In my late 20s, seemingly out of nowhere, I noticed that every time I ate something with garlic or onions in it, I ended up bloated and plagued by heartburn. As someone who loves Italian food and had previously added garlic to pretty much everything I cooked, this was a major disappointment.
But this culinary drama has a happy ending. I eventually discovered that the reason why I ended up developing a sensitivity to garlic was likely because I was eating a lot of it. Once I eliminated it for a few months and focused on healing my gut, I was able to eat it again in moderation without issue.
I called Veracity advisor Dr. Gabrielle Francis to help me unpack what causes food sensitivities like this, how they differ from food allergies, and how they may affect your skin.
First Things First: Food Sensitivities Are Real
You probably know a person who is sensitive to gluten or dairy without having an actual allergy. Or maybe you, like me, feel bloated after eating certain foods that you used to be able to enjoy without regret.
Dr. Francis says that food sensitivities often develop later in life and can have reactions that occur anywhere from 20 minutes to 72 hours after eating. The root of these issues lies in the gut; they pop-up when your digestive system has trouble processing a certain type of food. This can happen in a variety of ways, for example when your digestive system struggles to adequately break down gluten, when you are deficient in an enzyme like lactase that’s needed to process the lactose in dairy, or because you have a genetic sensitivity to something like caffeine.