Do you have a food intolerance?

Written by MARABOND on November 8, 2011

First it is important to differentiate between an allergy and an intolerance.


An allergy is a fast response (within minutes) by the body’s immune system to a perceived invader. Symptoms are typically immediate, dramatic and visible: coughing, sneezing, vomiting, migraines, watering eyes, rashes, swelling tissue, hives, or severe (but rare) anaphylactic shock. However other symptoms like the gastrointestinal responses nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can be delayed for hours or even days.


On the other hand, food intolerance is a slow onset reaction, taking hours, days or even weeks to appear. It is an inability to properly digest certain foods. It can be caused by the immune system response, lack of enzymes or abnormal chemical breakdown. Symptoms include cramps, diarrhoea, flatulence, bloating and also it can damage the lining of the intestine allowing foreign particles into the bloodstream (leaky gut).


The long term consequences include low resistance to diseases, skin irritations, respiratory distress, and also deficiency of vital nutrients like iron and/or calcium causing anaemia or osteoporosis. Other signs are headache, fatigue, migraine, inability to concentrate, sleep disorders, mouth ulcers, urinary problems, weight fluctuation and obsessive (addictive) eating.


Australians are known to be one of the most frequently allergic people in the world, 4.1 million Australians (19.6% of the population) have at least one allergic disease, like Rhinitis (hay fever), Asthma, Eczema and others like food allergy including food induced anaphylaxis, most commonly to peanut, shrimp (prawn), cow’s milk and egg.


In the USA, although 25% of people think they’re allergic to certain foods, studies show that about only 6 percent of children and 2 percent of adults have a food allergy. However, this does not take into consideration that there is NOT one test that can detect accurately food intolerances, except to sufferers of Coeliac disease, who can receive a referral to a gastroenterologist for a gut biopsy.


And then just to add to the equation, many people think they have an intolerance, when they just have an OVERLOAD of the same compound, for instance gluten is overly consumed in our diets these days. For instance, some people just have Wheat bix in the morning, pastry for lunch, biscuits, and more pasta for dinner. Therefore, a chronic constipation may be only a a way for our body to say ‘STOP, give me break!’


If you suspect you have a food intolerance, I would suggest you keep a food diary for at least a week, recording all timings, quantities, and symptoms, then you consult with a nutritionist or naturopath who can help you to find the cause and also find a yummy diet that reduce or eliminate the culprit.


Do not feel overwhelmed and disheartened. Today there are so many products to cater for intolerances, the most common ones are wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and egg free. I know a person who cannot eat gluten, eggs, soy, dairy and still cooks beautiful food and in fact wrote a cookbook for food intolerants which I recommend for some clients.

If you suffer from a intolerance, you may have to reduce processed foods, but for our health this is a positive move anyway!


Some people may resume eating the food that caused the intolerance, after some gut treatment, others like coeliacs are better eliminating the ingredient totally, as the long term risks are greater than the inconvenience.


Posted in: Articles, Uncategorized

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