The Hashimoto's Doctor

Food allergies can prevent weight loss


I learned I have intolerances and allergies to certain foods, and that I need to avoid those foods if I want to lose weight. Isn’t it just a matter of eating fewer calories?


Some people find they can’t lose weight through calorie restriction alone. When that happens several issues need to be investigated. One of the most important is food intolerances. Eating foods to which you are allergic or intolerant will prevent weight loss.

Food intolerances cause inflammation

Food intolerances and allergies create inflammation, and inflammation prevents weight loss. Every time you eat gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, or some other food that may be a problem for you, you create inflammation in your body.

Leaky gut is a primary culprit

For many people today, a variety of foods trigger inflammation. This is due largely to intestinal permeability, or “leaky gut,” which allows undigested food particles to slip into the bloodstream through damaged and inflamed intestinal walls. Leaky gut is very common today due to poor diets, excessive sweets, chronic stress, and other maladies of modern life. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are also common and cause leaky gut.

As these food particles circulate throughout the body the immune system responds by attacking and destroying them for removal, just as it would respond to a viral or bacterial infection. Unfortunately, if the food is eaten regularly, this keeps the immune system constantly at work, hence creating chronic inflammation. Symptoms can be obvious in the way of joint pain, skin issues, abdominal pain, or even brain fog, memory loss, or moodiness. Sometimes the inflammation is not obvious, yet a person finds she or he can’t lose weight.

Inflammation halts weight loss

Studies show the immune compounds that cause inflammation also make insulin receptors less sensitive, creating insulin resistance. As a result glucose can’t get into cells and blood sugar becomes too high. The body lowers blood sugar by converting it to fat for storage. Insulin resistance also hinders fat burning.

Inflammation also has been shown to cause leptin resistance, which stimulates hunger and promotes fat storage. Furthermore, excess body fat secretes immune messenger cells that trigger inflammation, promoting a vicious cycle that prevents weight loss.

Although moderating caloric intake and exercising are recommended for weight loss, effective and lasting weight loss depends in part on tackling chronic inflammation and food sensitivities.

  1. jason @ cinnamon agency Reply

    Certainly something that a lot of people aren’t aware of, including me. Luckily I don’t have any allergies that I am aware of, but then again, I can’t lose weight either.

    Maybe I have an allergy to diets?

    • bshook Reply

      Ha! That’s funny but also true, many people do yo-yo and often are in worse shape after dieting. What you can do is eat a paleo diet for 30 days and see how you feel. i haven’t met a single person that has tried a paleo diet that didn’t lose weight and feel much better after. Give it a try and see how you feel. Let me know how you do if you decide to try the paleo diet.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Jen Reply

    This helped explain a lot. I have started to worry that something serious was causing my loss in inches and weight. Since being diagnosed with a severe soy allergy 3 months ago I have lost 25 pounds and 2 sizes and am continuing to lose. Its amazing how much a food allergy can affect. My seasonal allergies are better, I am healthier (no more chronic sinus infections), and my anxiety is no longer an issue. How many people suffer from food allergies and don’t know it? Thanks again for explaining how an allergy can affect digestion and weight.

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