Intolerance to food can be caused by a genetic inability to digest the protein or sugar in food, and it can also be caused by many autoimmune and toxicity issues in the body. The most common example of a food intolerance is an inability to digest the sugar or protein found in dairy. The sugar in dairy is lactose, and one of the proteins is casein. If someone has a lactose or casein intolerance, they may exhibit symptoms of stomach pain, bloating, and gas. Symptoms may not always be obvious and can include non-digestive issues like fatigue. Dr. Granirer tests a basic primary food panel consisting of common food toxicities and food intolerances.Symptoms of a Food Intolerance
Unlike a food allergy, most intolerance to food symptoms are not life-threatening. Symptoms of a food intolerance include:
- Abdominal and stomach pain
- Bloating, cramps and gas
- Headaches, including migraines
- GERD, or gastric reflux esophageal disease
- Nervousness and irritability
- Brain fog
- Emotional imbalances
- Skin sensitivity
Scientists also think the inability to process and digest some food proteins and enzymes can lead to Type II Diabetes. Additionally, food intolerance symptoms can cause a reaction similar to irritable bowel syndrome.
Surprisingly, it has been discovered there are strong genetic factors in food intolerance. Asians, Africans and those of Mediterranean backgrounds are more likely to suffer from lactose intolerance than those born in North America, Canada and Europe.
Only 10 to 15 percent of those with a European genetic system suffer from lactose intolerance, while over 70 percent of other heritages suffer from lactose intolerance. Native Americans and Asians are more likely to have an alcohol intolerance, while Europeans are more likely to have an intolerance to wheat and other grains.Causes of Food Intolerance
Intolerance to food causes are thought to include:
- A lack of the enzymes in the digestive tract to properly break down the proteins and enzymes in certain foods
- An intolerance to the dyes, monosodium glutamate, MSG, and other chemicals and additives in foods
- An intolerance to sulfites, such as those commonly found in bacon and red wine
- An intolerance to salicylates, commonly found in aspirin, fruits, nuts, wine, juices, beer and coffee
- Genetic variants based on your blood type
- Toxicity in the body
- Leaky gut
- Autoimmune reactions
Any food consumed in excess can lead to digestive disorders and does not necessarily mean there is a food intolerance. Also, someone suffering from a food intolerance may be suffering from an ability to absorb key vitamins and minerals from foods.
Difference Between a Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
A food intolerance is not to be confused with a food allergy. A food allergy is triggered by histamines in the body when the smallest amount of the food is consumed. It occurs each time the food is consumed and happens immediately. Often, a food allergy can be caused by just a proximity to the food, or, in the case of nut allergies, close contact with the dust of the food. A food allergy is potentially life threatening, while a food intolerance is not.
Often, a food intolerance will not occur unless a large quantity of the food is consumed. For example a person who is lactose intolerant may not be bothered by the small amount of milk used in a bowl of cereal, but may become ill when eating a scoop of ice cream.
Food allergies and food intolerance should never be confused with food poisoning. Food poisoning is caused by the consumption of spoiled food.