Not everyone can enjoy certain types of food. Some people have food allergies that may even be life-threatening. On the other hand, some individuals have food intolerances that can otherwise be managed effectively with proper lifestyle and prescription. Our internal medicine specialists at IBO, a medical center in Sharjah, provide us with an overview of food intolerance.
Understanding Food Intolerance
Several people often confuse food allergies and intolerance. While both are concerned with the foods that an individual consumes and symptoms can also be somewhat similar, their difference lies in the body’s response. Food allergies involve the immune system, while it is the digestive system for food intolerances.
As mentioned above, the body’s response to food intolerance takes place in the digestive system. An individual experiences intolerance when the digestive system cannot adequately breakdown specific kinds of food. The inability to digest food properly can stem from enzyme deficiencies. In addition, certain foods can contain additives and naturally-occurring chemicals that a person’s digestive system can be sensitive to.
Common Symptoms Of Food Intolerance
With food intolerances, the symptoms can take time to manifest, unlike food allergies, where the effect is instantaneous. Its symptoms also vary from one person to another. These can include stomach aches, nausea, and migraine. The onset of these symptoms can occur within hours of consuming. Surprisingly, the effects of food intolerances may take up to 48 hours before it starts emerging.
Here are the usual symptoms that people with food intolerance experience.
- Gas, bloating and Cramps
- Non-itchy Rashes or Hives
Causes – Common Food Intolerances
As previously discussed, enzyme deficiencies, the body’s aversion to food additives, and some foods’ chemical composition can cause food intolerance. Here are the most common ones.
Dairy products are sources of lactose- a type of sugar found in milk. Lactase is the body’s enzyme that breaks down lactose. Individuals become lactose intolerant when their bodies do not have enough lactase to digest lactose.
The protein commonly found in barley, wheat, and rye is called gluten. Intolerance to wheat can often be confused with celiac disease, a type of gluten allergy involving the immune system. Some people have a mild sensitivity to gluten- a condition called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Adhering to a gluten-free diet is best when managing gluten intolerance.
For several people, eating eggs can cause them an upset stomach. Individuals who are intolerant to egg can either be sensitive to the egg white, the yolk, or both. Its effects are not life-threatening. People can outgrow their egg intolerance by eliminating it for weeks and reintroducing it again to the diet.
People who are lactose intolerant often get soymilk as an alternative. Soy is an excellent source of protein. However, some individuals are soy intolerant. Several foods contain soy within their ingredients, so it’s essential to read the label if you’re unsure. Often, soy-intolerant people have no problem with consuming foods with highly refined soy oil, of course, with proper guidance from an internal medicine specialist.
You May Be Unaware That You’re Food Intolerant
Half of the people around the world who have food intolerance mistakenly believe that they experience food allergies. A proper diagnosis from an internal medicine doctor is fundamental to be advised on the right diet and lifestyle to manage your food intolerance properly.
At IBO, we offer food intolerance tests to enable individuals to make better decisions with their food. If you’re interested in getting tested for food intolerance or allergies, you can consult with our specialists today.