Common Food Intolerances and How to Manage Them

0 21

Food intolerances are different from food allergies. With a food allergy, even a small amount of the offending food can trigger an immediate immune system reaction that can be life-threatening. Food intolerances, on the other hand, occur when your body lacks an enzyme or chemicals to properly digest certain foods. The symptoms are generally less severe and often delayed. Some of the most common food intolerances include.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is probably the most well-known food intolerance. It occurs when your body does not produce enough of the enzyme lactase to properly digest lactose, the natural sugar in milk and dairy products. This leads to digestive issues like bloating, gas, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea after consuming dairy foods. Lactose intolerance can range from mild to severe depending on the individual. 

To manage lactose intolerance, limit full-fat dairy products like milk, ice cream, and soft cheeses. You may be able to tolerate small amounts of low-lactose dairy like hard aged cheeses, yogurt, and lactose-free milk. Non-dairy milk alternatives made from soy, almond, coconut, rice, or oats are easy substitutes. Lactase enzyme tablets or drops can also help improve digestibility. It is also possible to buy lactose-free milk these days.

Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance, also known as gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), shares symptoms with celiac disease but without the severe autoimmune reaction. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, headaches and “foggy mind” that occur after eating gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, and rye. 

Following a gluten-free diet by eliminating bread, pasta, baked goods and other products made with wheat, barley, or rye flours is currently the only treatment. Substituting gluten-free oats, rice, quinoa, legumes, nuts, and gluten-free flours like tapioca and almond can provide more variety. Just be sure to read labels since gluten can hide in many processed foods like sausages and burgers.

Fructose Intolerance

Fructose intolerance happens when your small intestine does not properly absorb fructose, the natural sugar found in fruits and honey. Consuming too much fructose can lead to bloating, cramps, gas, and diarrhea. Fructose intolerance appears to be genetic and is not related to lactose or gluten intolerance.

Limiting high-fructose corn syrup, soda, juices, and large servings of fruits is recommended. Focus on getting fructose from whole fruits and vegetables, which also provide beneficial nutrients and fiber. Avoid processed foods and beverages with added sugars. Checking labels for ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and sucrose can help identify problem sources.

Managing Food Intolerances

Food intolerances can occur in people of any age. However, they are more common in certain groups. For example, lactose intolerance is prevalent in those of Asian, African American, Native American, and Hispanic descent, affecting over 50% of these populations. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity tend to run in families. Fructose intolerance also appears to have a genetic link. 

Identifying your food intolerances through an elimination diet or medical testing can help you make appropriate dietary changes. Keeping a food and symptom journal is also useful for pinpointing problematic foods. Getting support from a dietitian nutritionist to ensure adequate nutrition while avoiding trigger foods is often recommended. 

With the right dietary modifications and careful label reading, most common food intolerances can be managed successfully.

The post Common Food Intolerances and How to Manage Them appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.