“The key to weight loss is avoiding and overcoming food intolerances.” JJ Virgin
Food intolerance symptoms can include any of the following.
Bloating, gas, moodiness, brain fog, indigestion, weight gain and fatigue. Food intolerances are also the cause of inflammation in the body that leads to many nasty side effects.
Now inflammation is essentially a good thing as it occurs during repair whether you suffer an ankle sprain or muscle damage from weight training. The problems occur when the inflammation becomes chronic and healing does not take place.
This is what is happening when your diet is full of inflammatory foods. Your body never gets a chance to recover and so you are in a constant state of inflammation.
The big 6
As with any diet it is important to strictly avoid the foods outlined. Check the tables below for some of the places these foods hide.
|All brans||Baked beans||Biscuits|
|Blue cheese||Bread, bread roll, wrap||Brown rice syrup|
|Bulgur wheat||Cakes, baked goods||Certain chocolates|
|Couscous||Gravy and stock powders||Luncheon meats|
|Malt vinegar||Malted drinks||Salad dressings|
|Meat and fish pastes||Muesli||Pancakes|
|Rye bread||Sauces||Rusk in sausages|
|Most beers||Breakfast cereals||Soups|
|Waffles||Yorkshire pudding||White pepper|
|Pasta, spaghetti||Rice pasta, spaghetti squash|
|Wheat flour, rye flour||Coconut flour, almond flour|
The gluten free industry has grown exponentially in recent years. Unfortunately the vast majority of these products are processed garbage filled with just as much nasty stuff as the gluten containing products.
|Miso||Asian foods||Energy bars/shakes|
|Prepared foods||Soy protein powder||Tempeh|
|Soy sauce||Teriyaki sauce||Textured vegetable protein|
|Cottage cheese||Cows, goats, sheep’s milk||Yogurt, cheeses|
|Cream||Ice cream||Macaroni and cheese|
|Many canned soups||Mashed potatoes||Hot chocolate|
|Baked goods||Bouillon||Breaded foods|
|Creamy fillings||Ice cream||French toast|
|Barley malt||Cane sugar||Brown sugar|
|Dextrose||Fructose||Fruit juice concentrate|
|High fructose corn syrup||Maltodextrin||Maltose|
|Sucrose||Rice syrup||Maple syrup|
|Breakfast cereals||Corn chips||Dextrose|
|popcorn||Hominy||Modified corn starch|
Inflammation leads to weight gain
- Digestive problems – when inflammation occurs in the gut the body struggles to absorb nutrients. This is why you may still feel hungry and unsatisfied after eating.
- Insulin resistance – insulin is the hormone responsible for moving sugars out of your bloodstream and into the cell around your body. These sugars are then used to provide your body with energy. Inflammation causes excess insulin production. This excess ends up being stored as fat. Over prolonged periods this excess can cause the body to stop producing insulin, which leads to diabetes.
- Chemical changes – inflammation causes your body to misfire chemical messages that you use to tolerate stress, burn fat and keep you satiated. It creates resistance to leptin, the hormone that regulates hunger and fullness. It also makes the body resistant to cortisol, the stress hormone. This leads to higher stress levels, and excessive fat storage around the abdominal area. Excess cortisol production also leads to lower serotonin levels (feel good brain chemical) reducing quality of sleep and overall energy.
- Fluid retention – inflammation helps the body hold onto excess fluids leading to feeling bloated.
- Loss of energy – All of the above lead you to feeling sluggish which makes you move less. This makes you more resistant to insulin and so the cycle continues.
Food intolerances can occur at any time during your life. So you may have handled gluten or dairy well in the past but now they could be causing you problems.
Food intolerances are much more subtle than food allergies. If you ingest something you’re allergic the impact is instant whereas food intolerances can take a few days to appear. For example if I eat sugar, a few days later I will get mouth ulcers. The more sugar I take in the more severe the breakout will be.
What’s okay to eat?
For a lot of you, eliminating the above foods will be a large percentage of your current diet. The following are all great anti-inflammatory sources.
Free range chicken, turkey, lamb, wild fish.
Non starchy vegetables – organic if possible.
Broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale, cabbage.
Coconut milk, oil
Extra virgin olive oil
How long should the diet be?
Three to four weeks are the general timelines for adults. Children are okay for 7-10 days.
“What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker
The key to any successful diet change is to track everything. It is hard to remember the bagel you ate two days ago unless you record it.
This is where you will find out what foods are causing you problems. Reintroduce one food every few days.
So an example would be to reintroduce eggs on a Monday then Tuesday and Wednesday revert back to the diet and record any changes. If nothing shows up continue the process with the remaining foods until something flares up.
Things to watch out for:
- Joint pain
- Brain fog
- Skin rashes/ acne.
- Bowel changes.
The most important thing is not to reintroduce everything at once, as you won’t know what if any are causing problems.
Preparation is the most important thing here. Make sure you are prepared with all the required food.
Clean out your kitchen with the foods not on the list.
Journal everything, what you ate, how you feel each day. Be as thorough as possible.