Could a hidden food allergy be making you fat? Dr. Mehmet Oz explored how to become your own diet detective to sleuth out allergies and lose weight on his Thursday talk show.
Because food allergy symptoms vary so much, getting an accurate diagnosis can be difficult, says Dr. Oz. For example, one person might experience bloating after eating wheat, while another might feel foggy and have problems concentrating. Food cravings and joint pain also can be caused by food allergies.
In addition, many people have food sensitivities. While typically not as severe as allergies, food sensitivity also can make you feel miserable. Symptoms may include headaches, puffiness, rashes, brain fog and even nasal congestion.
How can you find out which foods could be causing your problems? Dr. Oz asked expert Dr. Mark Hyman to explain how to use an elimination diet to find food sensitivities and also lose weight.
Author of "The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet: Activate Your Body's Natural Ability to Burn Fat and Lose Weight Fast," Dr. Hyman advises eliminating foods that are common culprits when it comes to sensitivities and allergies. Instead, eat foods that rarely cause problems for five days.
Foods to avoid for five days include soy, citrus, dairy, eggs, corn, gluten and wheat. In addition, avoid nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes and eggplant.
Safe foods include salmon, chicken, green vegetables, brown rice, nuts such as almonds and non-citrus fruit such as berries. Rather than eat eggs for breakfast, for example, choose brown rice cereal.
In addition, Dr. Hyman recommends eliminating foods with sugar and drinking green tea rather than coffee. You can use spices such as ginger and rosemary and also use low-sodium vegetable broth.
Dr. Oz revealed that one woman who followed this plan lost seven pounds in five days. In addition to her weight loss, she stopped having symptoms such as rashes.
After you've eliminated all the foods for five days, add one food at a time back for two days, says Dr. Hyman, who also authored "The UltraSimple Diet: Kick-Start Your Metabolism and Safely Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 7 Days." For example, you might try soy for two days to see if you react to it. If you have a reaction, eliminate it permanently from your diet.
One of the most common food sensitivities is gluten. An estimated 18 million people suffer from a gluten or wheat sensitivity that triggers headaches, tiredness, inflammation, joint pain and digestive discomfort.
Dr. William Davis recently appeared on Dr. Oz's talk show to discuss this issue. He is the author of "Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health."
When you eliminate wheat, you may benefit from immediate weight loss benefits, says Dr. Davis. He links the weight loss to the gliadin protein of wheat, which stimulates your appetite.
Moreover, wheat contains a protein called wheat germ agglutinin. Dr. Davis says that because it may block the leptin receptor, it can impact your appetite control mechanisms.
In addition, wheat contains amylopectin A, which causes blood sugar spikes and lows. This roller-coaster of blood sugar also causes increased hunger, so that weight loss accelerates when you eliminate the wheat.
Dr. Hyman concurs that blood sugar spikes and sags are linked to weight gain. In "The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now," he points to balanced insulin levels as the key to weight loss and health.
For those who think that the key to weight loss is cutting fats, Dr. Hyman, Dr. Davis and Dr. Oz all concur that when you cut the wheat, you should actually eat more healthy fats. Avocado, olive oil and nuts are examples of healthy fats that suppress your appetite and boost weight loss.