Fat-loss is not always as simple as is sounds. It can be very frustrating when you are eating right and exercising smartly and not meeting your goals. I have run into this personally. When I investigated further, I found I had a number of gastrointestinal issues (without a lot of gastrointestinal complaints) that were making me fat-loss resistant and feel unhealthy. The good news is that with removal of the foods of the foods I was sensitive to and healing of my gut, I left so much better and my fat-loss resistance disappeared. I also run into this with my busy mom clients.
All of these issues are inter-related and optimal health cannot be achieved until stress is dealt with and the gastrointestinal system is functioning appropriately. I have quite a bit of knowledge in this area but am not an expert. But I am privileged to know an expert in this area personally and professionally and had the honor of interviewing her for this post!
This expert is Dr. Jillian Teta. She is a medically trained naturopathic doctor and the author of “Natural Solutions for Digestive Health”, which is being released January 2014 by Sterling Publishing. She practices at the Naturopathic Health Clinic of North Carolina where she focuses on digestive health. Through working with thousands of clients, she has created the Fix Your Digestion Gut Restoration Program, an online educational and practical program that guides you step-by-step on how to heal your digestive tract.
So, in my first interview I ask Dr. Teta a number of question about how stress, the gut, and fat-loss are related! If you missed that post, you can view it HERE. This week’s post will concentrate on the topics of food sensitivities, fat-loss, and solutions. Here are this weeks questions and responses:
Can you briefly describe food sensitivity verses an allergy?
A food allergy tends to have symptoms that are very fast acting, intense, severe and potentially life threatening. Common examples are peanuts and shellfish. A food allergy is a specific way the immune system expresses itself (through IgE antibodies – the “evil” antibody). People with food allergies almost always know what foods they are allergic to and avoid them and carry an EpiPen for emergencies.
With food sensitivity, symptoms tend to be slower, more chronic and connected to other symptoms in the body. Food sensitivities are mediated through another avenue of the immune system (through IgG and immune complexes). People with food sensitivity may not be aware of what their sensitivities are and likely consume these foods regularly, which often contributes to their symptoms.
Symptoms of food sensitivity can be body-wide. Many don’t often connect the dots that their symptoms could be due to something that they are eating and sensitive to. Symptoms can include: Burning Tongue, Reflux, Indigestion, Heartburn, Frequent Belching, Intestinal Gas, Bloating, Abdominal Pain, Intestinal Pain, Constipation, Loose stool, Undigested food, blood or mucous in stool, Oily stool, Diarrhea, Fecal Urgency, Fecal Incontinence, Joint Pain, Dermatitis/skin rash/itchy skin, Dandruff, PMS, Intolerance to vitamins/supplements, Intolerance to probiotics, Intolerance to fiber, Intolerance to fruit, Intolerance to gluten, Intolerance to milk products and early satiety.
There are many diseases and conditions that are associated with food sensitivity as well, including: arthritis, autoimmune diseases (including thyroid, Lupus and RA), osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency, anemia, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), eczema, migraines, gastritis, ulcer, alzheimer’s and more.
What is the best way to determine what your food sensitivities are?
The “Gold Standard” of food sensitivity testing is a complete elimination-challenge diet. This is where foods that are commonly problematic for people are eliminated for 4 weeks and then systematically re-introduced while monitoring symptoms. Food elimination diets are restrictive and can take a while. Some are happy to do this, while others would prefer something quicker.
IgG food sensitivity testing is the option for people who want something quicker. This is a blood draw that looks at your response to a wide variety of foods. It is different from skin-prick testing, which check for food allergy that we covered above – anaphylactic, IgE driven reactions. The two are different.
IgG food sensitivity testing is not perfect, but can give you a guide of where to start. Typically I look for a couple of different things when I get these results back. I look for 1-2 things to come back strongly, or many things to come back mild to moderate, or a mixture of the two. If there are many things that come back, this signifies leaky gut. If just a few things come back, those are foods to eliminate for 4 weeks and reintroduce later and monitor results.
In my clinic, I always conduct a gut restoration program with clients who are trying to figure out food sensitivities. This is to heal the gut, enhance digestive ability and to make sure beneficial bacteria are robust. Through this lens, you have a much better view as to what certain foods are doing to the body.
How does poor gastrointestinal health result in fat-loss resistance?
If you are not eliminating regularly, you have spent hormones and other metabolites that remain in the body and affect hormonal signaling negatively.
If you are eating a food that you are sensitive to, you are likely to turn off fat burning machinery and hold water through inflammatory molecules.
If you are having frequent loose stool, you may be impairing your absorptive capacity which will make fat loss difficult. In the short-term you may lose muscle and water, but a malnourished system will do its best to hold on to fat.
If you are having GI issues from being chronically stressed out and have damaged the metabolism, fat loss can be an issue because insulin and cortisol are not balanced. If blood sugar is out of control it is nearly impossible to burn fat.
What are the best foods for gastrointestinal health?
The best foods are the ones that you tolerate the best, which can vary widely person to person. Some of my favorites are : bone broth, grass-fed beef, free range chicken, asparagus, artichokes, cabbage, bok choi, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, gelatin, apples, coconut products, turmeric and non-dairy fermented products like kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha.
What would you recommend for busy moms to do if they feel they are having digestive issues that are stress related?
In addition to the above recommendations, busy moms may want to consider a gut restoration program. Gut restoration is a multi-faceted approach to eliminating digestive symptoms. Through eliminating food sensitivities, taking a probiotic, boosting up digestive ability and healing the lining of the digestive tract you can kick symptoms to the curb – for good. I have created a gut restoration program that is easy to adopt and that can be completed at your own pace.
Through my personal fat-loss coaching, I assist my clients in identifying when they may have gastrointestinal issues and with dealing with stress. To find out more about my programs, go HERE or email me at email@example.com.
Here are the links to find out more about Dr. Teta’s Gut Restoration Program or to connect with her:
She loves to connect on social media. Find her at:
YouTube: Jillian Teta