Feature Image by Lukas Budimaier

Do you eat fairly healthy and exercise regularly but continue to feel lethargic, bloated, or struggle with skin breakouts? You might be dealing with a food sensitivity. In comparison to food allergies, though, the symptoms of food sensitivity can take longer to appear, which is why it’s more difficult to catch.

So how do you know which foods in your diet are negatively affecting your body? We break down how to determine if you have a food sensitivity below.

Food sensitivities vs. food allergies
“While most people will discover food allergies based on extreme reactions, like anaphylaxis or hives, and immediate response times, people with food sensitivities may never realize the issue because of the delayed response times and vague symptoms that mirror common ailments,” explains Dr. Marra Francis, EverlyWell Medical Director. According to Francis, an allergy is “an immune response to a specific food, mediated by immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies, [and a food sensitivity is] a poorly-understood reaction to food that may be associated with increased levels of other antibodies.”

Most common symptoms
“Acne, brain fog, dry and itchy skin, rashes or eczema, a bloated stomach after eating, or other gastrointestinal issues like gas, loose stools, or constipation, fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, reflux, migraines, difficulty losing weight, depression, mood swings, runny nose, headache, and trouble sleeping can all be signs of a food sensitivity,” says Dr. Frank Lipman, best-selling author and creator of Be Well.

How to pinpoint your sensitivities
Lipman suggests that eliminating the most common allergens from your diet for two to three weeks may help you discover your food sensitivities. Gluten and grains, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, peanuts and legumes, beans, refined sugar, processed foods, and nightshade vegetables are best to eliminate in your diet when testing for food sensitivity. You then reintroduce one food at a time to test the reactions. Your body will have a hyper reaction to the foods you’re sensitive to, making it easier to identify. 

Do a take-home blood test
At-home kits make it super easy to figure out your food sensitivities from the comfort of your own home. “EverlyWell Food Sensitivity Test measures your body’s IgG immune response to 96 foods that are commonly found in western diets and can offer guidance on what foods may be the best to eliminate,” Francis says. You’ll receive a report highlighting each food item on a reactivity scale, helping you identify which foods to eliminate from your diet.

Trust your gut
There might be more contributing to your food sensitivity than you think. An imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut may actually be the root of the issue. “If you continue putting these foods you’re sensitive to into an unbalanced microbiome in your gut, you will keep having inflammation and long-term, bigger health issues,” Lipman explains.  

xx, The FabFitFun Team