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Sinclair Cares: Detecting food sensitivities

Food sensitivities and food allergies are two different things. (SBG)

For Teri Barbera, every meal ended badly.

"I would feel bloated. I would barely make it through an afternoon after having lunch without being sick or having to run to a restroom," Barbera said.

She suffered with digestive issues for years.

Today, it's called toxic food syndrome. Certain foods and chemicals trigger an inflammatory reaction in the body, which makes a person sick.

The MRT, or mediator release test, is one of the tests available that reveals food sensitivities. It works by measuring how the blood reacts to different foods and chemicals.

The levels of reactivity are broken down into three categories: green is non-reactive, yellow is moderately reactive, and red is reactive.

"It's hard to stop the immune system from working because we need it, but when it becomes hyperactive or over-reactive it makes us sick," said Julianne Koritz, a registered licensed dietitian.

Koritz said this is not a food allergy. Those reactions are swift and severe.

These results are for food sensitivities, which are chronic and involve dozens of foods and chemicals.

"So, what you ate three days ago could affect you today. What you ate today will affect you three days from now," Koritz said.

For Barbera, the test was eye-opening. The first phase of her diet was very restrictive.

"I couldn't do bread anymore. I couldn't do alcoholic drinks anymore. I had to change my whole life," Barbera said.

Slowly, the more reactive foods are reintroduced into the diet.

Patients said the digestive issues, the skin rashes and the migraines disappear.

"Now, the gut's working absorbing all the nutrients. All the different organs start functioning together better and so you just feel better," Koritz said.

Barbera said she doesn't have those problems after lunch anymore. She even lost 15 pounds.

"This saved my life," Barbera said. "I feel like a new person."

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