Food intolerances are not the same as food allergies.
There is an immune system overreaction with an allergy, while food tolerances are typically limited to digestive issues.
The symptoms of food intolerance can be delayed as much as 48 hours, so you may not notice any issues after eating a particular food.
How Do I Know if I Have A Food Intolerance?
Symptoms that are typical of food intolerance include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Acid Reflux
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and believe they may be connected to what you are eating, try keeping a food journal to track what you are eating and how you feel after eating.
This process can help you determine if there are any food patterns causing problems.
The next step is to eliminate the suspect foods from your diet. The symptoms should resolve once the food intolerance is identified and removed from your diet.
Food intolerances may cause a wide variety of symptoms, so a doctor or dietitian can be beneficial in investigating what foods are causing problems. They can also perform tests to rule out other possible causes of your ailment.
Common Food Intolerances
Usually, food intolerance is not sensitivity to one particular food but rather to an ingredient or molecular compound found in many similar foods.
Some of the most common food intolerances are:
Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products such as milk and cheese.
It’s estimated that as much as 65% of people worldwide have a reduced ability to digest lactose.
People with lactose intolerance do not produce enough lactase, which breaks down and digests lactose.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat and barley and is often found in bread, pasta, cereal, beer, baked goods, crackers, and some sauces and dressings.
It’s often confused with celiac disease and wheat allergies, which involve a more severe immune reaction, but people without celiac can still be sensitive to gluten.
Sulfites can be used as a preservative agent in canned vegetables, chips, condiments, and many other processed foods and drinks.
It is also found naturally in grapes and some cheeses.
People with asthma commonly have sulfite intolerances, but anybody can be sensitive to sulfites.
Fructose is a simple sugar commonly found in fruits and some vegetables and sweeteners like honey and high-fructose corn syrup.
When fructose cannot be adequately absorbed, it sits in the intestines and is fermented by gut bacteria, causing more problems.
Other Common Intolerances
Other common intolerances include MSG, food coloring, yeast, caffeine, amines, and salicylates.
While food intolerances are not life-threatening, they can cause discomfort and reduced quality of life.
If you are experiencing any symptoms related to food intolerances, you should speak with a healthcare professional for more information.