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Atkins Article: What Causes Food Intolerances?

Atkins Article: What Causes Food Intolerances?
Many food intolerances may be related to the weakening of the immune system. When this weakness becomes chronic, you may develop an allergy.

The relationship between food intolerances and allergies is that they challenge the immune system, which can, in turn, suppress the metabolism, slowing down weight loss. It is rare to find a person with a yeast overgrowth who doesn't also have some food intolerances, and the reverse is also true. The symptom list for food intolerance mimics the items found on both the Blood-Sugar Symptom Questionnaire and the yeast symptom survey, The Wide World of Yeast Symptoms. In general, if there are symptoms from those lists that won't go away in spite of diligently adhering to a controlled carbohydrate eating plan, you have good reason to look for food intolerances.

Food intolerances are implicated in scores of other health disorders1. One impressive medical study was done in 1983 by five physicians at the Hospital for Sick Children in London. The researchers took 88 children, all of whom had been having migraine headaches at least once a week for the previous six months, and put them on a rotation diet that strictly excluded many varieties of food for weeks at a time. To the doctors' admitted astonishment, 93 percent of the children became headache-free once their intolerances were discovered and the foods were taken out of their diet. One child had reacted to 24 foods and was symptom-free when all those foods were withdrawn. Cow's milk, eggs, wheat, chocolate and oranges were all foods to which more than 20 children responded negatively. Of equal importance was the fact that in a number of the children, the change of diet corrected such other disorders as abdominal pains, behavioral problems, epileptic seizures, asthma and eczema2.

Food intolerance, like most allergies, indicates that the body is being stressed3. Sometimes the problem can be a chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bowel, resulting in food being absorbed into the body through the intestinal wall before it is completely broken down, a situation often called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Your body does not recognize food in this imperfectly digested form and treats it as an intruder. Your symptoms will be the result of your body's aggressive response.

For advice on how to deal with this problem, see How to Deal With Food Intolerances.

Selected References Walker-Smith, J.A., Ford, P.K., Phillips, A.D., "The Spectrum of Gastrointestinal Allergies to Food," Annals of Allergy, 53(6 part. 2), 1984, pp 629-636. Egger, J., Carter, C. M., Wilson, J., et al., "Is Migraine Food Allergy? A Double-Blind Trial of Oligoantigenic Diet Treatment," Lancet, 1994, pages 719-721. Sampson, H.A., "Disease of the Gastrointestinal Tract of Children Caused by Immune Reactions to Foods," Monographs in Allergy, 32 (1996), pp 36-48.

Our thanks to the Atkins Center for this article. This article will give you some basic information about the Atkins Diet Approach for Weight Loss and Good Health, but is not a substitute for reading the books for the details of this plan (or the book for whatever low carb plan you choose to follow.)