It’s time for spring cleaning! Not just for our homes, but our bodies as well. As summer grows closer, we invariably start thinking about getting bathing suit ready, therefore increasing our exercise and embarking on the latest and greatest diet trends. Losing weight the healthy way is generally the goal for most of us. So, what will it be this year: the high protein, low carb Paleo diet, or maybe go vegetarian? Even vegan, perhaps?
The diet you choose will likely include some specific dietary restrictions and recommended foods. In recent years, we’ve been inundated with new research about both the dangers and benefits of the foods we consume. We certainly don’t diet the same way today that we did 30 years ago, yet there are still so many dietary plans to choose from; plus it is important to recognize that every body is unique. While a specific diet may work well for one person, it may not work well for another. So ask yourself this: How well do you know your body and what it needs or doesn’t need?
As we begin our journey to shed the “extra baggage” we may have unknowingly put on during the winter season, we get excited to see and feel the results. We impatiently watch for a drop in body fat, an increase in energy and an overall boost in self-confidence. We want to look good and feel great (or is it the other way around?). But what if instead of feeling better, you begin feeling worse? Symptoms such as headaches, stomach pains, constipation, diarrhea, bloating and fatigue are the last things you would expect to happen, but for many, they do.
Whichever diet path you take, you are likely to incorporate some foods that are new to you. While these foods may be healthier options, some of them may not agree with you. In fact, you may have sensitivities or intolerance to specific foods. If you don’t feel well after beginning your new diet, that may be your body’s way of telling you something in this new food doesn’t agree with you, it can’t digest it, or it is simply rejecting it. What this could be signaling to you is that there is a more serious underlying issue causing the reaction and inhibiting you from reaching your weight loss goal. Your body could even be having an autoimmune reaction to the food. If you already have an autoimmune disorder, for example a thyroid issue, chronic fatigue syndrome or any other illness that may already impact your weight or energy level, eating the wrong foods could exacerbate the symptoms.
The good news is that there are easy, non-invasive tests available on the market today that can help you determine if you have sensitivities or autoimmune reactivity to the new foods in your diet. For instance, Cyrex Laboratories—a clinical laboratory specializing in functional immunology and autoimmunity—offers the only enhanced intestinal permeability test on the market, the Array 2 – Intestinal Antigenic Permeability Screen™. This screening tests the permeability of large molecules in the small intestine (AKA “leaky gut”) and helps identify the route of intestinal damage as a result of immune reactivity from environmental or dietary triggers. Cyrex also offers Array 10, a unique panel that measures reactivity to 180 food antigens in the cooked, raw, modified and processed form and monitors the effectiveness of customized dietary protocols. Tests like these can go a long way toward identifying the root cause of any ill effects you may be experiencing from your new diet.
The best thing you can do is to listen to your body and, if you’re having issues, communicate with your healthcare provider. Proper diet and exercise are critical to achieving a leaner, meaner you for summer, but understanding how your body is reacting to the different foods in your diet doesn’t get as much attention in the world of healthy dieting. Proactive testing may be the key to keeping you one step ahead on your journey to weight loss and overall good health.
By Dr. Chad Larson, NMD, DC, CCN, CSCS, Advisor and Consultant on Clinical Consulting Team for Cyrex Laboratories.
Dr. Larson holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Southern California University of Health Sciences. He is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He particularly pursues advanced developments in the fields of endocrinology, orthopedics, sports medicine, and environmentally induced chronic disease. Dr. Larson is a clinical consultant to Cyrex Laboratories, a clinical immunology laboratory specializing in functional immunology and autoimmunity.