About Food Intolerance
Food intolerance, not to be confused with food allergy, refers to difficulties in digesting specific food proteins. While food allergies trigger your immune system, food intolerance does not. With food intolerance, you may suffer digestive problems after you eat certain types of foods, even though your immune system is not reacting to the food. There isn’t a histamine response.
Some of the more common intolerances include gluten (some grains) and lactose (dairy).
An in-depth article in Medical News Today provides information on the symptoms and signs of food intolerance. It discusses possible food intolerance causes, how it is confirmed or diagnosed and the differences between food intolerance and food allergies.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Food Intolerance?
Some signs of food allergies and food intolerance overlap, so the definitive diagnosis can be difficult. With food intolerance, smaller amounts can often be tolerated without any symptoms.
Food intolerance symptoms usually take longer to appear, as compared to allergies to food. Onset may occur within a few hours after the offending food is ingested. It may even persist for several hours or several days.
If you are intolerant to several different food proteins, it may be harder for your physician to determine whether your symptoms are caused by food intolerance or chronic illness. Identifying individual foods that cause problems can be time-consuming.
The most common food intolerance symptoms, according to the Australian NSW Food Authority include:
- Headaches or migraines
- Runny nose
- Stomach ache
- Irritable bowels
What Causes Food Intolerance?
Strictly speaking, food intolerance is caused by the absence of a specific enzyme. These are needed for full digestion. If any of these enzymes are insufficient or missing, this can undermine proper digestion.
Food intolerance may also be caused by chemicals in drinks or foods. You may be more or less susceptible to these chemicals than other people.
Food intolerance May Be Caused by Food Additives
Intolerance to food additives has been a problem that is steadily increasing. Food additives enhance flavours, increase shelf life of foods and make them appear more appealing. Some food additives include:
- Artificial flavourings
- Artificial colourings
- Flavour enhancers
Only a small number of the additives used today actually cause problems.
Some food additives that have been proven to cause reactions include:
Nitrates – These cause skin rashes and itching. They are commonly found in processed meats.
Sulfites – These are used to preserve or enhance foods and are commonly found in wine.
Food Intolerance Can Improve
If you stop eating a food for awhile that has caused you intolerance symptoms, you may find that you will not have a reaction when you eat it. Maintaining this tolerance is a matter of knowing how long to wait between eating these foods, and how much of them you can eat without causing symptoms, when they are reintroduced into your diet.
If you have any questions relating to nutrition issues or food intolerance, contact us today to make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.