Are Food Sensitivities Causing Your Weight Loss Woes?

By the year 2030, a majority of the U.S. population is projected to be obese, not just overweight, but obese. Experts, physicians and researchers have struggled to determine what has caused obesity rates to soar tremendously over the last two decades. In 2007, a groundbreaking study shed light on a probable explanation: inflammation caused by food sensitivities.

In the July 2007 issue of Diabetes, researchers observed the effects of a Western diet when fed to very thin mice (a Western diet encompasses high-fat, high-sugar, highly-processed foods.) Over time these mice developed high levels of a bacterial toxin, known as LPS. This induced leaky gut – a condition in which the “ecosystem” of the gut leaks through a damaged area in the gut lining.

Toxins, like LPS, that escape from the gut cause damage throughout the entire body. Your gut is designed to fight off harsh toxins with strong stomach acids and “good” bacteria, but when damage occurs, the rest of your body is unprepared to handle the strength of these toxins. In the human body, similar toxins have been shown to adhere to immune cells, inducing factors of inflammation that slow your metabolism and lead to insulin resistance, fatty liver and obesity.

To confirm that these adverse conditions in the mice were a result of the toxin spreading throughout the body, researchers injected a group of thin mice, who consumed a healthy diet, with the LPS toxin. And, just as with the poor diet, the mice were afflicted with inflammation and obesity.

When you consume an unhealthy diet, toxins enter the body and over time cause damage. Days, weeks, months and years of eating toxic foods can cause the damage to become severe, destroying your intestinal lining and causing leaky gut, which leaves you susceptible to dangerous inflammation, unwanted fat-storage and disease, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and autoimmune disorders.

While a high-fat, high-processed diet is the most common culprit of leaky gut, there are a few basic foods that activate an allergic response. You may never know that you are allergic or sensitive to these particular food items without testing. Everyday foods, like wheat or dairy, can do some pretty serious damage to your health and contribute to weight gain.

Fortunately, much of the damage can be repaired and the testing is something you can do on your own. You can make changes to your diet to identify sensitivities, reduce inflammation and repair your body. It is a slow process that requires diligence and patience; however, it is often the solution to long-term healthy weight management.

  • Try the elimination diet. For three weeks, cut out all foods and food items that are known to be the most common food allergens: gluten, eggs, dairy, corn, yeast, peanuts and soy. Make sure to avoid processed foods, added sugars, artificial sweeteners and alcohol during this time as well. For a comprehensive guide on identifying and eliminating whole foods, read JJ Virgin’s new book, The Virgin Diet. JJ is one of the country’s leading experts on food sensitivities and weight loss and can help guide you to a lifelong healthy eating plan.
  • Eat whole-foods. Regardless of which foods stay and which foods must go, try to eat a balanced diet of high-fiber whole foods, including all-natural fruits, vegetables and organic meats. Continue to avoid processed foods, sugars and artificial sweeteners.
  • Protect your gut. Maintaining a healthy environment in your gut is essential to lifelong health and weight management. And, while your body does a pretty good job of keeping things in order – if you take care of it – extra assistance may be necessary. Supplementing probiotics can be valuable to warding off toxins and preventing leaky gut.  You can find supplement forms of probiotics that are easily added to water or consumed in a tiny supplement drink. Look for products that contain 10 billion CFUs of bifidobacteria species and lactobacillus species.

If you are struggling with managing a healthy weight or routinely feel gastrointestinal discomforts without explanation, you may be suffering from a food allergy or sensitivity. Try the elimination diet mentioned above – in just 21 days, it could change your life.