What's all the hype about food sensitivity testing? Is it worthless? Useful? Who should do it? Who shouldn't do it? What's the difference between food sensitivities and food allergies? In this Q&A Christa answers all of these questions and more. She also ranks different food sensitivity tests like MRT, ALCAT, and even Pinnertest.
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welcome to the less stressed life. All about making this your time to feel frickin awesome about your life, health and happiness. This podcast of the Less Dress Life is hosted by Kristen Bigler. Christa is an integrative registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in reducing food related stress, inflammation and symptoms of food sensitivities. To learn more, visit less dress life dot com.
Okay, so today, on the less stressed life, we're changing things up around here a little bit instead of me having someone to interview, I am the interviewee, which is like a fun and daunting right. And so today, why we're doing this is because Jill, the girl behind the less stress life podcast she's the one who at its and uploads and gets things out to you guys. She had some questions about food sensitivities. I'll let her tell you why she wanted us to discuss this
topic. So I'm pretty active on lying on Instagram in Health Community, and I noticed most recently that there's a lot of misconceptions. People were confused about food sensitivities and elimination diets. Another lad conserves questions, and I think that you are the expert in I think you are a person to answer these questions.
Well, that's very nice of you. Well, and I think that there is a lot of confusing stuff, and I remember when I first started learning about this, I found it very confusing, even if someone had been working in the food space for a long time. Because there's a lot of nuances. So I'm excited toe to answer your questions and hopefully beyond today.
So I think we should start is with few definitions. Are the differences between
right so most people don't even know that there is a difference in these? A lot of people that well, I'm allergic to that, right? But what do we think about with an allergy? Right? We think about kind of an immediate response, like getting hives or your throat closing or you know something that's even less right. Just some swelling that happens. And sometimes there's. There's actually other sensitivities that cause similar reactions, but usually it's pretty immediate with a food allergy, right, and we have ways to test food allergies, and to get a little bit more technical is actually called an I G reaction. We could talk about what that means later But you know, there's like a common top eight allergens, right? Nuts and fish, and we in so and all the top eight. So that's food allergies, and there's different ways to test for those right, But often people just kind of lump it under that umbrella. But there's really huge differences between the other two and what they dio so food. Intolerance is, for example, like when someone gets loose stool from drinking milk because they have a lack toast, intolerance. What does that mean? So that just means that they don't have their missing something so they don't have, like that ends. I'm lack taste to break down that sugar that's in milk or yogurt or ice cream, which is called lactose. So it's basically a deficiency on something right, and lastly, there's sensitivities, and this one is the most hotly debated and can be recognised differently by different practitioners. So not everyone agrees about sensitivities, and I get it because there's different ways to look at it. And so if you know that that it helps you understand why it's so polarizing. So food sensitivities are more of like a chronic low grade sign of inflammation in fact, you can get reactions upto 72 hours after eating something, or it could be pretty immediate, and it connects to be hard to pinpoint, too. So it could be like migraines, bloating, digestive symptoms. But yeah, it's more like long term and chronic.
So knowing that boots actual differences between the food and challenge algae, how do you treat them differently? That's a good
question. So, basically was like an intolerance. There's many thoughts there because, you know, some people also have, like, a bile problem. Or maybe they don't they can break down fats. I think so. You can kind of replace, um, you know, that could be kind of Ah, that's a funny and tolerance is a kind of a funny term, but basically you try to replace the missing piece. If it's a true intolerance, right, you can give a lack taste on time. There's other enzymes you can give for. Different intolerance is really, but with allergies, it's often avoidance now where I get a little bit more great with this, as I've seen people in general, when they've improved their immune system status overall, they have amore there, more ableto handle, maybe like seasonal allergies and things like that. So mostly that's kind of black and white. We really think avoidance for the most part. But in general, you know, we don't want things to be so anaphylactic. I mean, we see really allergist progress and progress and progress on. And what does that tell us is maybe it's just a further degradation of immune system now. Sensitivities Air really related immune system as well. Intolerances air almost like more digests. They're almost like how your body's digesting it, whereas these other two are really like inflammation related to the immune system. So with a sensitivity, you have to heal the problem right? And so that's really where it gets polarized because with allergies you avoid, you avoid the food. And a lot of times practitioners even they'll suggest that people treat sensitivities the exact same as allergies. And that's wrong because that doesn't really necessary. Fix the problem, right? So we you wantto part of the process is to lay off the spring ankle so at least some kind of short term avoidance, right? But that doesn't mean you're always sensitive to it, really. What's the root cause of? And it's usually something with with your digestive system with the gut, something going on there and we could talk, I guess a little bit more science. But I don't want to get too deep. But basically so intolerance. Replace the missing piece allergy, often avoidance and with sensitivity, really heal the problem. Don't treat it like an allergy forever.
So I'm curious what's actually going on in the body.
Yeah, what does go on inside the food sensitivity When there's going when there's something going on in there? Well, there's different types of reactions that could happen, right? So there's these different antibodies that are in the immune system. I g e I have mentioned already. That is the one that we measure and we look out for allergies. But there's other types of antibodies, and basically mechanisms are mediators and things that can be secreted when you eat a certain food. S o. I have really like analogies. I think that's really helps you way more on it. Probably forgive me if I sound like a broken record. If you've ever heard this me talk about this before, but basically I like to say that your gut should be a bit more like nylons instead of fishnet tights. Right, So we're supposed to able to digest things adequately. Where says To use our enzymes break things down, you're supposed to have It should be semi permeable. So nutrients should be able to cross that barrier and go to their different posts throughout the body and go do their work. Right? So, like vitamin A should go over here and vitamin D should over here and whatever, Right? Vitamin E was a poor example, because that has a lot of steps first. But my point is is that your food breaks down and it goes and does its thing, right? So it should You should be able to move nutrients, just like if you would put a bunch of food in nylons, the food wouldn't come across the barrier. It would be like water, Right. So I'll be the nutrients. But if you have fishnet tights or some holes in your nylons, then you have bigger pieces getting out right. That's very similar to what happens in your gut. You have thes tight gap junctions, they can get pulled apart, and basically what you've got going on is instead of the food getting digested appropriately. It's before it's digested. Feli. It's like getting across the barrier. So when it gets across the burying, it lands in places it shouldn't land. Your body's like, Wait a second. You don't belong in here. Let me do something about that. So you've got, you know, your guards that are standing there and they've got different guns. And I would say that the guns have different labels. Right? So one labels I g one is I G one is I g m. You know, you've got different types of sight all kinds, right? Interleukin and all these different inflammatory mediators. There's, like 100 different ones. Okay, so I hope this starts toe. I hope this analogy is helping a little bit, but basically the guard is firing off at what it doesn't think belongs there. Okay, So for some reason, we've got What was that? No, I was just gonna say so. We've got the guards shooting off. It's something. This is where I kind of summarized everything. Sorry. So the guard is shooting off of things. We've got a gun labeled i g. We got one labeled I gm. Whatever. We got other ones So basically, you know, there's different types of who sensitivity tests. Some look at I do G. Some look a like all mediators, and so I prefer to use one that looks like the extent of bullets that were shot right. I would prefer to know how many bullets were shot that food, like, What's the extent of the inflammation If I know, like how bad it waas versus you know, what kind of gun is he carrying around? Basically, that's kind of my example. You know, things get out of place. I also use, like if your door is wide open, right, like that's an opening in a tight Gap Junction. Like if it's shut, you should be able to get like air and things underneath, right, just like a semi permeable membrane in the gut. But if it's wide open, then like the neighbor's dogs coming through and then it starts causing havoc, and then you've got low grade inflation. So that's what happens.
That was a perfect analogy. I don't think I've ever heard you explain that.
Well, gosh, it really, honestly, when I was studying immunology, it was, It's hot, it's challenging. Wrap your mind around and I think I think when people are lost, when things don't make sense, you just shut down, right? And so and I I love analogies so much, and it also helps me wrap my brain around it. And so, for immunologist and in the room, which may be, there are none. They might cringe a little because I might have not given full justification to each little piece. But honestly, if people can understand it, that's what matters in my opinion. Because if you can understand why you should do one thing instead of a different thing, and then you're gonna get better results, right? Goes first are rational. Adult brain has to like, believe that that would make sense, right? And so you need to understand it.
What? The most common symptoms. But how would somebody no back?
Yeah, So that's an interesting question. Usually, you know, e, I talk about this all the time. Usually things have to build up and get pretty bad before we realize that they are pretty bad. And a lot of times these symptoms seem to be unrelated to the naked eye, right? So it's like, Oh, I'm just getting older. Oh, I just ran to harder or I just get enough asleep. But really, inflammation is the root cause of everything. So early signs of inflammation include, like gas and Sinus congestion. S O. I mean, Aiken. Now I know that like I eat something that's wrong is I go. There's a side of inflammation immediately, right? And the goal is not to just keep building that up and thinking that that's normal, but also like unexplained aches and pains, right, like you didn't fall off of a step. So why do you have these aches and pains and exhaustion for no apparent reason? Like when I'm on my game and I'm doing really well like I should have insane amounts of energy, right? Because I'm like taking away all that inflammation, and everyone responds completely differently because it's not just this. Sometimes it's wrong with people, right? But anyway, my point is, it seems to be unrelated, right? Like headaches or drying paint or muscle pain or digestive symptoms. A lot of people will think foodstuff is always digestive symptoms, and so that's why it's fun to work of digestive symptoms, right, because they resolve a little bit quicker. Whatever and people already agree. But it's a lot of other things, too, because inflammation is is like a root cause. But it's a lot of things that seem unrelated. Aches, pains, exhaustion, Sinuses, gas. But those were some of the most common ones. I see.
What do you find that the most common thing that they do incorrectly, Like the next step, they find out people.
Yeah. So basically, you take out your questions. Like, what are you gonna do with that information? Right. So, like, everyone thinks that they got test is going to solve their problem. But what you gonna do with it? Because tests are just tools, right? So it really boils down to, like, how are you gonna implement it? Right? And so, you know, first, how did you find out? Did you work with someone to find out? Because, ah, lot of times a lot of people be like, oh, treated like an allergy, which I have a problem with, because that just leaves. So, like, this long term avoidance, it's like this bad circle. And then I redo this, I Unfortunately, I wish I didn't have to say this, but I do help a lot of people that have already done you test in the past and, like, didn't really get any difference because I didn't really do anything with it right, Or they just avoided, like, something's well, that makes sense. Eso implementation really is like the the key theme here. Right? So one my questions like was that What kind of test was it? How did you implement? Did you just treat it like an allergy? Because let me just explain something. So there's, like, 70,000 foods and, like, food ingredients when you walk into a goat, the average grocery store. Okay, So, like, if you have a test like 100 things on and you're gonna void, like, five, that air super reactive, it's like, Well, maybe that'll help, like, but what about the other, like, 65,995 Right. Um, so there's a lot of strategy to this, a lot of like looking between the lines, But my point is, if you're not gonna implement things, please don't spend the money on a test because it's just a tool. It's interesting and so fun to learn about ourselves. But if you don't want to do with it on. And no one wants to really hear that, right? Because you want to Just like you want an answer to be kind of simplistic. Sweet. I'm gonna take this blood test and I will not have any problems, though, right? Go be awesome. I would love that for you as well, but there's a lot of nuances to it because it's not. And I think that's why it can be polarizing. Cause allergies in a way, or black and white to medicine, right? It's like, Oh, well, you're allergic to eggs. Do not eat them right. Whereas this is like, Well, maybe this will be a long term thing. Or maybe you can strengthen your immune system, get better. These symptoms will resolve a lot of other things. So I guess there's like, What's the first thing you should do is question your implementation strategy, right? Please don't treat it like an allergy. Please find someone that can help you not treat it like an allergy right on DNO that, like sometimes all your answers, aren't really on that one piece of paper either. Sometimes your symptoms indicate you should also be layering it with another approach initially, so longwinded answer. Well, it can be, You know, it's actually very normal. I get really disgruntled if people aren't 30 to 50% better and two weeks, actually, because if you kind of make a massive shift, so that's the fun thing. If you, like, have a proper strategy, then you can kind of make a massive shift in symptoms. Technically, so I get a little annoyed when it's not that grand. And most of the time it ISS s Oh yeah, you. Actually, there is some trial and error. It's really like That's the refining step. I don't like when the trial and happened to the beginning. But guess what? Like there's definitely things. Sometimes it's not only food, that's the problem. Sometimes it's other things as well. Just of why. I mean, there's other stressors out there in the environment and other things as well, but yeah,
so I'm pretty sure that it's well that Pappas factories are inflammatory. But why is that even reacted?
Yeah, I think that's a beautiful question, because that's where we do get a little bit of a magic when testing a little bit, and this totally happens. All the time like healthy foods you react to. And honestly, it could happen for two reasons. I find one of first people first questions I ask when I look at someone's results are Do you hate this food or did you eat this food all the time? The most reactive ones and I usually get like a split right down the middle. It's a little bit of both. But, for example, with my husband, I will just give ah, downhome example. You know, when I got his results, I just knew that his were so indicative of a permeability problems. Remember when I was just talking about like when the door's wide open and the dog comes in? So if the dogs and it's like, I do not like that kind of dog like, you know, I mean the dog that comes in the most I do not like that dog. So let's say you're eating this anti inflammatory diet, but you've got a lot of open doors. You got a lot of open doors. You got this, these few different dogs that keep coming in Now you do not like those dogs suddenly right so you can get you can develop a food sensitivity from the foods you eat most often based on the extent of permeability that you have. Does that make sense? Right? So when I looked at my husband's results, I was like, Oh, this is just a permeability went like and you know, So I did a follow up test to look at how bad it was because I used a different stool test to look at other things and one of the measures, like he had the worst marker of it that I'd ever seen. So I'm sure it happened before I met him. Just so we're clear. But anyway, eh? So it's kind of a mix in my point in telling you. This is if someone was eating that all the time. And they really are suffering from disposed of some permeability, which, quite frankly, is very, very, very very. You're you're more likely to be dealing with something like that, then, not honestly. Um, then my hope is that you'll you'll resume tolerance later. Like after you work through the steps of healing and moving things strategically and appropriately. Hopefully, you'll resume tolerance that, or at least even if it's not like your best friend. It's not gonna knock you out anymore, right? Like I probably get a lot of things that are my best friend. But they certainly don't knock me out. You know, it's really just body awareness. Yeah, so a lot of people, they So it's nice of you can have, like, a shortcut, right? And but I find specifically, like a five minute work with someone I prefer if they've already tried to do something before and had a little bit of success. But there's still some issues, right? Because some people are gonna have a grand success. If they do like a generic clean eating a project paleo or like a whole 30 or something like that, that's cool. But maybe there's still some issues, right? Like maybe those Hashimoto's antibodies didn't really go down. When they do that, why, right and, um, or anyone that has a diagnosis? Because by the time you get a diagnosis, you've had a building inflammation for a long time. Like a diagnosis is quite serious, but quite frankly, that probably started 10 years ago. That diagnosis did like I love when people come to me and they're like, Oh, I had a really stressful master's program. And then everything just started going down. I love when they, like, identify this period in their life where they're like, Oh, you know, my father mother died at this time and and after that, just things weren't the same. It's like, by the way, if you're listening to this podcast, you may be a figure. This out right now about stress does impact your house quite a bit like physiologically. So it, in fact, it decreases this mucus barrier that's protective. And so it really allows that opening of the door thing to happen a little bit easier, actually. So you know, I think it's best if you have, like, I mean, anyone could do it. But my real thing is, are you willing to do it right? Because sometimes getting better is work. And so I find that unfortunately, like me included, were not really willing to do much work until we've been until we've had a significant thing happened. So honestly, like anyone combat if it but it just matters like it's not gonna matter if you don't implement it, right. So if you're not, really, if you don't really feel committed then? No. Then you shouldn't do it, Bill. Evil that you do it feel that are those that feel committed. That's the real answer. That's a real answer, But it's nice of you already tried something. You're like, Oh, that was useful. But there's still something else like That's really great. Yeah, yeah, because there's this whole thing is like a journey. It's not like a linear line. It's like, Oh, next week, everything is better. It's like, No, we continue to learn things about ourselves, right? Yes, I'm glad we talked about the guards and the guns and all that, because it'll lend us to this conversation. So there's a very common there's most commonly out there, like different types of I g test. That's very, very common. Um, there's also end point us, so there may be even more than this that I'm missing, but I would say they usually fall under these couple categories, So there's I G tests, and many of them are private labelled, As you know, different companies like this company. This lab company has their ideas. You test and this company. So, for example, if you're scrolling through like instagram, our Facebook, you probably see an ad for this one called Pinter Test. I think that's like a very expensive I G test. So it's somebody that's private, labeled some kind of I g test, and they probably like, have raised the price on and then they send it off to a lab. I don't really know exactly how it works, but I know a little bit about it. I know it's an IgG test. I've heard how much it is. And I think that's an expensive IgG test. Quite frankly, um, so enable and my g there shouldn't really be any chemical chemicals that are tested there, I believe, Um, and then there's a couple other ones and point test. So there's, like one mediator, right or one mechanism. Sorry. Or there's like, endpoint test that measure all the mediators or all the bullets. Right? So the mechanism is the gun. I g. The mediators are like the bullets, right? So there's en pointe ones. Um, there is one doctor that invented two of them. He first amended Alka and then left Alka and then developed. Eh, Marty, Like left. The first company and they both are very much thriving companies. Um I believe that the America is just a little bit more refined. There's a lot of dietitians that do that one. So I use that in my practice, along with other tools, right? So I don't find that's like the hard and fast only thing. I love using it, though, because it gives fabulous results if implemented appropriately layered crop properly, et cetera. But basically it's like an end point us. It looks at the bullets shot. I think. Don't quote me. I think Al Cat doesn't have a very gray area on the lower inflammatory side. I want to say it's like either your name, like it's like black and white like it's either inflammatory it's not, whereas I like when you can read between the lines on tests because I don't want someone else to tell me if it's yes or no, I want to know if you'd see even mildly flagging, basically, exactly, and I find out with a lot of other tests as well or test that I think are failures are the ones that don't allow you to read between the lines cause. Turns out, humans can interpret things better than computers sometimes, so it's nice to be able to interpret things.
So what makes a Marty have success, You see, with your clients?
Yeah. I mean, I honest, I've never used i g. I always started with Marty as comparative like, so I can't compare it to those other food sensitivity tests. I just You know, I work with people that I've already done, though sometimes and then and those other ones can be useful. They can be. But this one's a little bit more of a comprehensive approach, you know? How is it? I guess. How is it different? I mean, I love starting. I know that I I know that one of four things is causing my clients toe have problems, right? So, like an environmental thing. An infection. Ah, food sensitivity situation. So I use it as a primary tool. So it's very common. I think I mentioned it's really like I expect at least 50 to 75% improvement. I mean, honestly, I would not be satisfied with 50% improvement at the end of working with someone like that. Should be pretty initial within that first month. And to get those kind of result, I would dare you to ask your doctor. I mean, that's that's so fun, right? It gets really addicting, I guess. And it's so addicting. That's why I don't quit doing it, because I could certainly do generic things. We could definitely get improvement sometimes, but I don't know. And now, at this point, I have, like, predictability, right? Like I can predict how well how well someone should do. And if they don't, then we have to work on some of those other pieces, right? So I don't know the answers, your question. I hope it does.
So I mean, honestly, you've answered all my questions pretty well. I work with you. I have a much better understanding of truth. Answer questions you have.
Well, let me give you another pearl if I can s o like with with the test I use, we look at also some different food chemicals. And so sometimes based on someone symptoms you actually need to look beyond those as well. Or, like layer some different approaches, which I mentioned. But like one, for example, is like tire mean, entire mean as like a food coming like a naturally occurring food chemical that builds up when food becomes older age like it's been in the fridge for a few days. And that's
common culprit of headaches. And it isn't present for 72 hours later. So you didn't know that? Do you know how hard it would be to figure that out? Like would not be very easy, right? It's like, actually, those are the most frustrating situations. I just like it when everything all symptoms go down, you know, And that and headaches significantly decreases. Well, but that was kind of frustrating, right? And so, yeah, like, tests are quite valuable if using them appropriately, right, Because you can't really guess that. Um, yeah, and I just kinda wanna mention that because I want to say that most other ones don't don't have those those food chemicals. Yeah, there's right. There's a lot of nuances, right? If you have anyone consider food is a problem, then this is probably not the first place to start. It's probably just experimenting with playing around because if you experiment when you play around, then you're a little bit better. That means you're gonna respond Well, the food you know, if you experiment, you've never had a change you might not respond well to a food intervention. Well, that, but also like physiologically it might not be a problem. I mean, I want to say that food, I'm a little biased. I do think that food can helping improve anything, right? Like we were talking beforehand about weird things that happen when people address inflammation. And since it's so we're really addressing inflammation, right? Like this be serious. It's not just sensitivities, it's inflammation. So what are things that happen? Right, So, like, digestive stuff improves. I had someone had a weird I used to say, Yeah, I don't really wanna I wanna make sure that you know what the benefits are gonna be. So want to make sure I take someone's got the classical symptoms I'm looking for. But someone came once, and she really wanted to work through. And she was a good candidate. So we did it. She had this weird, like, leg twinge thing every night. It was really bothering bothering her, keeping her up, and I will totally resolved. Like what a weird thing. Right? Um but yeah, there's several other ones too. I was just gonna look for him. We'll have to Well, maybe add on to the end of this or put him in the show notes or something. Yeah, Here's one, like black pepper triggered insomnia. And one person that is flipping weird is not the weirdest thing ever. Um, someone else was getting They get cranky after eating pork like cash. Asshole. Ah, hard. Right. Um, just really random things. I mean, that that's kind of unique, I would say,
Yeah, those experiences you even
Yeah, I am. I guess my point is, is one of the criticisms of doing this type of testing is that you can do it one day and we'll be a little different the next day. That's possible, especially depending how, like much your doors were open. But for the most part, if you're catching most of it and you're using a proper strategy, then it'll be fine, like you're still gonna get great results, right? And so that's kind of that's kind of the thing on DNA research is sort of fleeting in general food sensitivities, and it's because it's kind of hard to pinpoint or put black and white stuff on it. It really boils down to implementation. How will it gets interpreted. You know, it's just like we said. It's not black and white like like allergies. I'm glad we got to talk about this because you're right. It really is. Ah, it really is a topic that's misunderstood for sure.
So where people? How do you start with?
Um well, one. I want to mention that if people do have questions I would love if they would email them to us, we'll have the email in the show notes. I think it's hello at less stressed life dot com. I think so. I should probably know that kind of stuff. So I'd love to hear if we'll make sure we get the right one in S. Oh, I'd love to hear if people do have, like, follow up questions is and we could do a part to Our people are just generally interested in different types of tests that are out there. I mean, I've obviously survey of them all and done. Some had a lot of positive and negative experiences of the different test. I'm happy to talk more about that, just so you know. So I'd love to get your feedback. You can leave it in the reviews as well. That would be a great place. Um, but if you want Thio, find out if this is right for you, then the best place to the star is you can either go to the podcast website and click over to the home on just learn, like, kind of about the process. And if it feels like a good fit, then everyone always wants to know. Will this help me? Well, the only real way to answer that question is to talk about it, right? So I was taught people start with a call. So that's really where everyone starts, is with a call. So and I'm happy to review, like people, symptoms and signs and history and kind of give them a an idea of whether this would be useful or not. And if it's not, then point them in the right direction of something that would be useful for them. It's perfect. I love it. Well, thanks so much for interviewing me July. I hope that it was useful to everyone else that was listening to our conversation as well. And I got to talk about something that I'm a little bit passionate about it.
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