutritional value they once had, but they have been genetically modified to the point that they create some real problems.”