What is food intolerance?

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

Today I am going to explain What is food intolerance.

Food-hypersensitivity reactions can either involve: • The immune system in which case it’s called a ‘food allergy’ or • It doesn't involve the system and is named ‘food intolerance’. • A food intolerance is usually confused with or mislabeled as an allergy .

Food Allergy

An allergy is an abnormal reaction of the body's system to a specific food. Food allergy, reactions caused by the system , either IgE antibody mediated or delayed non-IgE mediated allergy. Affects multiple body systems: Ø GI Ø Respiratory Ø Skin Ø Cardiovascular. Exposure can cause serious problems or death.

Common food allergies

About 90% of food allergies are caused by seven foods:

1. Cow’s milk 2. Hen’s eggs 3. Soybeans 4. Peanuts 5. Tree nuts – almond, brazil, cashew and so on 6. Wheat 7. Fish and Shellfish.

The remaining 10% of allergies are caused by a good sort of other foods.

Intolerance vs. Allergy Food Intolerance – Reaction to the chemicals in food – No system response – No serious (life-threatening) side-effects. Bloating, gas, abdominal discomfort. What is food intolerance?

Food intolerance, also referred to as non-IgE mediated food hypersensitivity or non-allergic food hypersensitivity, refers to difficulty in digesting certain foods. It is important to notice that food intolerance is different from allergy . Food intolerances involve the digestive system. Food allergies involve the immune system. When ingestion of a specific food or artificial additive causes unpleasant symptoms, an individual is claimed to be intolerant thereto food. Symptoms occur as a result of either: Øpoor absorption from the intestine into the bloodstream or less commonly by the release of chemicals within the body occurring as a result of contact of the food with the body.

Symptoms of food intolerance It is often difficult to work out whether the patient features a food intolerance or an allergy because the signs and symptoms often overlap. When it is an allergy, even small amounts result in symptoms, as may be the case with peanuts. Whereas, with food intolerance, tiny amounts will usually haven't any effect. The symptoms of food intolerance generally take longer to emerge, compared to food allergies. Onset typically occurs several hours after ingesting the offending food or compound and should persist for several hours or days. According to the Australian NSW Food Authority, the following are the most common symptoms of food intolerance: Bloating, Migraines, Headache, Cough, Runny nose, Stomach, AcheIrritable bowelfatigue.

Causes of food intolerance There are many various sorts of food intolerances, including:

• Enzymatic - lactose intolerance. Intolerance to a protein. • Gluten (Celiac) • Pharmacologic reactions- Pharmacological intolerances involve reactions to certain chemical naturally occurring foods such as: Histamine containing foods such as cheese. • Food additives, especially the benzoate and sulphite preservatives and monosodium glutamate. • Caffeine – in coffee, tea, and chocolates.

Absence of an enzyme Nearly all foods require an enzyme for proper digestion. According to British Allergy Foundation, enzyme deficiencies are a standard explanation for food intolerance. The most common sort of enzymatic food intolerance is lactase deficiency , which occurs because these individuals have either insufficient or no lactase lactose intolerant: it can cause spasm, stomachache, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Researchers from Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and Health Center USA , found that fructose intolerance is common in children with recurrent or functional abdominal pain.

Pharmacologic reactions

Food chemical Dietary sources proposed mechanism of gastrointestinal symptom provocation. Salicylates Coffee, tea, green apples, banana, lemon, plums, grapes, grapefruit, tomato, carrots, cucumber, peas, herbs and spices Stimulates mast cells to overproduce leukotriene metabolites which successively may lead to pro- inflammatory reactions and smooth muscle contraction Amines (e.g. histamine). Cheese, cured and processed meat products, tinned fish Low amine oxidase activity in some individuals. Limits detoxification of dietary histamine and increased levels of histamine can increase smooth muscle contractions Glutamates Tomato, cheese, stock cubes, yeast extract Unknown but exclusion of dietary additive excitotoxins (including MSG) in IBS resolved >30% of symptoms in 84% of patients.

Caffeine Coffee, tea, chocolate, cola drinks

Caffeine drinks Stimulates central nervous system and increases gastric juice secretion and colonic motor activity possibly via gastrointestinal neuroendocrine hormones (e.g. cholecystokinin, exorphin, gastrin or motilin) but this is often unknown.

Diagnosing food intolerance

Investigations may include blood and faecal tests, endoscopy and/or radiological imaging to rule out any organic disease. It is tough to work out whether somebody features a food intolerance or allergy because the signs and symptoms often overlap. The doctor may recommend a diagnostic test and/or a biopsy to rule out allergy . Apart from lactase deficiency and disorder , there's no accurate, reliable, and validated test to spot food intolerance. Food Exclusion, Symptom Improvement, and Dietary Challenge

The best diagnostic tool is an exclusion diet, also referred to as an elimination or diagnostic diet. Patients are advised to stay a diary and write down which foods are eaten, what the symptoms were like, and once they appeared. The data within the diary can help a dietician or doctor identify which foods are causing adverse reactions, and what steps to require . Exclusion diets are extremely useful in isolating the culprit foods. In a typical exclusion diet, the suspected food is faraway from the diet for a group period, usually between 2 weeks and a couple of months. If during this period the adverse reactions resolve, it becomes more likely that the culprit has been found. This can be further confirmed if it's then reintroduced and symptoms return. It is important to emphasize that elimination diets must only be undertaken for a short term, under strict medical supervision. Prolonged restricted diets can cause problems with adequate nutrition, particularly in children. Testing for Food Intolerance

By taking alittle , finger- prick blood sample, it's possible to live food- specific IgG antibodies in your blood. vYour IgG antibody readings are shown in your personal Food Intolerance Test results.


The best current treatment for food intolerance is to either: keep away from specific foods or eat them less frequently and in littler sums, just as taking enhancements that may support processing.

Tolerance can improve

A few people find that in the event that they remain off the particular food for some time, they have no response when eating it again - this is known as tolerance. Keeping up tolerance is frequently an issue of realizing how long to decline, and its amount to eat when it is being reintroduced.

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