Food intolerances are when a person cannot digest or has difficulty digesting certain ingredients in foods that cause a person to feel stomach pain, bloating, itching, etc. Some common food intolerances include casein, a protein found in milk, lactose, a sugar found in milk, and gluten, which comes from certain grains like wheat, rye, and barley.
Studies suggest that nearly 20% of the population may have a food intolerance, but many might simply ignore their symptoms and believe their reactions to certain foods are normal.
Unlike some allergies to certain foods, food intolerance is not life-threatening, but problems can arise if they are continued to be ignored.
If someone believes they are having problems digesting certain foods, they can buy an IgG food intolerance test at a local drugstore, order one, or complete an online assessment.
Food Intolerance Test
It might be challenging to determine whether someone has a food allergy or a food intolerance because many symptoms of both appear similar. Here are some differences between allergies and food intolerances:
● Symptoms appear a few hours after eating.
● You only have digestive symptoms.
● Symptoms are dependent on the amount of food eaten. So if you eat a small amount of a particular food, there may not be symptoms.
● Symptoms are not life-threatening
● Symptoms are not limited to just digestive issues and occur in any part of the body. Respiratory and skin reactions are common.
● Symptoms occur immediately after eating
● Symptoms can be life-threatening or mild
● Even small amounts of food can trigger a reaction that occurs every time the food is ingested
5 Common Food Intolerances
Dairy contains both lactose and casein, two of the most significant sources of food intolerance. People are lactose intolerant because they don’t have the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose. Many people who are intolerant to lactose are also intolerant to casein, which is why trying lactose-free milk still doesn’t work.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
● Abdominal pain
Lactose intolerance is so common it is estimated that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population has difficulty digesting lactose. It can be diagnosed using either a lactose-intolerant test, a lactose breath test, or a stool PH test.
Gluten, a protein in wheat and grains like barley and rye, is hard for many people to digest and can cause inflammation. It’s especially troublesome for people with celiac disease because it can trigger an autoimmune response that causes damage to the lining of the stomach.
Wheat allergies are often mistaken for celiac disease because they have similar symptoms. In wheat allergies, the body creates allergy-producing antibodies to proteins, while celiac disease results from an abnormal reaction to gluten.
However, there are still people who test negative for celiac disease and a wheat allergy but still experience adverse symptoms. This is referred to as non-celiac gluten sensitivity, affecting around 10% of the population.
Symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity include:
● Abdominal pain
● Diarrhea or constipation
● Skin rash
● Joint pain
● Depression or anxiety
Amines, produced by bacteria during food storage, are found in various foods. One of these, called histamine is frequently associated with food intolerances.
Histamine helps the body from being infected by triggering an inflammatory response to allergens like itching, sneezing, and watery eyes, which are all meant to excrete potentially harmful substances.
People intolerant to histamine can not efficiently metabolize and excrete it, causing it to build up. Intolerance occurs because the enzymes that are supposed to break down histamine aren't functioning correctly.
People who are intolerant to histamine should avoid the following foods:
● Cured meats
● Fermented foods
● Citrus fruits
● Dried fruits
● Aged cheese
● Smoked fish
● Soured foods like buttermilk
● Alcoholic Beverages like beer and wine
Sulfites are chemicals found in food preservatives, drinks, and some medications. It is also naturally produced in some foods like grapes and cheeses.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates that companies who use sulfites must declare on their labels that the food product contains sulfites or was used in the processing of the food.
Some foods that may contain sulfites include:
● Dried fruit
● Canned vegetables
● Apple cider
● Canned vegetables
● Pickled Foods
● Potato chips
● Baked goods
5. Tree Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Pine)
Nuts can upset your digestive system, trigger cystic acne, and cause eczema, joint pain, irritability, brainfog, and fatigue.
Let's talk if you want to know more about food intolerances, how to identify them, and what you can do about them.