According to Dr. Oz and special guest Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View” who suffered from misdiagnosed allergies to certain foods for ten years before finding the answer to her health problems, food allergies affect millions who are often unaware that a food allergy is what may be causing their bloating, fatigue and constipation among many other symptoms.
“Up to 200 million people, that’s more than half the population, have hidden food allergies that are making them sick,” says Dr. Oz.
For Elisabeth Hasselbeck, her health had been a roller coaster of symptoms that were misdiagnosed for years by physicians she saw to treat her constant feelings of bloating, cramping constipation and diarrhea after she ate a meal.
”No matter what I ate—and I had a healthy appetite—it was all of a sudden making me sick…I had countless doctors who kept telling me that it had to be IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and that I was stressed out.”
She explains that only when she was on the show “Survivor” and on a rather restricted diet with the rest of the cast, that she found that her symptoms had gone away. Using the internet to try to learn what was the source of her health problems, she then learned about Celiac disease—a digestive disorder that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have Celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley that can cause numerous symptoms such as:
• Skin rashes
• Aching Joints
• Trouble concentrating
The message that she wanted to share with viewers of The Dr. Oz Show is that at home they can perform a diagnostic test of their own to help determine whether they too suffer from a food allergy that may be responsible for their ailments.
The top four food types that she and Dr. Oz state that can be causing hidden food allergy problems for many people are: corn, wheat, diary and peanuts. Dr. Oz explains that what classifies these food items as hidden allergens is that unlike some foods or substances that can cause an immediate reaction once ingested, that in less-susceptible individuals it may take hours, days, even weeks later before a person experiences a symptom—therefore, making it very difficult to pin a symptom to a particular food allergy.
To help viewers determine which food may be affecting their health, Elisabeth Hasselbeck recommends that people try a self-test type of experiment at home that worked for her. “My mission is to help women identify their food sensitivities and then proceed to better health so that they don’t have to suffer for a decade like I did. There’s no need for that,” she says.
Her advice to viewers is based on simple scientific methodology:
“Avoid the muddy study and actually do a procedure-like elimination by starting at one group at a time,” says Elisabeth Hasselbeck as she advises viewers to begin with removing corn and corn-containing products completely out of their diet for one week. She says that this can be difficult because corn is hidden in so many food items such as salad dressings, condiments and candy meaning that people have to read labels carefully to ensure that corn is being totally eliminated.
One week following the corn elimination, a person then needs to check and see if they continue to have any of the aforementioned listed symptoms of hidden food allergies. If the symptom(s) persist, then a person needs to put corn back into their diet and move onto elimination of the next potential food allergen in their diet.
Next in line for the elimination process is to remove all wheat from your diet for a week. She states that even natural whole grain wheat bread should be eliminated along with the pasta, crackers, bagels, etc.
“If you still have the symptoms [after removing wheat ], then you are on the right track,” says Elisabeth Hasselbeck as she tells viewers that with her it was once she cut out wheat that she began to notice that her symptoms had lessened.
“But I wasn’t totally there, so I had to go one step further by taking out the gluten,” she says adding that it took about 6 weeks before all of her symptoms were gone.
She and Dr. Oz explain that if you still continue to experience unexplainable symptoms, then repeat the process of elimination with dairy products followed lastly with peanuts. However, if after spending at least one month eliminating the four foods from your diet for one week each, and you still have symptoms, then Dr., Oz advises viewers that now is the time that a person should find a specialist such as an allergist to help them discover what it is that they may be allergic to.
“If you still have symptoms, because there are many, many other foods that can be causing allergies, and can also be causing allergies in combination, that’s when I think that you gotta find a doctor…and not just any old doc, you gotta find a doctor who is a specialist in this area,” says Dr. Oz.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck supplements that with advice to remind viewers that they need to let their primary care physician know that they have been eliminating certain foods from their diet and whether it had an effect or not on their health, so that their doctor remains informed while trying to make a diagnosis.
For a gluten sensitivity self-test and to hear what other people have to say about their experiences with food allergies, follow The Dr. Oz Show Gluten Sensitivity Self-Test and blog post for this episode.
Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile
Reference: The Dr. Oz Show—“Could You Have a Hidden Food Allergy?”