What is a food sensitivity? This is a broad term for symptoms that can be caused by food allergies or food intolerances. They are most commonly associated with food allergies, because food allergy symptoms are easier to identify (i.e. hives, shortness of breath and anaphalxsis). A food allergy is an immune response (a reason why the symptoms are more obvious) while food sensitivities to food intolerance are less obvious because a food intolerance is typically an issue with digesting or breaking down certain foods. You can read more about the difference between food allergies and food intolerances here.

While moodiness, dark circles and gas might be rather normal symptoms, research indicates that these might not be so normal. There has been more evidence revealing that food sensitivities are having a greater impact on our health than previously thought. Plus, it turns out that our body’s toxic response to food is more often caused by a food intolerance than a food allergy. Interesting, huh? JJ Virgin, New York Times bestselling celebrity nutritionist and author of the new book The Supercharged Virgin Diet. “You’re commonly sensitive to the things you eat all the time,” she says. “And thanks to things like stress, GMOs, gluten, and medications, our small intestines are loosening up faster than ever.” Preservatives like benzoates found in thousands of processed food, have also been known to cause food sensitivities in addition to various food dyes and food coloring.

Here are some signs you should look for:

1) Fatigue- Food is fuel, but not always. If you have a sensitivity to a certain food, eating it can actually cause you to lose energy, most likely because your body is not digesting the food properly and it is working harder to eliminate it.

2) Dark Circles- Your skin is your largest organ, so when something is not right in your body, it often manifests itself through your skin. Dark circles under the eyes is a common symptom I see in our clients. Diet can most often improve our skin and when I have eliminated certain foods in my clients’ diets, their symptoms clear right up.

3) Joint Pain- You might be surprised to find out that joint pain is the most common symptom of a food sensitivity. Foods like dairy, soy and gluten trigger inflammation around the joints causing an aching pain that you might mistake simply as part of aging. “Once you eliminate the culprit, this symptom can break within a few days,” shares JJ Virgin.

4) Acne-Acne is yet another symptom to watch out for. You can get acne for a number of reasons (greasy food, using a new skin cream, etc.) but like I mentioned before, when there is an imbalance in your body,  your skin will show it. Dairy is known to be a culprit of acne, so it could be very possible that you have a food sensitivity to dairy (being intolerant to lactose is very common).

5) Migraines- Certain foods can actually be the cause of your migraines and headaches. However, many doctors don’t know which foods tend to cause more migraines and headaches. If you notice that you get migraines after eating a particular food, then don’t eat it! It might be the culprit.

While food sensitivities might be difficult to pin point, it’s a good idea to start keeping track of some of the things you eat and the symptoms that you experience shortly after eating those foods. If you see a pattern, then it could quite possibly be a food sensitivity.

If you’d like to take the guess work out of what foods are hurting your health, I have done a lot of ALCAT tests that help people identify their food intolerances. I can’t tell you how many clients have lost weight, seen their skin conditions improve and the quality of their lives improve simply by knowing what foods they should avoid.

You can learn more about the food intolerance testing we offer here.