What is Food Intolerance?

Food intolerance is discussed quite often these days – so what exactly does it mean? Well, sometimes our bodies cannot tolerate the foods we eat. This is known as food intolerance. When people consume foods that they’re sensitive to, such as dairy products for lactose intolerant individuals, their bodies have a negative physical reaction. The effects show up every time the food is consumed, although not always right away. If large quantities of the food are ingested, symptoms can be severe.

Food intolerance is sometimes mistaken for food allergy. Food allergies cause a person’s immune system to sit up and take notice, while food intolerances don’t involve the immune system. Neither are they linked to contaminated or spoiled foods; those cause food poisoning, not intolerance. Food intolerance describes the adverse physical reaction to the ingestion of certain foods; it is something that affects the digestive system.

The Causes of Food Intolerance

As mentioned earlier, food intolerance is caused by the inability to digest certain types of food, usually due to insufficient amounts of the chemicals or enzymes needed to digest a particular food.

Lactose intolerance is very common. People who suffer from this condition don’t have enough of the enzyme called ‘lactase’. Therefore, their bodies can’t break down the lactose, or milk sugar, in dairy products.

Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include intestinal distress, gas, bloating, and bowel irregularities.

Other people can’t process alcohol because they don’t have enough of the enzyme ‘alcohol dehydrogenase’. They can become ill if they consume even a single alcoholic beverage. The additives, flavor enhancers, and preservatives in processed foods are another common source of food intolerance. MSGs, caffeine, benzoates, and aspartame cause pain and fatigue in sensitive individuals. russian store

Who Suffers from Food Intolerance?

Anyone can! Food intolerance is not limited to any particular group of people, however there are some factors that play a role in the likelihood that a person is affected by intolerance. Food intolerance can be hereditary; therefore if your parents have food intolerances, chances are good that you’ll have some too. Ethnicity plays a role, too. Only 10% of northern and western Europeans suffer from lactose intolerance whereas persons of Asian, African, Greek, and Native American descent are much more susceptible. Lactose intolerance affects 70-90% of the latter populations.

Newborns tend to produce more lactase, so they can digest lactose more easily than adults and older children. The symptoms of lactose intolerance can appear in children as young as two, but many people develop it later in life. Gastroenteritis sometimes causes a dip in lactase levels, bringing on a temporary intolerance to dairy products. Children face a high risk of lactose intolerance following gastroenteritis. And half of all Asians are affected by alcohol intolerance!

What are the Symptoms of Food Intolerance?

The symptoms of food intolerance center around the digestive system. Sufferers may experience stomach pain, bloating, nausea, loose stools, or the opposite (constipation.) These symptoms are seldom life-threatening, but they can make a person miserable on a daily basis. They can manifest anywhere from a few hours to a few days after the food is consumed, making it difficult to identify exactly what the problem food is.

Alcohol intolerance causes redness of the face, nausea, irregular heartbeat, headaches, and dizziness. Symptoms can also feel similar to allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose or itchy throat.

 

 

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