Help Food Sensitive Shoppers

August 23, 2016

Shoppers need help to get their food choices in check!

An increasing amount of research has revealed that food sensitivities are more common and have a wider, more varied impact on our health than previously thought. Some experts estimate that about 40 percent of the general population has some sensitivity to certain foods. In general, food sensitivities are the result of a toxic response to food and are most commonly equated with food allergies, but also include food intolerances which, unlike allergies, do not involve the immune system - but are often more difficult to diagnose. Food sensitivities can develop over time, cause a number of symptoms, and can be to any foods.

Shoppers need help to get their food choices in check! Food sensitivities induce chronic activation of the immune system and gives rise to the inflammatory processes, which includes excess production of free radicals and other mediators of inflammation. This type of inflammation has been linked to countless chronic conditions, including digestive disorders, migraines, obesity, chronic fatigue, ADD, aching joints, skin disorders, arthritis and more. 

Here’s what you need to know: Symptoms of food sensitivity are not always immediate and can actually occur up to two days after consuming the offending food. The variety and the possible delayed reaction make diagnosing food sensitivities complex and confusing, as well as difficult to study. 

So what are some ways in which food sensitivities differ from classic food allergies? True food allergies refer to foods that trigger the immune system to acutely produce the chemical histamine; causing a range of complications from swelling of the throat, restricting breathing - to skin rashes, and other non-life-threatening reactions.

Food sensitivities are much more common than food allergies and thought to be one of the most misdiagnosed medical conditions. Many remain ill for months or years even after visiting a variety of doctors and specialists. When sensitivity is at play, a small amount may not provoke noticeable reaction but a large amount will. It is common to be sensitive to many foods at one time. The more symptoms you have, the more likely it is you have multiple food sensitivities. Adverse reactions to foods and food chemicals can play a role in many common illnesses including irritable bowel syndrome, eczema and hives, joint and muscle pain, arthritis, heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and weight imbalances.

If you have shoppers who suspect they have food sensitivities, direct them to speak with your store’s dietitian or their physician. Another way to see how foods are affecting health is to completely cut them out of the diet for at least three months. After the three month period, the foods are reintroduced to see if symptoms return.