How a Food Intolerance Becomes an Addiction

by Joan Kent, PhD

[This is the 3rd & final part of an article on food intolerances.]

When an intolerance-triggering food stimulates theimmune response, that response involves a release of stress hormones, opioids, such as endorphins (beta-endorphin), and chemical mediators like serotonin.

The chemical combination can produce temporary symptom relief through the analgesic action of endorphin and serotonin, plus mood elevation and a feeling of relaxation.

In that way, eating the triggering food may make someone feel better almost immediately and even think the food is beneficial.

Endorphin release typically involves a concomitant release of dopamine. The combination of those two brain chemicals and serotonin forms what I’ve always called the “addictive package.” Avoiding the food could lead to withdrawal.

After long-term use, someone may eat the triggering food not to experience the pleasure of the chemical “high,” but to relieve the distress and withdrawal without it. It’s almost textbook addiction.

How Does Food Intolerance/Addiction Affect Health?

As someone addicted to a triggering food continues to eat more of it, the immune system must keep adapting, and may become hyper-sensitized, reacting to more and more foods — especially those eaten together with reaction-triggering foods, or with sugar.

The constant demand on the immune system can lead to immune exhaustion and degenerative reactions, depending on genetic weaknesses. The signs and symptoms listed above are just a start.

Sugar can be a major player in this because it causes inflammation in the body and makes it more susceptible to food reactions. Eating triggering foods plus sugar can make it even more likely that new reactions will occur.

I recall a book by Nancy Appleton, who suggested that eggs might trigger reactions in many people because they’re so frequently eaten at breakfast with orange juice. Cake is another example: sugar plus wheat, eggs, milk.

As the addictions continue, cravings occur, leading to increased consumption. As more and more foods trigger an immune response, the result may be malnutrition, as explained above.

Stats say that rates of food intolerance are rising. My theory is that the rise is at least partly due to sugar in our diets — including sneaky sugars that are often viewed as healthful, such as agave, fruit, fruit juice, and sweeteners.

Stopping the Cycle

Definitely give up any foods you suspect may be causing any reactions — even if you love them. Which foods do you eat with those triggering foods on a regular basis? Consider eliminating those, as well.

Above all, avoid sugar. Follow this plan, as J.J. Virgin recommends, for 3 weeks.

In the meantime, you may have cravings. If so, use my proven, time-tested recommendation of a teaspoon of liquid B-complex (complete B-complex) to kill the craving within minutes.

At the end of the 3-week elimination, you should be feeling — and looking — much better.

If you’d like to improve your nutrition & your health, please visit www.FoodAddictionSolutions.com and grab your free copy of “The 3 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Trying To Quit Sugar.”