Food allergies can cause a range of symptoms, from hives and rash to swelling and anaphylaxis. While some allergies are mild, others can be life-threatening. Interestingly, food allergies can also be linked to weight gain. If you have experienced a sudden increase in weight in addition to symptoms of a food allergy, it is possible that the two are connected. Speak with your doctor to determine if your symptoms are caused by an allergy or food sensitivity, and to develop an allergy management plan that works for you.
Food Allergy vs. Food Sensitivity
Food allergies and food sensitivities are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings. A food allergy is a serious medical condition in which the body’s immune system reacts abnormally to a specific food, whereas a food sensitivity is a much milder form of reaction to certain foods. It’s important to understand the differences between the two so that you can take the necessary precautions to ensure your health and safety.
If you have felt discomfort, bloating, or fatigue after eating a certain food, you may be suffering from a food sensitivity. Food sensitivities occur when the body is unable to break down certain compounds, particularly proteins found in items like milk, eggs, wheat, or soy. Once these foods are ingested, these uncomfortable symptoms appear.
On the other hand, a food allergy is an abnormal immune system response to a particular food. When something to which you are allergic is eaten, your immune system responds negatively to the allergen. As it is the job of the immune system to protect the body, it will attempt to battle the allergen by releasing biochemicals that cause the allergic reaction you experience. These reactions vary but may include hives, rash, swelling, or anaphylactic shock.
Food allergies tend to present symptoms later than food allergies. For example, if you eat or drink something to which you are sensitive, you may not notice any symptoms for 24-72 hours. If you have a food allergy, the reaction may be instantaneous.
How Do Food Allergies Relate to Weight Gain?
Food allergies and sensitivities can cause a domino effect with respect to weight gain. Though the allergy or sensitivity itself does not directly cause your body to put on weight, the reactions you experience could lead to you gaining weight indirectly. If you are sensitive to food and feel extraordinarily tired, it could drastically reduce your activity level and enthusiasm, resulting in an increase on the scale.
Allergy sufferers may experience weight gain due to inflammation, which is an immune system response to food allergies. Chronic inflammation is caused by various diseases and conditions, such as insulin resistance. Insulin regulates the body’s ability to process food, and when it becomes resistant, the body cannot metabolize food correctly, resulting in extra weight, especially around the abdomen.
It is essential to maintain a healthy diet to prevent disease. Leaving food sensitivities and allergies untreated can also cause weight gain, as well as reduce one’s capacity for physical activity.
Manage Allergies and Weight Gain Symptoms
If you suspect you have a food allergy, it is important to visit your primary care provider. Your doctor can suggest treatments and testing to determine the cause of your symptoms. If they are not severe, they may suggest you keep a record of the foods you eat and note any that cause a reaction. You might try an elimination diet if the cause of your reaction is easily identified.
This involves completely avoiding the trigger food from your diet, which could help with successful weight loss, but can be hard if the food you are allergic to is something you enjoy. To help with this, focus on all the nourishing foods you can eat instead of the few you can’t. If these initial treatments do not work, your doctor will refer you to a specialist for more testing. An allergist can use blood tests or skin testing to determine specific allergies.
At Track Your Max in Webster, Texas, you have the opportunity to have a variety of tests conducted, such as allergy panels for food allergies and sensitivities, indoor allergies, and outdoor allergies. With this information, you can identify which substances cause your body to react, and then take steps to avoid them.
Remember, we can diagnose your symptoms more accurately if you keep a health diary and record your daily fitness and eating habits. With Track Your Max, you don’t just have to live with allergy symptoms. We will work with you to find a viable solution.