Food intolerance generally refer to difficulty in digesting certain foods. It is different from food allergies, which can be life threatening. Food allergies trigger the histamine mediated sensitivity reaction, thus the immune system is involved here. On the other hand, food intolerances do not have immune mediated hypersensitivity reaction and are thus not as dangerous as food allergies. The symptoms of food allergies may be observed immediately on eating the food. The symptoms of food intolerances rather takes its own time. The symptoms of food intolerances are mainly of digestive upset and include bloating, stomachache, irritable bowels etc. Migraine, urticarial eruptions, cough, runny nose etc. could also occur as a result of food intolerances. There are several causes for food intolerances, but the most notable among it is the absence of enzymes needed for the digestion of that particular group of food items. Preservatives and other chemicals present in certain food, toxins in certain food etc. could also cause food intolerances. Some of the most common food intolerances are lactose, gluten, egg, soy, alcohol, corn, yeast and as mentioned earlier food additives.
1. Lactose Intolerance:
This is the most common food intolerance. The person is unable to tolerate milk and other dairy products. The person is sensitive to the lactose, the sugar present in milk. This happens due to a decline in the production of the enzyme lactase which is needed for the digestion of lactose. The symptoms of lactose intolerance include bloating in the stomach, stomachache, diarrhea or vomiting etc. Lactose intolerance is noticed in certain ethnic groups. The lactose production gets lowered due to certain illnesses or after an intestinal surgery. There could also be a decline in production as we age.
2. Gluten Intolerance:
Gluten intolerant people are sensitive to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten intolerance is a little tricky as gluten could also be found in processed food, sauces, sweets etc. It is advisable to read the labels of ready-made food to check if it contains gluten. It is different from a more serious coeliac disease. There are lots of gluten free options these days, a welcome relief for those who cannot tolerate gluten. Gluten intolerance too is manifested as bloating, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, urticarial rashes, irritation of eyes, mouth, throat etc.
3. Soy Intolerance:
Soybeans are a rich source of protein. But these days the soy products are used in various food items to give them flavour. In soy intolerance, the body has trouble in digesting soy. This again manifest itself as stomachache, bloating, vomiting, mood changes, headache etc. Long term intake of soy products could lead to hormonal imbalances. Soy protein could also act as an allergen.
The eggs could also cause food intolerance. It could also be that chickens are fed a soy based diet and these in turn could be the real reason behind your food intolerance. It would be preferable to opt for eggs from grass fed or organic chicken. As eggs are also used in lots of processed and packaged goods and desserts, it is wise to check the labels. Fortunately, there are also eggless baked items these days.
5. Food Additives:
The various chemicals added in food could also cause food intolerance. Preservatives, additives pesticides etc. are the cause for food intolerance here. The list of these chemicals is large. These could trigger hives, diarrhea, asthma etc.