Nutrition Habit #34: Eliminate Food Intolerances

Food intolerances usually occur when the gut reacts poorly to a specific food or ingredient used in food preparation.  Intolerances can result from the absence of an enzyme needed to fully digest a food, such as with lactose intolerance.

Food intolerance is not regarded as a sound diagnosis by much of the medical community. In part, this may be because symptoms of food intolerance are milder and usually have a slower onset than food allergy (but not always).  These symptoms can include gas/bloating, diarrhea, stomach cramping, stuffy nose, mucus production, nausea, vomiting, headaches, etc. While some of these symptoms are benign, serious gastrointestinal complaints are often characteristic of severe intolerance; if left uninvestigated, more serious problems can result.[from Precision Nutrition “All About Food Sensitivities”

8 Most Common Food Allergens
Milk Eggs Peanuts Tree nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts)
Fish Shellfish Soy Wheat
Most Common Food Intolerances
Type Found in
Lactose or milk protein Dairy (especially cow’s milk)
Yeast (Candida albicans) Breads and baked goods; can be exacerbated by sugar
Gluten (including both celiac and wheat sensitivity) Grains such as wheat, barley, and rye
Fructose Fruit; foods sweetened with fructose (also sorbitol)
Food additives Processed foods
Nitrates Processed foods, e.g. preserved meals

If you suspect you may have a food sensitivity, it’s important to first rule out the possibility of a true food allergy.  This can be done with your physician.  If you suspect you may have a food intolerance, keeping a diligent food diary/response log can help find the offending foods quickly and remove them.

Because of the delay between food ingestion and response, it’s easy to ignore food intolerance symptoms or simply accept them as part of life.  If any of the symptoms listed in this article are part of your normal day, you might look at your food intake to see what might be causing the problem(s).

Try this:

Keep a food journal, taking special note of how you feel after eating the foods listed above. Also, talk with your doctor to learn more about investigating into if you may have a food intolerance or allergy.

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