Food Allergy Addiction Cycle

It is easy to get caught in an addictive cycle with foods that we have mild immune responses to. When we eat these foods, it triggers a stress response which causes a disruption in metabolism and increases our cortisol (stress hormone) and dopamine (happy neurotransmitter) levels. This initially boosts our mood and makes us energized but then leads to a drop in hormone and neurotransmitter levels causing inflammation, nutrient depletion, cravings, and mood disruption. We can develop an immune response to any type of food, but the most common immune-provoking foods are: grains, commercial dairy, nuts and seeds, corn, soy, eggs, other allergenic foods, sugar, GMO foods, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, alcohol, and foods with added chemicals. We are also likely to develop an immune response to any food that we repeatedly consume, especially when leaky gut is present.


The stress response coincides with an immune system response, which sees the food particles as foreign invaders and produces inflammation. Repeated immune response contributes to:

  • Increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut)

  • Imbalance of gut bacteria

  • Compromised immune system

  • Weight gain or loss

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Systemic inflammation

  • HPA-axis dysfunction (insomnia, fatigue, anxiety)

  • Hormone imbalance

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Sadness

  • Irritability

  • Anger

  • Mood swings

  • Brain fog

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Poor memory

  • Mental fatigue

Steps to address food sensitivity:

  • Completely eliminate food from diet for 3-4 weeks

  • Reintroduce the food and be aware any adverse response

  • If there is no response, ingestion can be continued moderately or occasionally (repeated exposure causes higher concentration of antibodies)

  • If there is a response, continue to eliminate the food and until you can tolerate it

Food allergies usually suggest a deeper issue with the immune system or gut, so it’s best to consult a practitioner to address any underlying causes.