After enjoying a meal, someone may start to feel uncomfortable-specifically with one of the following…
- Pain in the stomach
- Outbreaks of wind
- Sudden irritability
- Weight gain
The cause may be a food intolerance which is a response from the digestive system to a specific food; an ingredient in the food irritates the digestive system and the person is unable to digest and breakdown the food properly. One of the most common food intolerances is dairy intolerance which means an individual experiences the symptoms above when they eat milk or dairy products. Dairy intolerance affects approximately 10% of the population. Gluten intolerance is also common-as is wheat intolerance. Gluten intolerance symptoms and wheat intolerance symptoms include ‘typical’ food intolerance symptoms. But it may not be those foods that are causing the problem…it could be the nori seaweed or the Lindseed you have everyday because it is ‘healthy’
Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance
Many people confuse food allergies with a food intolerance-and vice versa. Typically, the symptoms from a food allergy are more severe and can include the symptoms above plus:
- Irritated skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction)
Sometimes, the cause of digestive difficulties can be food poisoning caused by eating food that has not been cooked properly or is well past its ‘use by’ date. However, a food allergy creates a reaction in the immune system and can affect organs-meaning a food allergy can be life-threatening.
When a person is experiencing digestive discomfort or other gluten intolerance symptoms, it’s wise to visit a medical professional. At the clinic or surgery, the doctor or physician’s assistant will begin a series of tests to determine if the problem is linked to food poisoning, a food allergy or a food intolerance. One method of diagnosis is eliminating ‘suspect’ foods from the diet and keeping a food diary. While this diagnostic method can work, it can take several weeks, or even months, to pinpoint the ‘offending’ food or additives.
Another method is to take a series of tests. Patients can take a test for allergies or intolerances.The tests are broad at first then become more specific: the first step is a test that determines if there’s an intolerance present to the most common foods. If this test comes back positive, then it’s possible to pinpoint one of almost 300 foods or additives that may be causing the problems. The tests are easy to administer and produce very specific results. Here’s how it works.
- The patient takes a test for food intolerance. It comes back positive.
- A more specific test reveals the patient is not only intolerant to fish but reveals which fish.
- The patient eliminates salmon from their diet and can enjoy other types of fish.
Certain tests can determine the severity of the intolerance. And testing may come back negative.
Once testing is complete, the next step for the patient is to eliminate the problem foods from their diet. The results can be immediate and dramatic: the patient enjoys a better quality of life free from the discomforts associated with food intolerance and food allergies.