Food allergies and intolerances are becoming increasingly prevalent. It seems as if everyone we know is on a restricted diet to avoid some certain food or food product. From gluten-free and dairy-free to the FODMAP diet, we start to wonder, is this all for good reason? And while your next-door neighbor may have told you she lost 10 pounds on the gluten-free diet, do you really need to be avoiding bread your whole life?
Some food restrictions are necessary, such as those associated with allergies, which trigger the immune system and can lead to severe and even life-threatening responses. Food restrictions due to intolerances are typically seen as less serious than food allergies, but they can be very aggravating! Do we really want to be running to the bathroom every time we eat some ice cream?
Are you curious if you have a food intolerance? I have outlined some common food intolerances for you—read on to learn if you might have one.
Food Component: Lactose
What is it? Sugar found in milk
Where is it found? Milk and milk products
Common Symptoms: Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, nausea
Food Component: Gluten
What is it? Protein found in some grains
Where is it found? Wheat, barley, rye, and triticale
Common Symptoms: Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, skin rash, depression, anxiety, anemia
Food Component: FODMAPS (fermentable oligo-, di, mono- saccharides and polyols)
What is it? Short chain carbohydrates
Where is it found? Apples, soft cheese, honey, milk, artichokes, bread, beans, lentils, beer, etc.
Common Symptoms: Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation
Food Component: Sulfites
What is it? A preservative
Where is it found? Dried fruit, wine, ACV, canned vegetables, pickled foods, condiments, medications, etc.
Common Symptoms: Diarrhea, hives, swelling of the skin, stuff nose, hypotension, flushing, wheezing, coughing
Food Component: Caffeine
What is it? A chemical
Where is it found? Found naturally and artificially in coffee, tea, sodas, other energy drinks
Common Symptoms: Rapid heartbeat, anxiety, jitters, insomnia, nervousness, restlessness
Food Component: Salicylates
What is it? Natural chemicals produced by plants
Where is it found? Fruits, vegetables, teas, coffee, spices, and honey
Common Symptoms: Diarrhea, gut inflammation, hives, asthma, stuffy nose
Food Component: Amines
What is it? Produced by bacteria during food storage and fermentation
Where is it found? Fermented foods, cured meats, dried fruits, citrus fruits, avocados, aged cheese, smoked fish, vinegar, soured foods, fermented alcohol
Common Symptoms: Diarrhea, stomach cramps, flushing of the skin, headaches, hives, itching, anxiety, hypotension
Food Component: Sugar alcohols
What is it? Sweetener found naturally or processed from other carbohydrates
Where is it found? Sweetened beverages, packaged sweets, chewing gum, mints, toothpaste
Common Symptoms: Bloating and diarrhea
Notice that many of the food intolerances begin with abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. This is because your digestive tract must first process these foods, and when they are unable to process them, it causes many of those digestive issues.
You may be thinking, well many of those cause bloating and diarrhea, how do I know which one I am intolerant to? The current gold standard for determining food intolerances and sensitivities is the elimination diet. I will write a blog on that soon.
Other testing options are food sensitivity tests that measure IgG, or immunoglobulin G, antibodies. IgG develop in response to certain foods. Buying those kits advertised on social media may seem like the easy solution to find what has been causing your constant gas pains, but a lot of them are not reliable. Talk to your local doctor or dietitian today to determine the best testing and treatment option for you!
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