If you struggle to lose weight, or you've found that you gain an abnormal amount of weight after eating certain foods, then you may be having trouble because of food allergies. Weight gain causes are fairly complicated, but many people don't consider food allergies as at least a partial reason for weight gain. Here is more information about how food allergies can contribute to weight gain and what you and your doctor can do about it.
What Is the Difference Between an Intolerance and an Allergy?
Many people have a food intolerance rather than an allergy. While intolerance can also cause bloating and temporary weight gain, it does not usually cause the systemic inflammation that allergies cause. Allergies cause an unusual immune system response, and food allergens often have this response all over the body. A food intolerance is mostly limited to the digestive system.
Additional signs that you have a food allergy instead of an intolerance is if you have the following issues after eating certain foods:
- Rhinitis (runny nose)
- Itchy or swollen mouth or lips
Anaphylaxis is life-threatening as it causes your airways to close and a sudden drop in blood pressure, so food allergies are usually much more serious than intolerances.
How Can Food Allergies Contribute to Weight Gain?
Allergens frequently cause an immune reaction such as a high cortisol release that contributes to inflammation and also excessive water retention. The cortisol release may also trigger an insulin response that contributes to fat storage. Also, since you are likely not getting enough nutrition when you eat these foods, you may experience further inflammation and even cravings that could cause you to eat more. In addition, food allergies can cause you to feel sick and not up to doing exercise.
What Can Be Done About Food Allergies and Weight Gain?
First of all, if you suspect that you have food allergies, then see a doctor right away. In some cases, food allergies can be detected by a blood or skin prick test. You may also be asked to keep a food diary and go on an elimination diet. Once an allergen is detected, then the best thing you can do is to completely avoid that food. You may also need to see a nutritionist to get advice on how to replace the lost nutrients.
The connection between weight gain and food allergies is still being studied and shouldn't be used as an excuse to not watch your weight or exercise. However, if you find that you are having allergic symptoms after you eat, along with extreme shifts in weight, then you should see an allergist for an examination and testing. Companies like Mid America Ear, Nose, & Throat Clinic PC offer allergy testing.