Many people experience unpleasant reactions to foods they have eaten and suspect they have a "food allergy". However, only 2-5% of adults and 2-8% of children are truly "allergic" to certain foods. The remainder of people may be experiencing food intolerance, or food sensitivity, rather than true food allergy.
I think a quick lesson is in order? A food allergy occurs when an individual ingests a food (usually containing a protein) that the body sees as a "foreign" or threatening substance - known as an ANTIGEN or ALLERGEN. The person's immune system responds by mounting an attack, producing large amounts of IgE antibodies, which attach themselves to specialised white blood cells. These cells release histamine and other inflammatory substances, producing "classic" allergic symptoms of swelling and inflammation. Conditions and symptoms such as rhinitis, asthma, wheezing, lip swelling, itchy skin, hives, and eczema involve this type of "allergic" reaction. The allergens involved could be anything from a food protein, pollen from flowers or grasses, house-dust mite or animal dander.
A food "intolerant" reaction also occurs when the body "reacts" to the ingestion of a food. This reaction however may or may not involve the immune system, and may be caused by a food protein, a starch or sugar molecule, other food component, or by a contaminant found in the food (e.g. food colouring, preservative etc.). If the immune system IS involved, it is usually a different class of antibody that is produced, which is why standard food allergy tests can produce negative results, yet noticeable food-related symptoms persist. Many symptoms related to food intolerance are caused by a local inflammatory response in the gut, and a sign of underlying "inflammation".
With food "intolerance", it is worth understanding, that it's rarely the food that is the problem - it is the person's response to it! Foods containing wheat or milk for example are getting reputations as "bad foods" due to the reactions they can produce in some people. While they can very well be "problem foods" for some, they can also be very healthy foods for others. Food intolerance could be re-named as "poor digestion", as reactions to food are often the result of poor or compromised digestion!
So what can cause food intolerance? Food intolerances are often caused by stress! Food-intolerant people often have low levels of secretory IgA, a class of protective antibodies found in the gut. IgA antibodies protect the body against the entry of foreign substances. Stress leads to a decrease in secretory IgA? a bit of vicious cycle really, but it certainly explains the relationship between stress and food intolerance!
Underlying digestive problems (e.g. low stomach acidity, gut bacterial overgrowth, a "leaky" or damaged gut lining, yeast infection or poor digestive enzyme production) are common "causes" of food intolerance and must be addressed before avoiding foods unnecessarily. Gallbladder disease, gallstones, and pancreatitis may also be underlying causes of reactions to foods, but these will produce other symptoms too.
It is usually large food particles that cause allergic reactions, so proper breakdown of food (especially protein) via cooking and chewing is vitally important. Digestive enzymes or probiotics can often help too to ensure complete digestion, and once digestion is corrected, things can improve quite dramatically.
Signs and symptoms of food intolerance can be quite diverse, depending on how long the person has been ingesting food allergens and how the body has "adapted". Common symptoms include bloating, stomach cramping, diarrhoea or constipation - yes commonly known as "IBS"! Long term food intolerance may produce symptoms totally unrelated to the digestive system and may include fatigue, joint and muscle aching, depression, headaches and migraine, hyperactivity in children, and even certain autoimmune disorders.
Diagnosing a food intolerance rather than an allergy (via IgE antibody blood testing) is not easy, simply because reactions to foods can occur from anywhere between 12-36 hours after eating? coupled with the fact that an individual may be reacting to more than one food! Exclusion/reintroduction diets are the "gold standard" of tests and the most useful when done properly. They do need to be adhered to for at least 2-4 weeks initially, and are always best done under the guidance of a registered nutritionist or dietician with experience in food allergy and intolerance.
Various blood tests are now available (most useful are IgG antibody tests - available now via pin-prick blood sample) which may prove useful in many cases - but only when there are noticeable symptoms. Vega testing (measuring energy flow) and kinesiology (muscle strength testing) are entirely reliant on the skill of the practitioner, so how effective they actually are is very difficult to measure. Whatever the test, none are 100% accurate, and changes to a person's diet based purely on the results of a test cause more confusion than clarity, and very often lead to unbalanced eating, unnecessary food phobias, and possible nutrient deficiencies.
What to do if you suspect you have a food intolerance
1) Keep a food diary and note when symptoms occur
The most commonly allergic foods? Cow's milk, cheese, soya, eggs, peanuts, wheat, gluten, yeast, corn, rye, chocolate (often the milk in chocolate!), coffee, tea, alcohol (it is the chemicals and preservatives in alcohol, not the alcohol per say), citrus fruit (lemons, oranges), white potato, beef, various spices, tomato, malt, pork, chemical additives, colourings and preservatives in food (especially tartrazine, sodium benzoate, aspartame).
Food intolerances are best dealt with by avoidance of the offending food for a prescribed period of time, followed by a "rotation" diet, in which problem foods are only eaten every three to four days, instead of daily. Young children can often re-introduce foods after three months of avoidance, whereas adults may require six to twelve months of avoidance.
Much food intolerance and even some food allergy problems settle down after long-term avoidance, and especially when digestion is improved. When a problem food is only eaten sparingly, symptoms are less likely to return. The importance of rotating foods varies from person to person and may be related to the severity of the allergies.
The following foods are the least likely to provoke allergic reactions:
Grains and flours:
Cooked whole gains:
Dried beans should be soaked overnight. Pour off the water and rinse before cooking for allotted time. Canned beans often contain added sugar or other potential allergens, so if used they must be rinsed well.
Nuts and seeds Almonds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds - eat raw with no salt etc. Nut butters are highly nutritious spreads to use in place of butter or margarine, e.g. Tahini, almond butter, hazelnut or cashew butter.
Vegetables and fruit
Lucy-Ann Prideaux MSc BSc RNutr Registered Nutritionist
Florida Attorney General Opinion: Local Governments Can Regulate Vacation Rentals but Cannot Prohibit Them - Lexology (registration)
Lookout Mountain, Ga., Looking At Modified Version Of Vacation Rentals; Georgia Students To Help With Trails Planning - The Chattanoogan
Eating Disorders Do Not Discriminate
Who suffers from Eating Disorders?Eating Disorder sufferers are male and female alike. We are of all ethnicity's, religions,and economic backgrounds.
Finding the Elusive Complete-Protein Source
Images of "protein powder" containers with accomplished bodybuilders on their labels help inform consumers that protein is a critical macronutrient in strength training success. Yet what is sometimes lost in this protein-bodybuilding link is that protein is an essential component for everyone, regardless of physical activity.
7 Tips on Using Food Diet Remedies for Your Common Health Ailments
Making simple changes to your food diet can help remedy some of the common health problems. Increasingly, more health experts are acknowledging that natural food is a good alternative medicine against many diseases.
Turning an Addictive Snack into a Complete Meal
The proliferation of fast food restaurants, convenience stores, and vending machines in virtually every corner of residential America has created a serious nutritional problem. "Snacking" - a harmless-sounding verb that deceptively implies something unobjectionable - has reached addictive proportions[i].
Food Additives: Safety versus Health Maintenance / Prevention
The topic of food additives is not quickly addressed in one article. Searches on the internet can reveal information that is either pro or con regarding food additive substances.
Six Ways Soy Benefits Your Health
Soy, and most soy-based products, are nutritional powerhouses. Soybeans are the only plant food that has all of the essential amino acids our body requires, making it a complete protein.
Cholesterol Does Not Cause Heart Disease
Cholesterol is an essential building block of every cell in the body, required for all metabolic processes. It is particularly important in the production of nerve tissue, bile and certain hormones.
Whats Missing Could Be Making You Sick
Here's something you probably don't know. The fruit and vegetables you eat today are not as nutritious as the food from fifty years ago.
Dietary Sources of Glutathione
DIETARY SOURCES OF GLUTATHIONE: Glutathione (GSH) is an antioxidant and detoxifying agent whose protective role has been demonstrated in numerous clinical studies. GSH is synthesized rapidly in the liver, kidneys, and other tissues of the body, including the gastrointestinal tract.
Getting Your Target
What is health? Everyone wants this thing called health, and yet most people have never thought about what their "target of health" actually looks like. If you and your family were healthy, what would it be like? It is like this: Imagine you are shooting a bow and arrow at a definite target and you have no idea what the target is.
Confessions of a Personal Fitness Trainer
Last year I had a number of clients who started stubbornly on the Atkins diet despite my warnings. Immediately I saw almost profound results in their weight loss.
Choosing Organic for Health
We come from a society where growing organic and just growing produce and livestock for food Was once one of the same. Small, family farms still grow their own food using traditional methods passed down through the generations.
Just How Dangerous Are Splenda and Artificial Sweeteners - Which Side is Spinning?
There seems to be fairly poor tracking by any formal standards once a product is approved as a food additive. Despite supposedly tracking adverse reactions, the reality has been different at the FDA.
Avoiding High Cholesterol Foods
Cholesterol finds its way into our bodies in two main ways. The first is through our liver, which produces differing amounts of cholesterol in different people, and the second is through our diet.
Just What Is A Carbohydrate Anyway?
During a recent discussion with my father about low carb diets, he pointed to the butter on the table and said "is that a carbohydrate?" when I started to explain, he then pointed to the sugar and said "well, what about that?"Unfortunately, you cannot just point to a food and label it a "carbohydrate" as each food is made up of protein, carbs and fats in varying degrees. Some foods are almost all carb, and some, like meat, eggs and fish have none.
How to Use Flax Seed
You can eat whole flax seeds but you need to chew them good to break them up. Your stomach will not dissolve whole flax seeds and many of them will come out in your stools.
Magnesium Deficiency Causes Personality Change and WLS Patients are at Risk
Have you ever felt like you were completely losing your mind? Like the world was swallowing you up and little things were out of your control and unmanageable? Like you were confused, tired, out of sorts and simply wanted to collapse? Has everyday noise become intolerably loud in your head?That's how I was feeling a few months ago. I was confident I'd lost my mind and suffered a serious change of personality (for the worse, I may add).
Why Fad Diets Don't Work
Fad diets have been around for more than 50 years and no matter how many come and go, we are always intrigued and excited by the next one feeling almost sure this will be the one to work. And they do work.
What Actually Is Health?
Nature works mostly on the principle of thing and no thing. Light is the thing and darkness is the absence of light.
The Most Effective Treatments for Acid Reflux Disease
Acid reflux disease, or GERD, is a common compliant of the digestive system, often characterised by persistent burning or discomfort behind the breastbone. As the symptoms of GERD can mimic those of coronary disease, it is important that you visit your doctor, if you have chronic heartburn.
|home | site map|