Preventing Food Sensitivities

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by Ryan Whitcomb, MS, RD, CLT

As a dietitian who works with clients that suffer from food sensitivities, I’m often asked what can be done to prevent them in the first place. This is a great question, and although it’s difficult to answer succinctly, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing them … if you haven’t already developed them. 

The most important thing to understand is that once food sensitivities are present, the first thing you must do is remove them from your diet completely. Failure to do so will continue whatever symptoms you have. 

Once these foods are gone, the next thing is to reduce your overall exposure to toxins. I don’t mean avoid completely (that’s impossible; toxins are everywhere) but reduce where you can.  One place where many people have constant exposure is their water supply.

Ditch your water filter and opt for a reverse osmosis filtration system. Though municipalities filter drinking water to some degree, they typically add chlorine to disinfect the water—yuck!  Store brand filters help somewhat, but if you want the purest water possible, opt for a reverse osmosis filter. You can get countertop, under the sink and whole-house systems, depending on your needs and budget.

When it comes to your diet, eat more fiber. Fiber isn’t just for losing weight or lowering cholesterol, it also traps chemicals and toxins in the body and pulls them out in the stool. Most people get around 12 grams per day, which is not nearly enough. Women need at least 25 grams per day and men need 38 grams, but your fiber needs may vary depending on your medical condition. Don’t overdo it—adding in too much too soon will cause GI (gastrointestinal) upset!  Increase water intake during this time to prevent dehydration.   

Finally, sweat. Sweating is a great way to release toxins stored in the body. How and where you sweat is irrelevant, as long as you do it and do it often. Sweat in the sauna, sweat at hot yoga, or sweat doing any vigorous exercise, just make sure you’re medically cleared to do whatever activity it is you’d like to do. 

These are just some ideas to help you, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Why one develops food sensitivities has everything to do with the state of their gut, so make sure your gut is in tip-top shape. These tips will help! 

Source: Ryan Whitcomb, MS, RD, CLT, owner of GUT RXN Nutrition, a private practice where he treats individuals with digestive disorders and chronic inflammation related to food sensitivities. For more information, call 866-321-2035 or visit

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