Figuring Out Food Allergies

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Food and Nutrition
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

There I was in a very unusual spot to be watching morning television: the dental chair. But fight food allergiesdrifting back with my mouth literally too full to speak, I heard the sound of another familiar voice chatting away with Kelly Ripa about food allergies—Suzanne Somers.

She is apparently on yet another book tour. I don’t know how she does it—all that she accomplishes as an author, businesswoman, lecturer, and promoter of things she is passionate about! But the idea of connecting food allergies with weight loss was intriguing.

It makes sense that food allergies could also impede your ability to lose weight. We’ve all become so much more aware of our body’s reactions to food of late, and that’s a good thing.

There used to be a time that you had to present with serious symptoms—rashes, sneezing and breathing difficulties, and so on—for anyone to consider that you might be allergic to something you’ve ingested. Now we know that some super sensitive kids can’t even TOUCH a peanut without having a reaction if they are allergic. As a result, bringing food to school to celebrate your child’s birthday requires careful planning, and most schools request that parents not send peanuts to school at all, in case the kids share food.

I am actually supportive of this caution. As many as three million kids under 18 have food allergies in this country, and the consequences of exposure to an allergen can be severe—even deadly!

There is so much at stake if you have ever seen anyone in full anaphylactic shock. But many food allergies are more subtle. Symptoms like puffy eyes, feeling sluggish or lack of mental clarity are so innocuous that it’s easy to rack them up to “having a bad day.”

In my family, we’ve learned that several of us have food allergies, including a couple of our grandchildren whose behavior can be markedly different if they get gluten, nitrates, food coloring, and other additives that are nowhere near as natural as a peanut.  In fact, it took the suggestion of my son, Drew (a naturopathic physician), to help me realize that my psoriasis flare-ups could be reined in if I avoided gluten.

I didn’t realize how well Suzanne researched her books until she requested an interview with me for her book Knockout about alternative cancer treatment. After meeting her and many of the other contributing physicians and scientists, and hearing her lecture at various conferences, I’ve come to appreciate the thoroughness of her research and the depth of her passion for vibrant health.


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