Food Intolerance – Non-Allergic Food Hypersensitivity

Food Intolerance or non-allergic food hypersensitivity is a term that is used for various physiological responses associated with a particular food.

Intolerance to a particular food is when a negative reaction, often delayed, that produces symptoms in one of more of the body’s organs or bodies system. It is not a true food allergy. Food allergy is an immune response, while food intolerance is a chemical reaction.

Symptoms of a food allergy differ from symptoms of food intolerance. While wheezing, upset stomach and skin rashes, or in more severe cases anaphylaxis or anaphylaxis shock which is an extreme allergic reaction and can be life threatening are symptoms associated with food allergies, food intolerance symptoms are similar but can be associated with conditions such as asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Some of the other well-known food allergens are nuts, shellfish, milk, egg and soy products.

Food Intolerance should not be confused with food allergy or coeliac disease which are immune reactions to food proteins (see coeliac disease or food allergy), intolerances are triggered by food chemicals that create a response because of irritated nerve endings in different organs in the body. It can be likened to a ‘side effect’.

Food Intolerance can cause discomfort and may be frustrating to live with, but the good news is that it will not, in most cases cause long term damage and is rarely life threatening.

Because the symptoms of food intolerance can take up to 72 hours to manifest, it is typically difficult to self diagnose, so in order to save yourself time, energy, stress and worry get tested.

You can be tested in any number of ways, including sensitivity testing, breath testing and elimination diets – whatever your choice, do it before you start ‘testing’ yourself so you can be sure you are getting the right information and dietary advise.

Testing also avoids any unnecessary food avoidance which can result in poor nutrition and other related issues.

Changes to diet is the most common way of managing intolerance and one of the more recent food plans is the FODMAP diet.

FODMAP – FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligo-saccharides Di-saccharides Mono-saccharides and Polyols.
No wonder the researchers at Monash University came up with FODMAP! Click Here to find out more

There are many intolerances including

Symptoms for food intolerances vary and may take up to 72 hours to appear, but can include

  • Bloating after eating
  • Stomach cramping
  • Reflux
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Skin rashes
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Cough
  • Nasal congestion
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Migraine
  • Headache

Food Intolerance is generally treated using avoidance mechanisms but the good news is, that in some instances, with good management, you can introduce small amounts of food back into your diet.