This is a common question some of my patients ask me all the time. If you are, like my patients, doing all the right things but still gaining weight, this article is for you. It can be incredibly frustrating when it feels like your efforts aren’t paying off on the scale. Before you throw in the towel and prepare yourself to carry around those extra weight for the rest of your life, I want you to take a moment to think about the food you eat.

If you trying to lose weight, that’s probably all you’re thinking about, right? What I’m referring to, however, are food intolerances – not to be confused with food allergies, food intolerances are typically not life-threatening, and sufferers deal with symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, headaches, bloating, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, brain fog, anxiety, depression, insomnia, asthma, headaches, palpitation, rashes, and joint pains.  So, here’s what you need to know about this condition. We all respond differently to the same food. Even the healthiest foods could be a problem if your body is intolerant to them.

One of the most successful weight loss secrets is to find out if you are intolerant to any of your ordinary, everyday foods.

What is exactly a food intolerance? Food intolerance, also known as non-IgE mediated food hypersensitivity or non-allergic food hypersensitivity, refers to difficulty in digesting certain foods. It is important to note, as discussed above, that food intolerance is different from food allergy.

How do food intolerances develop? Through severals mechanisms:

  • Activation of the immune system: a food intolerance occurs when your body mistakes a harmless food as a threat and produces IgG antibodies , which can result in inflammation and in the so called “leaky gut syndrome”
  • Leaky gut syndrome. This condition develops when the lining of the gut is inflamed from a food intolerance, and small fissures open between the tightly woven cells. With leaky gut syndrome, partially digested dietary molecules can cross the intestinal barrier into the bloodstream. These molecules can cause an immune response, producing symptoms directly in the intestines or throughout the body. Additionally, hundreds of yeast and bacteria are released from the gut into the bloodstream where they set up infection anywhere, including muscles, joints, bones, teeth roots, coronary arteries, or even the brain.
  • Deficiency of Probiotics: another cause of leaky gut is an absence of ‘friendly’ bacteria (probiotics) in the intestines. The friendly bacteria help maintain the health of the intestines by producing fuel for intestinal cells and killing bad bacteria. Parasitic infections, treatment with antibiotics and other toxic pharmaceuticals, stress, poor diet (too much sugar and flour), smoking, alcohol, excessive hygiene and candida overgrowth can disrupt the proper balance of friendly bacteria to bad bacteria.
  • Genetics: food intolerances can also be hereditary. Genetic variations predict the severity of your intolerance.

Why does a food intolerance lead to weight gain? The immune reaction is the underlaying mechanism. When the immune system is provoked, numerous chemicals, called cytokines, are released and travel throughout the body causing chronic inflammation and various consequent symptoms. The body will react to the inflammation by producing the anti-inflammatory hormone called cortisol.  Unfortunately cortisol also increases blood sugar, and the body will react to it by making more insulin. Both corisol and insulin are hormones that signal the body to store fat, so it will store more fat, mostly around the belly.

Immune reactions also mess up the balance of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that lead to water retention as well as abdominal bloating. Finally, the chronic inflammation can also impair, in some people, the brain’s ability to receive leptin’s appetite suppressing messages (called “leptin resistance”), so people will keep eating  despite excessive fat stores.

Which is the best way to diagnose and treat food intolerances? A simple blood test (IgG food intolerance test) is used to identify foods to which a person may be intolerant, while stool testing reveals abnormalities in the gut. Removing, for a certain period of time, foods from the diet that are provoking the inflammation (elimination diet) while starting taking specific blends of probiotics, l-glutamine, fiber and multi-vitamin-enzyme formulations can really make a difference. I’m continuously amazed by the results , as for many of my patients it is the key to helping them lose weight.


I wish you all the best,
Dr. Valeria Acampora