Today I wanted to talk about food intolerance and the impact sugar has on our health. Booth food intolerance and sugar can affect our skin’s appearance.
Most of the this blog post comes from JJ Virgin who is a nutritionist. She has spent years researching food intolerance. JJ suggests there is several foods that we should avoid if we have food intolerance. During this article we will cover these different foods.
The main idea is to remove these foods from our diet then slowly reintroduce them one at a time back into your diet. JJ suggests taking notes in a journal to document how your body is responding. You need to keep track of what type of symptoms if any that you’re having from reintroduction of a particular food. The Virgin diet wasn’t designed to be a weight loss diet specifically, although you will probably lose weight. There is a number of reasons for this. For one thing, you will be more conscious of what you’re eating. Reducing things like sugar and processed foods can also help you lose weight.
What is food intolerance? Food intolerance is a condition where one develops bloating and joint pain. It may be associated with autoimmune diseases, fatigue, and skin problems.THe idea is that there are certain foods in your diet causing this intolerance.
Why am I interested in food intolerance?
Obesity! Too many of us overweight. I used to think if you ate less you would be thin but I do see that some people seem to have an easier time staying thin compared to others which lead me on a mission.
There are number of factors for the obesity rate here in United States. Unfortunately, the food that a lot of us eat are packed with sugars and salt as well as processed oils. Many Americans eat fast food. It makes sense, it’s quick and easy. The same goes for packaged foods. It is quick and easy. When you’re hungry, you’re looking for a quick fix. Stress also contributes to chronic conditions as well as the lack of sleep. We know that poor sleep hygiene increases the risk of multiple medical conditions and yet most of us do not get the eight hours of sleep. Do you get 8 hours of sleep?
There is some concern about genetically modified organisms in our food source. The pesticides and chemicals that are used on vegetables can contribute to inflammation and our gut. We are also concerned about our meat sources. We know that animals are injected with antibiotics to produce more milk. Antibiotics are also used in the feed to help prevent infections because animals are kept in close quarters. These small living quarters increase the risk of disease spreading, this is the reason why antibiotics are placed in the food.
Food intolerance -Gluten
We hear a lot about gluten sensitivity. In reality only about one hundred of us have a gluten sensitivity. It is thought that gluten can damage our intestines which can lead to inflammation. This is important because inflammation has been associated with an increase risk of diabetes, obesity, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Foods that are rich in gluten such as breads and pasta are low in vitamins and minerals if they are processed foods. You’re far better eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds as they are a better source of nutrition. There is also concern that gluten may prevent other minerals and nutrient absorption that your body needs.
Gluten contains lectins, this is another type of protein. A study published in The American Journal of Physiology showed that the lectin produces “several alterations in the ability of fat cells to bind and respond to insulin.” Lectins have been linked with leptin resistance.This is the hormone responsible for regulating appetites. Leptin resistance can lead to a rise in blood glucose which will increase the risk of insulin resistance and Type II diabetes. Lectins are associated with prediabetic syndrome and can even make you feel hungry as it affects leptin levels, this will make weight loss difficult. Lectins are thought to damage our intestines
Food intolerance -Corn
Corn is also high-glycemic food which means it causes blood sugar spikes. When your blood sugar goes up, your body produces insulin to lower this blood sugar. This cycle is thought to increase the risk of insulin resistance. Most of the corn available is genetically modified. The use of genetically modified food is controversial. Corn is also high in lectins. Lectins also attach to insulin receptors, making you more insulin resistant. Lastly, corn is stored in silos. This humid environment increases the risk of mold growth. Aflatoxins from mold have been associated with poor growth.
Foods with the highest lectin composition include:
- Grains, especially wheat.
- Bean and Legumes (especially soy)
- Certain nuts and seeds, like peanuts (I know it’s not really a nut) and chia
- Nightshade plants (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant)
Peanuts are actually a legume. They do not have the same health benefits of true nuts like almonds, walnuts, and macadamia nuts. THese other nuts have omega 3 fatty acids which is considered a healthy fat.
What about dairy? Some people have intolerance to lactose. Milk contains two types of proteins, casein and whey. Casein is 80% of the milk protein, while whey is 20%. There is some controversy over casein. Some observational research has associated A1 beta-casein to conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. More research is needed.
During the last few months I have really tried to cut out dairy. In my coffee I use creamy cashew milk. It gives the creaminess of milk without the added sugar and inflammation that goes along with that. I also was drinking a lot of coffee. Now throughout the day I substitute herbal tea from my sips of coffee.
Food intolerance -Eggs
Some people may be sensitive to eggs. Some physicians offer functional lab testing. People who have this issue often notice gas, bloating and heartburn up to 2 days after eating eggs or egg-containing foods.
Food intolerance -Soy
Soy contains phytates which is found in plant seeds. Phytic acid impairs absorption of iron and zinc, and to a lesser extent calcium. You may have heard of sprouting. It is thought that sprouting foods may increase nutritional absorption of some of the foods we eat as phytic acid is broken down during the sprouting process. Non-organic sources of soy may contain high amounts of pesticides and soy is often processed in aluminum casks. There are concern that aluminum ends up in the soy.
Food intolerance -Sugar
Let’s talk a little about sugar. We know that sugar can also cause inflammation. When we look at food labels I strongly encourage reading labels. Some fruits and vegetables don’t have a label but they can easily be found with a search on your phone. Added sugar is worse than natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables.
There is an obesity epidemic in the United States, it is estimated that one third of us are obese. It is estimated that we consume over 152 pounds of sugar each year. Can you imagine that? There was a time that sugar was a treat. Unfortunately, today sugar is found in many of the packaged foods that we consume. A lot of our food is laden with a regular table sugar also known as sucrose and also high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup is used by manufacturers because it’s cheaper than natural sugar. Over the years we have seen the rates of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome increase. Is it caused by sugar? We are not sure but other countries that do not have food additives do not have the same obesity rates as the United States.
Sugar goes by many different names. Let’s look at the list below.
1. Agave Nectar
2. Barley Malt
3. Beet Sugar
4. Brown Sugar
5. Buttered Syrup
6. Cane Crystals
7. Cane Juice Crystals
8. Cane Sugar
10. Carob Syrup
11. Castor Sugar
12. Confectioner’s Sugar
13. Corn Sweetener
14. Corn Syrup
15. Corn Syrup Solids
16. Crystalline Fructose
17. Date Sugar
18. Demerara Sugar
21. Diastatic Malt
23. Ethyl Maltol
24. Evaporated Cane Juice
26. Fruit Juice
27. Fruit Juice Concentrates
30. Glucose Solids
31. Golden Sugar
32. Golden Syrup
33. Granulated Sugar
34. Grape Sugar
35. High-Fructose Corn Syrup
37. Icing Sugar
38. Invert Sugar
40. Malt Syrup
43. Maple Syrup
45. Muscovado Sugar
47. Raw Sugar
48. Refiner’s Syrup
49. Rice Syrup
51. Sorghum Syrup
56. Turbinado Sugar
57. Yellow Sugar
JJs list of 7 foods
Let’s talk about the seven foods to avoid to help with food intolerance: corn, gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, sugar, do you think you can go three full weeks without eating these foods, I know that you can!
Let’s talk about what an ideal plate should look like in the JJ virgin diet. You want half your plate to be non-starchy vegetables, leafy greens are always the best. A third of the plate should be lean protein such as chicken, pork and wild fish. Remember some fish such as tuna we’ll have higher levels of mercury so we don’t want to eat those types of fish more than once a week. The remainder of the plate should be slow carbohydrates such as butternut squash or rice.
Let’s talk a little about resistance starch. Some starches pass through your digestive tract unchanged. Resistant starches have shown to improve insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite. Resistant starches is thought to reduce inflammation in the gut. Foods like green bananas (not so desirable) and cashews can help improve digestion and improve blood sugar control. They also might help mineral absorption.
A little about intermittent fasting. This is a whole topic in itself but there are a number of studies showing that restricted eating decreases the risk of diabetes, obesity and even liver disease. It is thought that this intermittent fasting reduces inflammation in the body
Remember our body needs fats as well. Think about the healthy fats such as avocado or olive oil. Think of ways that you could incorporate these healthy fats into your diet. For example, rather than using mayonnaise perhaps you can make an avocado spread. We should try to get fat throughout our day. Many diets recommend low fat foods but I feel like they’re laden with sugar. This is why it is important to read labels. You’d be surprised where you will find sugar and even salt.
Here is a list of foods that are encouraged in the Virgin Diet
Unsweetened coconut and almond milk
Coffee (small amounts)
Unsweetened green tea
Lemon and lime for flavoring
Healthy berries such as blueberry raspberry and strawberry, they’re filled with antioxidants.
Grass fed beef
Nitrate free bacon
Spices such as Turmeric
Gluten free baked goods
Cold water fish such as salmon.
Let’s talk about substitutions for food intolerance
You can replace quantity with brown rice tortillas
Almond butter can be substituted for peanut butter
Lettuce leaves can be used to make sandwiches
Spaghetti squash can be used instead of pasta
Unsweetened almond coconut or cashew milk out can be used in replace of skin milk
Try cutting out processed carbohydrates completely think about sweet potatoes and yams, wild rice, tomatoes, oatmeal and quinoa instead
What do we know works
Remove tempting foods, it is best to keep them out of the house.
Once you start decreasing your sugar consumption you may notice that you will feel tired. Ensure you are eating enough healthy fats and protein to sustain you. This will make the sugar cravings more manageable. It will be difficult to stop sugar cold turkey. You might be better transitioning off of the high sugar impact foods slowly. For example, start by substituting medium impact sugar foods for the high sugar foods.After a week, substitute low sugar foods for medium sugar foods.
We know that when we have accountability we are more likely to reach our goals. Most of us are very busy and unfortunately we put ourselves last. With this behavior, it’ll be difficult to keep your goals. This is why a coach during this lifestyle change or a friend may help you keep on track. There are number of ways that you can do this program. I’ll put a link to JJ’s book above.