The Wellness Hour, the leader in medical news and information, recently aired an interview with Dr. Fred Pescatore, MD, author of New York Times' Best Seller The Hamptons Diet, former Medical Director of the Atkins Center for five years, and advisor to celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Hudson.
During the program, Dr. Pescatore speaks about how food sensitivities, or hidden food allergies, can cause health problems like nasal allergies, asthma, eczema, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, migraine headaches, fatigue, and weight gain.
The ALCAT test, a simple blood test now available in the comfort of your own home, can detect these hidden food allergies by measuring the inflammatory responses of your immune system cells when your blood is exposed to specific foods.
Dr. Pescatore explains the difference between true food allergies and food sensitivities: "Food allergies and food sensitivities are two completely different things. Food allergies, you generally know about because your throat will close up, you'll get hives, you'll have all sorts of bad things happen to you. You can die from a food allergy."
"Food sensitivies, on the other hand, which the ALCAT test measures - it measures things that are a little more subtle - things you may never realize are bothering your body."
Food sensitivities, also known as food intolerances and delayed food allergies, may not cause a inflammatory reaction until 72 hours after the offending food is ingested.
"Most people don't know what their food sensitivities are. They could be the things you're eating every single day. It could be the one thing that's actually preventing you from getting to your goal weight," says Dr. Pescatore.
"When you're measuring these sensitivities, you're measuring something that's causing your body to be inflamed, and when your body's inflamed, it can't function properly. Your metabolism can't function properly. Your digestive system can't function properly. Your body can't metabolize food and nutrients properly. That's why it's so important that we have tests like the ALCAT test."
"I've been using the ALCAT test maybe 10 years now... The thing that surprised me about the ALCAT test was how accurate it is," says Dr. Pescatore. The ALCAT test helps Dr. Pescatore personalize and customize diet plans for his patients. "Everbody's body is different, and that's what makes the ALCAT test so important."
"People are sometimes shocked when they get the test results back," continues Dr. Pescatore. "And then they don't believe it - because they say, 'These are the foods I eat everyday.'"
"With a true food allergy, you'll never be able to eat that food again. With a food sensitivity, you'll be able to get it back into your diet at some point. But you've got to heal the inflammation that these foods are causing, or you'll never be able to lose weight."
"People are born with [true] food allergies," continues Dr. Pescatore. "They're not born with food sensitivities generally. Food sensitivities are environmentally based. You develop them because of how you eat, what you eat, and what you come in contact with."
Dr. Pescatore explains how food sensitivities develop: "Microscopic, little undigested food particles get caught in your blood stream, then your body says, 'Wait a minute, this isn't supposed to be here. This is a foreign body.' It's a foreign invader. So it sets up this whole cascade of immune system responses. You have to remember, most of our immune system cells reside in our digestive tract... When that's not functioning properly, so many things can go wrong: Migraine headaches, indigestion, weight gain, inability to lose weight, headaches, allergies, eczema, arthritis."
"I could probably list 40 or 50 different symptoms," says Dr. Pescatore.
"I think everyone should get an ALCAT test. Everybody in America needs an ALCAT test. if you're suffering from inability to lose weight, if you've got fatigue, if you've got hair problems, if you've got indigestion, if you've got arthritis, if you've got any inflammatory condition whatsoever, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, anything, you need to get an ALCAT test. There's no reason why you should have any level of inflammation going on in your body. Eczema, allergies, psoriasis, asthma - everybody who suffers from any one of those things needs this test."
Patients who follow a diet plan based on the ALCAT test often experience a boost in energy as well as weight loss. Dr. Pescatore says, "Anytime you eliminate something that's an offender in your body, you're going to have more energy."
Dr. Pescatore says that the ALCAT test works well for uncovering food sensitivities in children as well: "Thirty percent of my practice is pediatrics, and every one of them will get this test done. I like to do it after they finish nursing, then at two, then at three, then at six."
The ALCAT test can also measure sensitivities to food additives, food colorings, preservatives, environmental chemicals, drugs, and different types of mold. To learn more about the ALCAT test, see our article "Are Your Hidden Food Allergies Making You Fat?" featuring Roger Deutsch, co-developer of the ALCAT test and co-author of the book Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat.