Symptoms of Food Sensitivities span a wide array of difficulties. Reactions to food can be physical, emotional, mental or behavioral. Some are downright weird.
What Are the Symptoms of Food Sensitivities?
If you are sensitive, intolerant—or especially, allergic—to a food, you may be aware of certain negative food reactions you experience. But did you know you could have a problem and not even know it? That’s because a variety of seemingly unrelated medical problems can actually be signs of a reaction to food.
Did you know that hyperactivity, ear infections, muscle pain or weakness, joint tightness, asthma, headaches, recurrent infections, and more, can be symptoms of food-related problems?
Allergies are generally more grave than sensitivities or intolerances. Some immediate—and more serious—signs and symptoms of a food allergy might include:
- Anaphylactic shock
- Itching of eyes or face
- Varying degrees of swelling of the mouth, throat, & tongue that can make breathing & swallowing difficult
- Abdominal pain
- Mental confusion or dizziness
Unusual Signs of Food Reactions
What if you simply have to clear your throat frequently? Or you feel bloated after eating? Are these food reactions? They can be. In fact, you may experience many symptoms that you do not recognize as food allergies or sensitivities.
I found that milk causes me to get depressed. Who knew? I certainly didn’t realize it. Although I’m intolerant of milk, I usually can tolerate it when it is cooked or baked into a food. But on the day I had the reaction, I went overboard on milk.
I was hungry for Creamed Chipped Beef, a childhood comfort food. Don made it for us for breakfast and by lunchtime, my mood had drastically changed. I suffered all day and finally realized it was the milk causing the problem. I haven’t had milk again and my mood is back to being happy most of the time.
Weird and Not-So-Weird Reactions To Food
Food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances can cause myriad reactions, including physical, mental, emotional and behavioral symptoms. When my daughter was little, I realized that red dye and/or preservatives in foods caused her to be hyperactive and somewhat angry. When I cut them out of our diet, she went back to being her calm and happy self. All the more reason to make foods from scratch, right?
These are some of the symptoms that Dr. Doris Rapp, a food allergy and environmental allergy expert, noted in her book, Is This Your Child? Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adults:
- Skin problems, like eczema, acne, odd bumps, itchy skin, or ticklishness
- Sinus and hay fever problems, asthma, and other respiratory issues
- Bags, wrinkles, or circles under the eyes (may be dark)
- Red ears and/or bright red cheeks, which are not related to being hot or sunburned
- Constant runny noses (and wiping it upward in kind of a “salute”), sometimes causing a semi-permanent or permanent wrinkle across the bridge of the nose
- Chronic ear or throat infections
- Unproductive coughing, sneezing, or clearing the throat
- Muscle aches
- Foggy brain or trouble remembering or thinking
- Excessive perspiration
- Stinky feet
- Having an abnormally pale face
- Having a spaced-out, expressionless face
- Heart irregularities
- Bad breath
- Excessive saliva
- Coated or patchy tongue (one that is partially coated and looks like a map)
- Weight gain or an inability to lose weight
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Restless legs
- Excessive or urgent need to urinate, or bedwetting
- Acute sensitivity to normal sounds
- Emotional or behavioral changes, such as anxiety, hyperactivity, irritability, or depression
I personally experienced the weight gain and inability to lose weight, even though I tried many different diets. In my opinion, it ain’t just the diet that made me hang onto the pounds. Since I kept giving my body foods that it could not use because it was allergic or sensitive to them, my body thought it was starving. And a starving body is going to hold onto every pound it can, right?
It Ain’t Just the Diet: Learn More
I’m here to tell you it ain’t just the diet that is making you hold onto all those extra pounds. At least, it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t keep weight off for love nor money. It took me a long time to figure out which foods were causing my problems. By keeping a food journal and writing absolutely everything down, I eventually realized the connection to various symptoms.
When I eliminated the foods that caused me problems, I lost more than 40 pounds without actually dieting. The weight just slipped off and stayed off.
I tell you my story, explain exactly how to test yourself for food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances, and give you the tools to do it in my new book, It Ain’t Just the Diet™ Food Journal | A Daily Guide to Finding & Managing Your Food Allergies, soon to be published.
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This post was originally posted on Recipe Idea Shop on January 15, 2021.
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Disclaimer: The author is not a health professional or nutritionist. She is offering her research and personal reflections about her health journey and is not providing any type of medical or nutritional advice. This post is for informational purposes only. It is offered as a tool for people to discover their own suspected food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities. Readers are highly encouraged to read, write, and reflect on the ideas presented. Consult your healthcare professional before initiating any dietary or exercise program.