FOOD intolerance is a hidden cause of weight gain, says fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin.
She says "healthy" foods, from egg white omelette to non-fat yoghurt, can cause a host of nasty symptoms including gas, bloating, skin issues, fatigue, headaches, achy joints and stubborn weight gain.
In her new book, The Virgin Diet, she tells you how to stop counting kilojoules and find a diet for life.
Top on the list of foods she says are most likely to cause food intolerance: gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Typical symptoms of food sensitivity, says JJ, include digestive trouble, sleep issues, congestion, muscle aches and joint pain, dark circles under eyes, dull hair, skin problems, mood problems, poor or unsteady energy, weight gain and premature ageing.
"Food intolerance produces a host of symptoms, which is bad enough. But it also causes a number of interrelated problems.
"One of those problems is inflammation.
"The four classic inflammatory responses are redness, heat, pain and swelling.
"These reactions occur inside your body too when a food triggers an immune reaction."
To reduce inflammation, JJ suggests that instead of consuming inflammatory fats from processed foods, corn, soy, dairy and eggs, you switch to anti-inflammatory fats from wild fish, raw nuts and seeds and olive oil.
"And make sure to avoid damaged fats: any oil that is rancid, refined or hydrogenated (trans fats)."
She also suggests getting rid of sugar, artificial sweeteners and high-glycemic foods.
"Sweet and starchy foods raise blood sugar, which raises insulin which leads to inflammation."
JJ says genetically modified foods are best avoided.
"They can disrupt your healthy gut flora, trigger and immune response and create inflammation."
Lastly JJ suggests you ditch the seven food most likely to cause adverse reactions.
Do you have digestive problems?
JJ recommends these healing supplements:
- Aged garlic extract, an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial powerhouse (1 to 3 caps a day).
- Glutamine (1 to 10 grams per day, depending on severity).
- Ginger, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and supports gut healing (30 to 50 mg per day).
- Quercetin, a natural antihistamine and antioxidant (100mg a day).
- Coconut milk, rich in yeast-killing caprylic acid aloe vera juice.
- Freshly ground flaxseed meal, which contains a gluey substance that soothes and exalts the gut as well as omega-3s to reduce inflammation.
- Apples, which contain pectins to heal the gut.
- Red onions, which are rich in quercetin.
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