I talk a lot about food sensitivities, but just as important and often more debilitating are food chemical sensitivities. These have very similar functions as food sensitivities but instead of only pertaining to one food they can naturally occur in several foods. For instance, potassium nitrate is a naturally occurring chemical in several vegetables including spinach, avocado, beets, lettuce, celery, and eggplant. If an individual is reactive to this chemical, they may not only experience headaches and fatigue, but also weight gain. Potassium nitrate’s “cousin,” potassium nitrite, is a food additive used as a color fixative in foods such as processed meats and fish (lunchmeats, hotdogs, smoke-cured salmon, etc.) and can also cause these same symptoms.
Naturally occurring food chemicals include:
- Potassium nitrate
- Salicylic acid (salicylates)
Food chemical additives include:
- Artificial colorings
- Artificial sweeteners (saccharine, aspartame)
- Potassium nitrite
- Sodium sulfite
- Polysorbate 80
- Benzoic acid
These are not exhaustive lists but do capture many of the food chemicals that are tested in the food and chemical testing that I use to help uncover a multitude of ailments and causes of chronic illness. I have found testing to be critical in uncovering triggers however testing results are just one piece of the puzzle. Just as important is the subsequent protocol that I use to create an eating plan and a methodical process of elimination and reintroduction. This combination can help to uncover even more intolerances, such as issues caused by enzyme deficiencies or latex-related food sensitivities.
To learn more about sensitivities and how they can play a role in your health, check out my other posts on Food Sensitivities – what they are and why they can be causing havoc to your health and Figuring Out the Elusive Food Sensitivity.
And if you find that you have more questions or would like to pursue nutrition counseling, please Contact Me, your friendly dietitian nutritionist!