Food Sensitivity Causes and Associated Factors

Food Sensitivity | Could you have food sensitivities?The causes of food sensitivity and intolerance are largely unknown to the general public. However, there are many contributing factors. Genetics plays a part and often if a parent or grandparent has a food sensitivity then the children are more likely to have the same sensitivity. Also, we know that food sensitivity may be triggered later in life by stress or trauma, which suggests an emotional or stress-hormone-related component. We also know that food sensitivity gets worse with age, which may mean that ongoing damage is occurring which contributes to the problem.


What is a Food Sensitivity?

Also known as a food intolerance, Food Sensitivity refers to difficulty digesting certain foods. Unlike food allergies, which involve the immune system, food sensitivities are typically characterized by digestive issues or other symptoms that arise after consuming specific foods. Food sensitivities are generally less severe than food allergies and do not involve the immune response mediated by antibodies like IgE.

Here are key aspects of food sensitivities:

Digestive Discomfort:

The most common symptoms of food sensitivities are related to the digestive system. These may include bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation.

Non-Immune Response:

Unlike food allergies, food sensitivities do not involve the immune system’s production of IgE antibodies. Instead, the reactions are often linked to the inability to properly digest or metabolize certain components of food.

Delayed Onset of Symptoms:

Food sensitivities may have a delayed onset of symptoms, making it challenging to identify the specific trigger foods. Symptoms can appear hours or even days after consuming the problematic food.

Food Processing Contributes to Food Sensitivity

Food processing may also contribute to food sensitivities. The most common foods that people react to are highly processed milk and dairy products. Did you know that pasteurization and homogenization have added chemicals that milk a century ago did not have?

How Has Your Food Been prepared, processed, handled, and stored?

How food has been prepared, processed, handled, and stored can also have an effect on whether food will cause an allergic reaction. For example, some molecules responsible for allergic reactions can be destroyed by heat. Individuals with allergies to cow’s milk have reported that drinking heated milk does not cause the symptoms associated with their milk allergies suggesting that the molecules that are toxic to these individuals have been destroyed by the heating process. However, the molecules in peanuts that can cause highly toxic responses in people allergic to peanuts are known to be very stable and unaffected by even long periods of heating.

Most Grains Contain GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms)

Corn, soy, and wheat have all been genetically modified with a poison known as glyphosate. Grains have been selectively bred to increase harvest yields in commercial farming. Many people theorize that this level of processing within the food has made it less digestible in general. This is what may have led more people to become sensitive to these foods.

Top Genetically Modified Crops:


Corn is the No. 1 crop grown in the U.S. and nearly all of it — 88 percent — are genetically modified. In addition to being added to innumerable processed foods, genetically modified corn is a staple of animal feed.


93 percent of soy is genetically modified. Soy is a staple of processed foods under various names including hydrogenated oils, lecithin, emulsifiers, tocopherol (a vitamin E supplement), and proteins.


According to the USDA, 94 percent of cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. Cottonseeds are culled from cotton and then used for vegetable oil, margarine or shortening production, or frying foods, such as potato chips.


Farmers feed alfalfa to dairy cows, the source of milk, butter, yogurt, meat and so much more. Alfalfa is the fourth largest crop grown in the U.S., behind corn, soybeans, and wheat (though there is no genetically engineered wheat on the market).


75 percent of the Hawaiian papaya crop is genetically modified to withstand the papaya ringspot virus.

Canola Oil:

About 90 percent of the U.S. canola (rapeseed) crop is genetically modified. Canola oil is used in cooking, as well as biofuels. In North Dakota, genetically modified canola has been found growing far from any planted fields, raising questions about what will happen when “escaped” GE canola competes with wild plants.

Canola Oil is a Hydrogenated Oil.

Besides the deodorizing process, rapeseed must go through the process of degumming, bleaching, and refining of the oil. Although they go to great lengths to hide it, canola oil IS hydrogenated oil, which removes almost any nutritional value, while changing its basic form into trans-fats. This GMO canola oil can cause some of the same health problems that other GMO plants cause. A healthier option would be to use olive oil or coconut oil.

Sugar Beets:

More than half — 54 percent — of sugar sold in America comes from sugar beets. Genetically modified sugar beets account for 90 percent of the crop; however, that percentage is expected to increase after the USDA’s decision last year to give the green light to sugar beet planting before an environmental impact statement was completed.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Food sensitivities are highly linked to a syndrome called Leaky Gut Syndrome. This health challenge is a situation in which some stressors (such as food to which the person is sensitive) cause damage to the intestinal lining. That damage allows larger-than-normal food particles to cross into the bloodstream. Those particles trigger an immune reaction in the body because they are not supposed to be in the bloodstream, to begin with. This immune reaction often cross-reacts with the person’s tissue. This sets up a cascade of symptoms including food sensitivities, as well as autoimmune symptoms.

Foods That Commonly Cause Allergic Reactions

Many foods that have been identified as causes of sensitivity/allergic reactions are due primarily to the bastardization of our food supply, with GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). See the details along with the most common food list below…

  • Dairy Products: Cow’s milk (Pasteurization removes most of the nutrients)
  • Chicken eggs (Many vaccine flu viruses are grown on fertilized chicken eggs,(Ovalbumin) is the major protein constituent of chicken egg whites.)
  • Grains/Gluten: Corn, soy, wheat, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup – most packaged and fast foods contain this ingredient) (See the Top 7 GMO foods below)
  • Nightshade vegetables: Eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, all peppers. Nightshades contain substances called alkaloids, which can cause inflammation and stress.
  • Peanuts (Peanut crops receive applications of glyphosate, nearly every 10 days)Glyphosate is a poison.
  • Fish: Most farmed fish are fed grains, that contain GMOs, and most fish from the sea have mercury – due to oil spills and pollution of the oceans.
  • Crustacean shellfish (such as shrimp, prawns, lobster, and crab)
  • Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and chestnuts)
  • Preservatives, colorings: People cannot digest chemistry.

What Foods Can I Eat? (If You Have Food Allergies/Sensitivities)

This list contains the least reactions to food sensitivity/allergy. Electing to eat organically grown foods also helps avoid the intake of pesticides and other allergy-producing toxins.

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Carrots
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash
  • Rice
  • Lamb

Please note: I am not a doctor. I am a Functional Nutritionist. I use food therapy to approach most chronic diseases and conditions. These include obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression, and gut diseases. I also use a variety of supplements and subtle energy tools to assist, along with food.

Everything here is my opinion and is provided for educational purposes.

You are responsible for your health, and the consequences of whatever healthcare decisions you make. Are you ready to work with a nutritionist to help you make better food choices? Call me for a FREE 20-minute phone consultation to see how we could address your health challenges and make positive changes with real food.
Call Debbie Allen, Functional Nutritionist: 319-208-1929.


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