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You all must have heard about the famous wheat allergy, but you all will be surprised to know that there are a number of common food intolerances and allergies that you might be unaware of. Things that you enjoy without a second thought, others only dream of ever having. In fact, there is a high chance that things you are eating without a second thought are actually harming your body from inside and showing signs that you are unable to notice. This might be because you are allergic to a certain food, but are unaware of it.
The Difference Between a Food Intolerance And Allergy
While the two terms are often used interchangeably there is a difference that you need to know. Food allergy is characterized by an immune response to a certain food. Whereas food intolerance is marked by less severe reactions that are mostly limited to digestive problems. A food allergy can affect all the body organs, therefore it is considered more serious and requires serious medical attention. The term “food hypersensitivity” refers to both food allergies and food intolerances.
In this article, we will discuss all the foods that can trigger a reaction in some people
The Common Food Intolerances And Allergies
Dairy Or Lactose Intolerance
This is one of the most common intolerances. Many people suffer from diarrhea after drinking milk or chai, yet fail to diagnose themselves with dairy or milk intolerance. Dairy intolerance is due to intolerance to a certain sugar called “lactose” in the milk. Therefore it is more commonly known as “lactose intolerant”.
Lactose is broken down in the body by an enzyme called “lactase”. People with lactose intolerance often lack this enzyme in enough quantity, which leads to digestive symptoms.
Surprisingly, according to an estimate, almost 65% of the world’s population faces difficulty in digesting lactose. If you fear, you are among this 65% of people, you should avoid all sorts of dairy. A lot of people with lactose intolerance can tolerate aged cheese, kefir, and a little yogurt.
The most common way to diagnose lactose intolerance is to look for your own signs and symptoms. Once you have developed that you suffer from a reaction whenever you consume dairy, it’s time to take some tests. The most common tests are lactose-tolerance test, lactose breath test, or stool PH test.
Wheat Intolerance Or Allergy
“Gluten” is a protein found in most cereals like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale. A reaction to gluten can be an indicator of celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy.
“Celiac disease” is considered an autoimmune disease, as it triggers an immune response. When a celiac disease patient is exposed to gluten, their immune system attacks their small intestine resulting in severe damage to the digestive system.
Wheat allergies are different from celiac disease but are often confused with it because of similar symptoms. “Wheat allergy” is marked by the generation of an antibody for wheat proteins. Whereas celiac disease is marked by a severe immune response to gluten in the wheat.
It is possible to notice a reaction towards wheat in your body, yet test negative for celiac disease and wheat allergy. You might have “non-celiac gluten sensitivity”. This is a milder form of gluten intolerance. Although the symptoms can be similar to celiac disease, they are quite mild.
All of these diseases can be catered to by taking a gluten-free diet. There are some evident sources of gluten but a lot of food products contain gluten in hidden forms. So it is best to consult a dietitian.
Yes, you can be intolerant to the thing you are addicted to the most. Taking rounds of the washroom after each cup of coffee is not normal. If you do so, you might have caffeine intolerance and you will need to give it up.
Just like celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance, caffeine allergy is different from caffeine intolerance but has the same symptoms.
A normal human being can consume up to 400mg of caffeine each day, which accounts for almost 4 cups of coffee. But some people are unable to process and digest caffeine like normal. Sensitivity to caffeine can be genetic or a decreased ability to metabolize and excrete it.
This is one of the most common intolerances and allergies in children. According to a study published in 2018, approximately 2.2% of children/adolescents in the US have a peanut allergy. Even if you don’t notice an immediate allergic reaction to peanuts, you can still be sensitive to them. This sensitivity often shows itself as respiratory or digestive symptoms.
Yeast Intolerance And Allergy
Today, we are surrounded by foods that contain yeast. Brad, bagels, donuts, cinnamon roll, pizza, and most of your favorites contain yeast. If you are allergic or intolerant to yeast, you may experience a disturbed gut, skin rashes, and flatulence. If you notice these symptoms every time you eat something that contains yeast, you might have yeast intolerance or allergy. Keep in mind that the symptoms of a yeast intolerance are milder than yeast allergy.
Fruit And Vegetable Sensitivity
Yes, you read that right, the food that you have been recommended by every doctor and nutritionist can be bad for you. But only if you are allergic to certain compounds in these plants.
Plants contain a compound called “salicylate”, which is produced by them as a defense against environmental stressors like insects and disease. Although this compound contains strong anti-inflammatory properties, it can trigger a reaction in some people.
Sensitivity To FODMAPS
FODMAPs stand for fermentable, oligo, di, monosaccharides, and polyols. This group includes a number of foods from almost all major food groups. These contain short-chain carbohydrates. These are poorly absorbed in the small intestine and usually travel to the large intestine undigested. Here they become the food of gut bacteria. These gut bacteria produce gas which causes bloating and flatulence. While this might seem like a normal or bearable reaction, it can become unbearable in some people and cause severe diarrhea and discomfort, and may start interfering in their normal functioning.
If you have Irritable bowel syndrome, you are likely to be sensitive to FODMAPs.
A low FODMAP diet is the only way to combat this issue. Common FODMAP foods that may trigger a reaction are apples, honey, milk, beer, bread, and lentils, etc.
Common Symptoms of Common Food Intolerances
Common food intolerances and allergies usually have the same symptoms, but the symptoms in food allergies are more severe than food intolerances. The best way to screen yourself for food intolerance is to look for the following symptoms after eating a certain food.
The common symptoms of common food intolerances are
- Abdominal pain
- Flushing of the skin
- Stomach cramps
- Stuffy nose
- Sinus infections
- Nasal and sinus polyps
- Gut inflammation (colitis)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Joint pain
- Skin rash
The Smart Step
If you have noticed some symptoms in your body in reaction to a certain food, it is time for you to seek professional help. Consult your doctor and let them carry out the essential tests for a proper diagnosis. If they diagnose you with food intolerance or allergy, you should consult a nutritionist. The best nutritionist can help you develop a diet plan that will cater to any uncommon or common food intolerances. The best and often the only way to cater to common food intolerances is to cut the food out of your diet.
Book an appointment now, to answer all your queries. You can book an appointment with the top dietitians in Pakistan through Marham by calling at Marham helpline: 0311-1222398 or by online appointment booking facility through the website or Marham mobile app.
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