Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Piling on the pounds?
Blame it on your 'trigger food'.
Studies in the United States have found that eating trigger foods - foods as common as oranges, cucumbers, fish or wheat - can cause you to stay overweight.
They could also be the reason behind your migraine, asthma, fatigue or digestive problems.
Food intolerance is not a new phenomenon, but has stayed "hidden" to many people around the world.
Now, a revolutionary test that can pinpoint your personal triggers has arrived to Malaysian shores.
The Alcat test is the only test that can detect intolerances to foods and other substances. It has been in use for 17 years in over 100,000 cases worldwide.
The test measures cells responses to over 250 commonly encountered foods, additives, colourings, herbs, chemicals, drugs and moulds.
It is 83 per cent and 96 per cent accurate with foods and food additives respectively.
"Our bodies are not meant to eat just about everything in the supermarket today," said Roger Davis Deutsch, founder and CEO of Cells Science Systems Ltd, which manufactures Alcat test kits.
Food allergy, he said, was a big problem which affects a small number of people.
Intolerance to food, on the other hand, is becoming more prevalent because of people's increasing exposure to chemicals and food substances through commercialisation of agriculture and fast food.
"Food intolerance is playing a major role in diseases which are on the rise - metabolic disorders, inflammatory diseases, behavioural problems with children."
"And people don't know (about it). Reactions are not immediate, making it harder to pinpoint the cause."
When one consumes trigger food, the immune system gets confused, thinking that this food is a danger, and attacks it.
In the process, it causes damage to the body and disrupts chemical processes. Irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, headache and hyperactivity are signs "the body is telling you that a food or chemical has to be avoided".
"The immune system is a double edged sword. It protects you from harm like viruses and bacteria, but also produces these negative symptoms triggered by these foods."
Each person reacted to various foods differently, he said.
"It's called biochemical individuality. One man's meat is another man's poison. For example, basil constricts my chest and gives me breathing difficulties."
In the case of obesity, trigger foods activate the immune system to produce chemicals that block the insulin receptors. This causes sugar to be stored as fat.
The disruption of brain chemistry also makes one crave for sugar and to overeat.
From test results, a diet plan that eliminates foods that disturbs an individual's metabolism and causes inflammation can be drawn up.
"Avoidance is the foundation. If it's a medical condition, you have to have medical advice," said Deutsch, who was in town last week to attend the launch of Alcat.
Pathology & Clinical Laboratory (M) Sdn Bhd (Pathlab) has been appointed as the sole testing agent and exclusive rights distributor in the country.