Are You Suffering From Food Intolerance?

Food allergies are rare, affecting only 3 to 4 percent of adults in the United States. Yet food intolerances are on the rise, with many Americans experiencing sensitivities to one or more types of food. Though far less severe than allergies, sensitivities can negatively impact your digestive health as well as your quality of life.

About Sensitivities

An allergy is an immune-system response that triggers symptoms that tend to come on immediately- from nausea and hives to shortness of breath and anaphylaxis (shock). A food intolerance, on the other hand, triggers a response from the gastrointestinal system that can result in gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation, nausea, or abdominal pain up to two or three days after consumption.

But since being gassy and bloated after drinking milk or eating pasta does not necessarily mean you have a food intolerance, it’s important to avoid self-diagnosis. And restricting your diet unnecessarily can deprive your body of essential nutrients.

*Check with your doctor to rule out allergies or other underlying conditions before embarking on an elimination diet.

How Do You Know?

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, the primary intolerance culprits and foods containing lactose, gluten, and fructose, but MSG and other additives, including artificial colors and flavors and artificial sweeteners, are also potential triggers. Here is my FREE 24 page guide!

If you suspect that any of these are at the root of your symptoms, eliminate them from your diet for 7-10 days, being careful to scrutinize food labels (for instance, modified food starch, malt flavoring, and caramel contain gluten; honey, agave, and fruit juice contain fructose). Take note of whether your symptoms subside, then “re-challenge” your GI system with the suspected culprit. If symptoms return, you’re most likely intolerant.

The good news is that even if you’re predisposed to intolerance for a food, you can likely eat a certain amount of it without experiencing digestive discomfort- and that dose varies by individual.

Keep A Food Journal

Track what, when, and where you eat, as well as how you feel before, during, and after. This heightens your awareness and helps you better understand – and reconsider – your food choices. Start journaling the week before any elimination diet, so you can identify any potential trigger foods.