GFCF Diet and Health

GFCF Diet and Allergies

Food allergy and food intolerance are two different reactions. Food allergy is an immune system response to a food protein. The immune systems reacts with mast cells that release histamine, typical sites for histamine release are the throat, nose, skin, lungs and the gastrointestinal tract. The response can be mild or can be severe even fatal if not treated quickly in the case of anaphylactic reactions. Some of the most common foods that people are allergic to are, shellfish, eggs, cow’s milk, tree nuts, peanuts and wheat. Food intolerance is also an abnormal response to a food whose symptoms resemble food allergy but there is no immunological response to the allergen. Other symptoms of food intolerance are diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, weight loss and fatigue.

One type of food intolerance is lactose intolerance, lactose is a sugar present in milk products. The body is not able to break down the lactose because the body lacks a certain enzyme to do the job. The lactose then sits in the stomach and ferments rather than getting broken down. The fermentation process causes bloating, gas, cramps and diarrhea.

Casein is a protein derived from milk as well and a casein intolerance or allergy can cause similar symptoms to lactose intolerance and other food allergies. Casein allergy is also called milk allergy. The immune system response will cause hives, itching, stomach bloating, vomiting and rashes, As with all allergic reactions if the immune response is severe medical attention is needed immediately.

Gluten, also a protein, can be found in wheat (including durum and bulgar), oats, rye, barley, millet, kamut and spelt and in foods made from these grains, including breads, pastas, cereals, cookies and crackers, vinegars, sauces, soups, artificial colors and flavorings, some spices, food starches and even some candies.

Celiac Disease is not an allergy but an autoimmune disease caused by an inflammatory reaction to gluten. The bodies’ response to gluten in the diet causes damage to the small intestine and it becomes unable to absorb nutrients. The symptoms are similar to food allergy and intolerance; chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating, fatigue and weight loss. Celiac Disease can be diagnosed with blood tests, a complete medical history and a physical examination. As well, a tissue sample is often taken from the small intestine to check for the presence of the disease process.

The GFCF Diet will enable you to eliminate those foods that are causing symptoms. The GFCF diet can bring a great improvement in symptoms but it does take time. Dedicate yourself to the diet for at least 6 months, with some people it may take up to a year before you see improvement.

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