Food Intolerances: Fact of Fad?

Food Intolerances: Fact of Fad?

August 12, 2019

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!

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

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