When we think of how our diets differ from our ancestors, we often focus on how “processed” our food is, but many other differences exist.

Some people recognize that we consume far more dairy products and harvested grains than the generations before us did -- which may relate to the modern prevalence of “lactose” and “gluten” intolerance.

Another major difference between our diet and those that came before us is the sheer diversity in our diets. Our ancestors were limited to how many plants they could forage and harvest by what was located nearby and their overall geography. Only in these modern times can you eat -- in the same day -- tropical fruit, avocados, legumes, berries, fish, cattle, and so much more.

While the diversity in our diet has many advantages, it comes with certain costs. For example, while some of us do not have the digestive function to handle a significant amount of dairy or grains -- lactose and gluten intolerance respectively -- many more may not have the ability to digest other foods in our diverse diet that our ancestors were not exposed to.

Some of these “new foods” can then cause:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersensitivity symptoms (rash, cough)

Sometimes we recognize a certain food causes these symptoms, and we can remove the food from our diets for relief -- a measure called Food Elimination. This is especially the case when that food, like broccoli, bananas, etc., is typically eaten on its own and recognizable as the cause. Now, most of the meals we eat have so many ingredients that isolating what foods may be causing issues is far more complicated. In that situation, food sensitivity testing can be helpful.

The amount of IgG antibody reaction to specific foods. which the food sensitivity test at EverlyWell measures, can offer guidance as to what foods to prioritize in an elimination plan. By beginning with higher reactivity foods and, as needed, working down, people can key in on which foods are more likely to be causing their symptoms of intolerance.

While antibody reaction may not equate with symptoms and is not diagnostic of severe food intolerances such as lactose and gluten intolerance, studies have confirmed that using antibody levels as guidance for food elimination can help relieve food-related physical symptoms faster and more effectively than random food elimination.

Whether using food sensitivity guidance or not, the improvement of symptoms with elimination of food is the ultimate test.

Though humans are omnivores, our digestive systems can have certain limits. Often it is difficult to know where those limits might be, so having objective testing that can offer guidance as to what to prioritize in elimination can give us a great place to start.