Intolerance to food and perhaps chemicals can be a reason for being overweight or underweight, since it appears to have direct effect on appetite, food craving, and fluid retention, and on the way the body controls weight and blood sugar levels.

Food craving is a common symptom in people with food intolerance. In many cases the foods that are craved are the ones causing the intolerance. Once these are eliminated from the diet, the craving usually disappears. Sometimes chromium and magnesium deficiencies also need to be reversed, either by improving the diet or by taking supplements. Sugar craving, however, can also be a symptom of candida or the result of eating too much refined sugar.

Food intolerance can also cause loss appetite and weight loss, which usually resolves when the culprits are withdrawn. A long standing lack of appetite may cause mineral deficiencies, especially of magnesium and zinc, which will need to be corrected, if necessary by taking supplements.

What you can do to avoid weight problems

– try keeping a food, mood and symptom diary for a few weeks. This may help to identify foods that you crave and perhaps have an intolerance to

– adopt a healthful diet, in which calories are restricted to about 1,500 per day for women and 1,800 for men. These should be increased if weight loss exceeds 900 grams per week after the first couple of weeks when fluid is lost

– at the same time, start an exercise program. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes moderate exercise five days a week. This does not have to be taken all at once; a brisk 10 to 15 minute walk to a store can be counted. Try walking up stairs instead of taking an elevator, if this makes you breathless, start walking down first.

– if you follow these measures for 2 to 3 months without losing weight, you may be intolerant of one or more foods. Following the diet plan may be helpful

– in addition to the above, it may be worth reducing your exposure to chemicals, as these can cause food cravings and fluid retention.