Is your diet causing bloating or fatigue? Get to the bottom of your food sensitivity

Banu Ibrahim, CNN Underscored
Updated Wed January 16, 2019

The foods you eat can potentially determine how your skin looks and feels, your energy levels, and whether you look or feel bloated, along with whether and how you experience joint pain, headaches and more. To put it simply, you are what you eat.

The easy part is acknowledging that the food you put into your body is a major factor in how you look and feel. The harder part of the equation is pinpointing which ingredients are negatively affecting you.

One company hoping to make food sensitivity discovery easier is Everlywell. You may remember the company from an episode of "Shark Tank," where it secured a million-dollar deal from Shark Lori Greiner. In much the same way that DNA services better understand their ancestry and heritage, Everlywell helps users better understand their health. These tests range from general wellness to sexual health to genomics, and a lot in between.

Of the 30-plus tests Everlywell offers, one in particular that caught our eye is its Food Sensitivity Test ($159; everlywell.com). As someone who has tried to pinpoint food sensitivities through some grueling diet changes (cough, cough -- Whole 30), I found the test results to be an easier way to prioritize foods for an elimination diet rather than just completely cutting out all the foods I love for a month or more.

With the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test, you submit a finger-prick blood sample and send off your kit to be reviewed by a board-certified physician. Your DNA sample is tested against 96 different foods, including specific types of dairy, grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, seafood, seeds and spices. From there, you'll receive a breakdown of your results, including your levels of reactivity to each food tested, actionable insights to help guide your food decision-making, and resources to help you learn more about your results. It is important to note that this test is a measure of food reactivity, which is different from having a serious food allergy.

The goal here is to figure out what foods may be the culprits behind your bloating, fatigue, dry skin, headaches, stomach pain or other issues. And while this test is certainly not the be-all and end-all to how you approach food, it can help you reach a better understanding of how the ingredients you put into your body can play a crucial role in your overall well-being.

Looking to take your results one step further? Everlywell also offers a Food Sensitivity+ kit ($231.99; everlywell.com), which requires two DNA samples -- one sent to Helix and one to Everlywell. (Those who have previously submitted at DNA kit to Helix can score this more complex kit for just $199.) Essentially this is a combination of a genetic test and a biomarker test, where the Food Sensitivity+ kit offers insights both from your genes and from your exposure and immune responses to certain foods. This kit requires both a saliva sample and a finger-prick one. The first is to provide information about how your genes affect your absorption of certain foods and vitamins, and the second to examine your body's sensitivity to each food. This is a more holistic look at food sensitivity, as Everlywell notes that "your DNA may identify a sensitivity, but your diet and preferences may make up for this sensitivity."

No matter which test you decide on, we think its an easier (and probably more accurate) alternative to fad dieting or playing the guessing game of what foods you react to. And we're all for products that cut down on guesswork.