EP 14: Food Allergies Cause Weight Gain Part 2

In this episode, Dr. Agolli & Dr. Burdette continue the discussion on how your food allergies can cause weight gain and what you can do to fix it.


Food allergies can cause weight gain as a result of immune system activation. The immune system creates inflammation, which in turn leads to chronic cortisol production and insulin resistance. When insulin levels are consistently raised it becomes difficult to lose weight1.

Food allergies cause weight gain by stimulating the immune system, which creates inflammation. Cortisol is produced to combat inflammation, but cortisol also raises blood sugar, which leads to insulin resistance and the body in fat storage mode. The cause of the inflammation needs to be removed to stop this vicious cycle1.

Many foods can cause allergies, but some are more common than others. Almost 90% of all serious food allergies are related to proteins (allergens) in nine foods: milk, soy, egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, and sesame1.

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) identifies the eight most common allergenic foods. These major food allergens make up 90% of food allergic reactions in the United States: Milk, Eggs, Fish (e.g., bass, flounder, cod), Crustacean shellfish (e.g., crab, lobster, shrimp), Tree nuts (e.g., almonds, walnuts, pecans), Peanuts, Wheat and Soybeans2.

The biggest difference between food allergy and food intolerance is the body system in charge of the response. The immune system is responsible for the process that causes a food allergy, whereas the digestive system is in charge of the food intolerance response1.

A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods. Food intolerance is more common than food allergy and is not caused by the immune system2.

Physical reactions to certain foods are common, but most are caused by a food intolerance rather than a food allergy. A food intolerance can cause some of the same signs and symptoms as a food allergy, so people often confuse the two. A true food allergy affects the immune system. Even small amounts of the offending food can trigger a range of symptoms, which can be severe or life-threatening. In contrast, a food intolerance often affects only the digestive system and causes less serious symptoms3.

Food sensitivities don’t directly contribute to weight gain in the sense that a food sensitivity will make your body produce excess fat. Only the actual foods that you eat can do that1. However, the symptoms of food sensitivities can sometimes have a ripple effect that indirectly leads to weight gain. For example, if a food sensitivity makes you feel lethargic, you may be inclined to skip your workout or otherwise reduce your activity level2.

Food sensitivities can cause inflammation and weight gain as a result of cortisol consistently stimulating elevated insulin levels that keep the body in fat storage mode.