9

votes

Why are 'food sensitivities' and other similar conditions skyrocketing?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 07, 2013 at 12:44 AM

Why does it seem like within the last 5+ years, there are so many diagnoses of gluten allergies, food sensitivities, Celiac, Autism, etc...It seems like these are things that I never heard about 10 years ago. Are these really 'new' conditions or have doctors just never been able to put a name to the conditions before?
Is it possible that these are all conditions brought on by the SAD?

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:35 PM

I think you are onto something, in recent years counterfeit food and food ingredients has become a big problem, and draws criminals because the profits are high, and the jail time is low compared to things like drug trafficking.

0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:54 AM

GREAT answer! I would bet that GMOs are somewhere in this mix too.

0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:52 AM

Great answer! I would bet that GMOs are somewhere in this mix too.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 06:00 AM

That's inflammatory rhetoric zombie.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 05:54 AM

Activity made my diabetes and obesity go away. Diet worked to a point, but activity finished the job. And diet did nothing to lower blood pressure and raise HDL.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 10, 2012
at 04:21 AM

I forgot to add in my answer the double whammy of not going outside, beyond less D, also more exposure to chemicals from furniture, dust, and cleaning chemicals.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:31 AM

Maybe it fixed yours, but I worked out 5+ days a week pre-Paleo and gained a pound a year. I lost 15 pounds on Paleo without even trying, because I had a knee injury that kept me from major exercise for many months. I think diet is actually the #1 way we control the intersection between our inner and outer environments. Exercise is great, and certainly helpful, but it ain't the whole picture. If it was, a lot fewer people would have the issues they're having.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:07 AM

I don't go outside specifically for the Vitamin D, but that is another minor benefit.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 02:45 AM

Hunt-and-gather is the heart of paleo. Most people with food allergies would die eating the unsanitary near-garbage that paleos actually ate. Yet they persist in wanting to blame modern demons rather than do something that would improve their tolerance. Activity fixed my metabolism.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:33 PM

nail on the head.

46c9fbd45b82453f6a2dfe614a853314

(1876)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:22 PM

And that is why my son plays outside as much as possible (he is 8 months) and there is no electronic toys in our house and the tv is never on. We read several books a day and go out for walks as much as possible!

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 09, 2012
at 09:44 PM

These are all very valid points. As stated in the response above, it's amazing how many aspects have changed in my moderate-length lifetime. The companies are excellent at giving us what we think we want (low fat... here you go. healthy soy, same. No BPA - we'll replace it with a chemical not yet shown to cause cancer.)

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 09, 2012
at 09:41 PM

@thhg: my grandparents did an excellent job of killing themselves off early. However, at least they weren't doomed from the start as so many are now. The aspects that you mention are foisted upon children today from age 0. At least our grandparents waited until adulthood to embark upon these habits.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 09, 2012
at 09:39 PM

Great response, Amy. We are at a crossroads in terms living and eating in an evolutionarily novel manner. I'm the same age as you (actually, I was until last week) and we really are the first ones to be fully raised in this manner. Yet, I'd still argue things are very different in our youth than now. (e.g. McD's as core diet rather than a "treat".) The sanitizing aspect is a later addition as well. That being said, we have fully embraced each of these aspects. We'll see what happens to the children of our generation. They are being born to unhealthy parents and raised in an unhealthy society.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 09, 2012
at 09:28 PM

My grandparents weren't particularly healthy. They spent a lot of time sitting - in cars, at work and watching TV. I'm trying to unlearn this metabolism-hindering habit.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 09, 2012
at 09:26 PM

My grandparents weren't particularly healthy. They spent a lot of time sitting, in cars, at work and watching TV.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Very well thought answer.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:34 PM

#2 -- you are SO RIGHT about our overtaxed detox pathways.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Ditto...this is exactly how I was going to respond but much more eloquently written than what I would have said. Also, I'm 38 and for the first part of my childhood that I remember (ages 4-8) we lived with my grandmother in NJ and I don't really remember eating anything that was "crap." When I was 8 - in 1983 - we moved to Florida and both of my parents worked...a lot. So my diet was basically cereal, tater tots, steak-ums, etc. A "healthy" dinner was an iceberg lettuce salad loaded with cheap deli meat and ranch dressing. And don't even get me started on New Coke and HFCS.

6b365c14c646462210f3ef6b6fecace1

(1784)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:32 PM

aliens.... that's my guess.

  • 46c9fbd45b82453f6a2dfe614a853314

    asked by

    (1876)
  • Views
    1.7K
  • Last Activity
    1579D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

12 Answers

22
Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:26 PM

I think it's both: the medical world is starting to recognize that a lot of what were once considered idiopathic conditions (no identified cause) are finally being connected to gut health.

And gut health is SERIOUSLY compromised these days -- more than ever.

Why? Read Natasha Campbell McBride's GAPS book. More C-sections, more of us terrified of "bacteria" and sanitizing and sterilizing everything, individually wrapping and hermetically sealing everything -- never giving our bodies a chance to build up robust immune systems. Everything's pasteurized, irradiated, and generally d-e-a-d. Could also be the fact that wheat and soy have snuck into damn near everything. Buying supermarket pork sausage? Better read the label; chances are it has wheat and soy fillers. Wheat and soy - two of the most allergenic, irritating foods we've identified so far, and that's what they're adding to everything.

But most of all, I think this is the lesson from Pottenger's cat studies staring us in the face. My generation (I'm 33) is really the first generation that was fully raised on crap foods. HFCS entered the marketplace in 1985, I think, and the 80s were also when microwave cooking was huge. I'm not saying microwaving is inherently bad, but at least in my family, real food wasn't being cooked in the mic all that often. TV dinners, yes. Hot Pockets, yes. (In other words, processed crap.) So now that my generation (and people younger) are having children, our children are being born with the most compromised health. Some of our grandparents might be eating all kinds of garbage now, but they certainly weren't raised on it. It didn't enter their lives until their later years. So our parents were born healthier too, b/c our grandparents were eating real food prior to and after giving birth, and our parents were largely raised on better food too. (Even if they frequented the 1950s malt shop for shakes and fries and colas, the food landscape was still vastly different from what it is now. Remember, this was well before everything went low-fat and everyone was afraid of cholesterol.)

Health is a product not just of what we eat, but of what our parents ate, and what their parents ate. (Really awesome info on this in the book Deep Nutrition.) Thank goodness for the healing/regenerative capacity of the human body, because we can overcome a lot of whatever hindrances we might enter the world with. But there are certain things with regard to physical growth that are put into place literally in the womb, and we can only get so far sometimes.

Anyway, that's the very long way of saying these things are getting worse because they've been compounding over a couple generations. That's why we see more children with all kinds of issues these days, but it also explains the adults -- some of us have suffered "dietary abuse" for decades.

Edited to add: Just think of all the people who were put away in institutions years ago - people with schizophrenia, bipolar, autism (although they might have had different names for them at the time). These people were basically thrown away like trash and isolated from society. How many of them would have been fine if someone had only known to get them off wheat? (Or give them sauerkraut, bone broth...) Breaks my heart.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 09, 2012
at 09:28 PM

My grandparents weren't particularly healthy. They spent a lot of time sitting - in cars, at work and watching TV. I'm trying to unlearn this metabolism-hindering habit.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 09, 2012
at 09:41 PM

@thhg: my grandparents did an excellent job of killing themselves off early. However, at least they weren't doomed from the start as so many are now. The aspects that you mention are foisted upon children today from age 0. At least our grandparents waited until adulthood to embark upon these habits.

58c33847c5b7ecbf6572075df2cdd002

(866)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:33 PM

Ditto...this is exactly how I was going to respond but much more eloquently written than what I would have said. Also, I'm 38 and for the first part of my childhood that I remember (ages 4-8) we lived with my grandmother in NJ and I don't really remember eating anything that was "crap." When I was 8 - in 1983 - we moved to Florida and both of my parents worked...a lot. So my diet was basically cereal, tater tots, steak-ums, etc. A "healthy" dinner was an iceberg lettuce salad loaded with cheap deli meat and ranch dressing. And don't even get me started on New Coke and HFCS.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 09, 2012
at 09:26 PM

My grandparents weren't particularly healthy. They spent a lot of time sitting, in cars, at work and watching TV.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 09, 2012
at 09:39 PM

Great response, Amy. We are at a crossroads in terms living and eating in an evolutionarily novel manner. I'm the same age as you (actually, I was until last week) and we really are the first ones to be fully raised in this manner. Yet, I'd still argue things are very different in our youth than now. (e.g. McD's as core diet rather than a "treat".) The sanitizing aspect is a later addition as well. That being said, we have fully embraced each of these aspects. We'll see what happens to the children of our generation. They are being born to unhealthy parents and raised in an unhealthy society.

0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:54 AM

GREAT answer! I would bet that GMOs are somewhere in this mix too.

8
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:30 PM

My theory is that it is primarily a combination of 5 factors:

  1. The modern wheat hybrid that has been used in just about every baked good since the late 70's, which may be particularly bad at increasing gut permeability, breaking down that first line of defense, and allowing more whole proteins through to irritate the system, i.e. leaky gut.

  2. The sheer number of chemicals we are exposed to now is just amazing. So, we may be maxed out on our defenses just trying to maintain homeostasis in the face of our daily onslaught, and not have much wiggle room to deal with things that our system would find troublesome because we are already tapped out in our ability to respond without going over the top to a full on auto-immune response.

  3. High fructose corn syrup is in everything, and is a burden to process in the liver in any great quantity, leaving our main channel of removing the things that cause sensitivities from our bodies severely compromised.

  4. We don't go outside nearly as much as we did just one generation ago, so we don't have enough vitamin D on board to act as a steroid and minimize the symptoms of the things that we do react to.

  5. Both we and our and our animal food sources take so many antibiotics now, it amazes me that any of us have enough bacteria left in our guts to digest our food well enough for it not to cause problems.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Very well thought answer.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:07 AM

I don't go outside specifically for the Vitamin D, but that is another minor benefit.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on July 09, 2012
at 09:44 PM

These are all very valid points. As stated in the response above, it's amazing how many aspects have changed in my moderate-length lifetime. The companies are excellent at giving us what we think we want (low fat... here you go. healthy soy, same. No BPA - we'll replace it with a chemical not yet shown to cause cancer.)

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 10, 2012
at 04:21 AM

I forgot to add in my answer the double whammy of not going outside, beyond less D, also more exposure to chemicals from furniture, dust, and cleaning chemicals.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:34 PM

#2 -- you are SO RIGHT about our overtaxed detox pathways.

0242b468fe1c97997749db416c92e7ed

(4528)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:52 AM

Great answer! I would bet that GMOs are somewhere in this mix too.

7
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Interesting question. I think probably the number one reason has to be malnutrition. Yeah, most folks aren't starving in terms of calories, but nutrients.

Vitamin D - folks don't spend as much time outside as we used to.

Dietary fats - doesn't even have to mean EFAs, just fats in general. Kids are fed sugar instead of fat, that's a huge reason why they're literally starved for nutrition.

Whole foods - nutrients are packed as complexes, not isolated vitamins and minerals. Flintstones chewables prevent overt deficiency, they don't however provide optimum nutrition. There are 100s of chemicals in an apple or cabbage, other than the named vitamins and minerals we're accustomed to. They may have human biological function, maybe not essential functions, but vital functions for enhanced health.

I just watched Joel Salatin's presentation on the Real Food Summit yesterday and I thought a quote he used was very good:

When you rely on artificial manures to make artificial soil, then you grow artificial plants which make artificial animals which make artificial people who can only be kept alive with artificials. - Sir Albert Howard, 1940.

How ahead of the times that man was!

Of course, other have made good points regarding the gut microbiota. We don't yet know everything about the intricate song-and-dance these little buggers do and how it affects human health. It is something that has been largely ignored by modern medicine and nutrition. I'm sure there are numerous other factors in play as well.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:33 PM

nail on the head.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 09, 2012
at 11:16 PM

I think the downturn in the American diet started during WWII when, out of necessity, people started to use more fake ingredients like Crisco because there were shortages of real foods. This was exacerbated in the 1950's with the advent of convenience foods and lots of cakes, pies, breads, and processed foods and food producers began to find ways to produce cheaper versions of real foods and to make more money.

In the 1970's and 1980's the food companies got more aggressive and smarter in how they produced and marketed their products, for example the Coca Cola company changed from just trying to have a significant market share of the soft drink market from having a significant percentage of the liquids that people consume, the so-called "share of the stomach" strategy.

This trend accelerated in the 1990's and 2000's with new "inventions" like high fructose corn syrup, factory farming, and a general corruption of the food production and delivery system that made food more and more processed and less and less nutritious.

The previous generation born in the 1930's and 1940's at "real" food as kids and probably kept those eating habits as food quality in the country declined. But people born in the 1960's and 1970's spent their entire life eating crap foods, and some were never even around people who ate real food. They have also had the government, doctors, and food companies tell them their entire lives that processed foods are delicious and nutritious and that they should avoid the foods that their parents and grandparents ate.

This is coming to a head now because those people are getting to the age when poor diet catches up to them and causes problems. If these trends continue, people will get sicker younger and nobody will even remember what it was like to eat real food.

2
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:56 PM

We mess with our food system, then our food will mess with us. Gut flora, hybrid products, mechanical changes...

2
1133603ea602c6824da56e8b596c9754

on July 09, 2012
at 07:17 PM

I am no doctor or scientist, but I think most of these problems stem from compromised or altered gut flora. Diet plays a big role in that.

2
892d177f50b16f118152219229870e4e

(776)

on July 09, 2012
at 07:16 PM

I think it is probably more because of advances in medical technology resulting in better testing methods.

Also,I would not be surprised if over sanitation and gut flora issues are major factors involved in most of the sensitivities and intolerances.

1
8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

I think the internet has a lot to do with it. We are more likely to play Dr. Google when something is wrong and to take that info to our Doc. We're more likely to chat about icky bowel and skin conditions. We can compare notes with others without having an uncomfortable conversation with a friend or family member.

May my non-existent higher entity bless the internet.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 06:00 AM

That's inflammatory rhetoric zombie.

1
1b70b657323a487df968db32e69e6a22

on September 25, 2012
at 06:18 PM

I suspect something entered the food supply about fifteen years ago. Something nutritionally poisonous or dangerous to humans and also household pets. From my own observations, it is possibly something in bread products or maybe flour -- some additive, some process, maybe -- that causes chronic inflammation that then produces all manner of symptoms.

I say this because the obesity and allergies phenomenon is now a problem in countries that do not follow a SAD nor had a similar nutritional timeline to the US in terms of packaged or processed foods: countries like Turkey, the Gulf States, Iran, and Southern European countries -- places where no one ever cooked in Crisco, a lot of food is still largely cooked at home, and children were not brought up drinking full sugar sodas and fast-food burgers.

My gut feeling is that it is an ingredient, or ingredients, that has infiltrated food products all around the world.

I have a lot of reasons for thinking down this line. For example, my grandmother lived on bread and cake all her life (she wouldn't eat vegetables). Yes, she was overweight and developed diabetes in her 70s, but she was not obese at the levels we now see, nor did she ever have any other health problems. I knew kids growing up that lived on sweets. No allergies, no ADHD symptoms, and everyone was very skinny.

Yet about fifteen years ago, all of a sudden, people I knew started struggling with their weight, despite not really changing their diets. Then we had children born in our family with food allergies. And the weird thing? People I knew started to develop mental health problems: anxiety, depression, things like that -- and these were people who lived fairly healthy lives with lots of exercise and fresh air and who never ate processed food.

For myself, about ten years ago, I started slamming on weight. And I couldn't get it off, no matter how much I reduced my calorific intake. But here is the thing...I hadn't changed my diet or my exercise behaviour, and I home-cooked food and nothing processed apart from bread and pasta came into our house. And I remember telling my husband about five years ago that, if I didn't know better, I would suspect I was being poisoned somehow.

I think I was. And I think a lot of other people have been too. Too many people I know report health problems disappearing when they give up bread -- to the extent it is unnerving. And what is even more unnerving is what happens when some of these people eat bread again. I have a friend that will have a menstrual bleed about 24 to 48 hours after eating a processed bread product, no matter where she is in her cycle. Another friend says her GERD disappeared overnight when she gave up bread.

I think it is something you get in bread products. Soy maybe? Or some new strain of wheat? But it is something that is relatively recent, because no-one in my family knew anyone with these kinds of problems twenty or thirty years ago, and everyone ate bread then.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 25, 2012
at 07:35 PM

I think you are onto something, in recent years counterfeit food and food ingredients has become a big problem, and draws criminals because the profits are high, and the jail time is low compared to things like drug trafficking.

1
94480caec9fbbaacc386d86a45efa720

(1007)

on September 25, 2012
at 11:19 AM

Two points specific to celiac disease: the testing methods improved right around 2003/2004 when the anti-tTg became the de facto blood test to look for celiac - it's not perfect (too many false negatives) but still is very specific for celiac so there's better testing than previously available. Additionally, Dr. Joseph Murray of Mayo has found via comparing frozen bloodsamples from the fifties to bloodsamples from current population that celiac incidence has increased in occurrence, not just in diagnosis.

Dr. Murray, great lilt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKwKQ7W9qlM

brief text link: http://newsblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/06/29/celiac-disease-prevalence-and-mortality/

abstract: http://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085%2809%2900523-X/abstract

I don't believe he hazards to guess why there is a greater occurrence now but just states that "environmental factors" are the likely cause.

0
6d99825c84f631799783827341e57bc6

on July 10, 2012
at 03:07 AM

About 10 years ago while doing IT work at a hospital I had a very interesting talk with a doctor about hormones in food. Without going into too many "icky" (heh) girl terms the reality is that women are entering puberty earlier, and subsequently losing "child bearing years" later in life.

This is just one example of how our food has altered how our body develops. Add to that medicines that aren't widely used outside the US (usually used for behavior modification including ADHD), plus everything else this board talks about, and it isn't a surprise that we have the problems we do.

0
Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 09, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Rampant sedentism.

Kids that stay indoors and play with PC's and handhelds instead of playing outside.

Mechanized transportation.

Diet is somewhat important, but living is more important. Having a carb-friendly metabolism requires the ability to clear bloodstream glucose quickly, and muscles do this nicely if they are used.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 02:45 AM

Hunt-and-gather is the heart of paleo. Most people with food allergies would die eating the unsanitary near-garbage that paleos actually ate. Yet they persist in wanting to blame modern demons rather than do something that would improve their tolerance. Activity fixed my metabolism.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on July 10, 2012
at 05:54 AM

Activity made my diabetes and obesity go away. Diet worked to a point, but activity finished the job. And diet did nothing to lower blood pressure and raise HDL.

46c9fbd45b82453f6a2dfe614a853314

(1876)

on July 09, 2012
at 10:22 PM

And that is why my son plays outside as much as possible (he is 8 months) and there is no electronic toys in our house and the tv is never on. We read several books a day and go out for walks as much as possible!

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on July 10, 2012
at 03:31 AM

Maybe it fixed yours, but I worked out 5+ days a week pre-Paleo and gained a pound a year. I lost 15 pounds on Paleo without even trying, because I had a knee injury that kept me from major exercise for many months. I think diet is actually the #1 way we control the intersection between our inner and outer environments. Exercise is great, and certainly helpful, but it ain't the whole picture. If it was, a lot fewer people would have the issues they're having.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!