Wondering what are the common types of food intolerance and how you can avoid them? Read on to find out!
Most people often confuse food allergies with intolerances; however, there’s a difference between the two. When you are allergic to a food item, having it causes an immediate reaction in your immune system, which can affect numerous organs in your body. It’s actually impacting a different pathway in the body than intolerances. Also, the symptoms are typically (but not always) different. Common allergy symptoms are:
- Tingling or itching in the mouth.
- Hives, itching or eczema.
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
- Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing.
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
- Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.
If you have a food intolerance, you may be able to eat small amounts of the offending food without trouble. You may also be able to prevent a reaction but it depends on the severity of the intolerance.
Even though having an intolerance toward a particular food can cause similar symptoms as having an allergy, the symptoms differ. Additionally, even if you are not allergic to a certain food, it does not mean that your body can’t develop an intolerance toward it. It gets tricky and when you are trying to figure out intolerances and allergies they are actually different tests. Most doctors will run an allergy test but they don’t specialize or even offer food intolerance testing.
Common food intolerance symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain
- Runny nose
- Flushing of the skin
The most common causes of food intolerance include:
- Absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food.Lactose intolerance is a common example.
- Irritable bowel syndrome.This chronic condition can cause cramping, constipation and diarrhea.
- Sensitivity to food additives.For example, sulfites used to preserve dried fruit, canned goods and wine can trigger asthma attacks in sensitive people. People can even be intolerant to leftovers! (Not liking leftovers is not an intolerance though. �)
- Recurring stress or psychological factors.Sometimes the mere thought of a food may make you sick. The reason is not fully understood.
- Celiac disease.Celiac disease has some features of a true food allergy because it involves the immune system. Symptoms often include gastrointestinal issues as well as those unrelated to the digestive system, such as joint pain and headaches. However, people with celiac disease are not at risk of anaphylaxis. This chronic digestive condition is triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat and other grains.
Having an intolerance to certain foods can be a bit of a downer, especially when you love to have those food items. With that said, it’s essential to know exactly what sorts of foods you are intolerant to and why. This way, you will be able to know your body a little better and also know exactly what it needs and doesn’t need to thrive. It will also help you avoid various symptoms of food intolerance, which can be pretty nasty.
So, let’s take a look at two of the most common types of food intolerance and the foods that cause them:
Lactose intolerance is a condition in which you experience various digestive issues such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas after consuming drinks or foods that have lactose in them. Lactose is a sugar that is commonly found in milk and various dairy products. To effectively digest this sugar, your small intestine needs to produce appropriate amounts of an enzyme called lactase. It breaks down the lactose into glucose and galactose so that your body can easily absorb it.
When your body fails to produce the required amount of lactase, you develop lactose intolerance. The common symptoms of lactose intolerance include diarrhea, stomach cramping and bloating, nausea, gas, headaches, and even acne. These symptoms can appear after 30 minutes to 2 hours of consuming products that have lactose in them and can range from mild to severe.
If you are lactose intolerant, then you need to avoid certain foods, including the following:
- Milk in all its forms – liquid, condensed, dried, evaporated, powdered, and milk solids
- Dairy derivatives in common food items such as bread, crackers, pastries, cereals, protein bars, and more!
Gluten intolerance isn’t the same as having celiac disease, which is a pretty serious disease in which you have an allergy to gluten. Gluten intolerance isn’t as black and white as having or not having celiac disease. Simply put, people who don’t have celiac disease can also be intolerant to gluten. This is known as non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). People who have NCGS experience various symptoms of gluten intolerance such as abdominal pain, bloating, cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. They might also experience brain fog, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, skin issues such as eczema, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.
The only way to avoid gluten intolerance is to follow a gluten-free diet. So skip out on the following foods:
- Store-bought baked goods
- Foods that contain flour such as pizza or pasta
- Packaged foods such as cereals, pasta, bread, cookies, etc.
- Types of alcohol
Now that you know about the different types of food intolerance and the food that cause them, try to eliminate these foods from your diet for a healthy body and mind. With that said, it’s not easy to figure out what types of food are causing your symptoms. Additionally, even if you figure out your intolerance, you can quickly get discouraged from sticking to an avoidance-based diet, which requires you to read labels of manufactured products to rule out any ingredients that you are allergic to.
In such instances, it’s best to take the help of a nutritional expert and opt for a food intolerance test. Such a test will reveal not just the foods that your body reacts adversely to but also the food items that are completely safe for you to eat. This way, you can focus on the foods that you can enjoy without developing pesky symptoms of food intolerance. It will also help you avoid the foods that you are sensitive to.