Unraveling the confusion of terms
You’re pretty sure you’re reacting to something you’re eating but don’t know what or why or how.
This summary will help you to figure out what type of reaction you could be having to the foods you are eating. It should help to direct you to as the right questions or explain the right symptoms to a trained professional that is going to help you figure out which food (see my blog post about food sensitivities coming up next week).
There are 3 main types of reactions you can have to a food.
IgG is the type of antibody that is produced in response to a food that is consumed that creates a reaction. This is the food sensitivity type of immune system reaction.
An IgE response is an antibody that is created quickly in response to a food or environmental factor, and creates histamine related reactions or anaphylaxis. This is what we call a true allergy.
Finally, an intolerance is a term given to a reaction to a food that is not mediated by the immune system. Generally, this means that your body does not create enough of a certain enzyme to digest the food, and that leads to a digestive system reaction.
For example, this would be a lactose intolerance, we don’t make enough enzyme to digest the lactose sugar in milk, and then it can create gas, bloating, or diarrhea.
If you’re eating something like cheese and get gas, bloating, and/or constipation, this is probably a sensitivity. If you eat cheese and you get a headache, this is definitely a sensitivity!
It can get confusing though.
Sometime reactions happen immediately and they are easy to identify, but other times they can happen hours or even days after you’ve eaten the food, or you eat the food every day so the reaction is ongoing and low grade… this makes it incredibly hard to just determine by looking at your diet what caused it.
Sometimes other things confuse the symptoms.
If you’ve got an overgrowth of something like candida, or another bacterium, or you don’t have enough good bacteria in your gut, you can get symptoms that look very similar to other food reactions, and yet it is not a reaction to the food. You can also have symptoms from ongoing stress, or from medical conditions like hypothyroid, that also appear like a food reaction. All in all, if you’re not sure what is going on, it can be a lot of guess work, and a lot of frustration on your part. This is why if you suspect something is happening, getting a trained opinion is going to save you a lot of time and frustration and help you get to the bottom of things quickly.