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Food allergies produce a negative reaction in your immune system – think throat swelling and closure. Food intolerances, however, cause a negative reaction in the digestive system and can cause stomachaches and bloating.
2. Reaction time can vary.
Remember that delicious piece of cake you ate last Saturday at your sister’s birthday party? It may be the reason that you’re bloated and gassy on Monday morning. Unfortunately, food intolerance reactions can occur between 30 minutes to seven days after the food culprit was originally consumed.
3. Food intolerances often involve the foods we eat most regularly.
It may be that piece of toast you ate in the morning for breakfast, the yogurt you had for a snack or that pasta you ate for dinner. Foods that contain dairy and gluten are the number 1 offenders of food intolerance and we eat them all of the time.
4. Symptoms range all over the board.
Stomachaches, gas, bloating, tension headaches, migraines, feeling sluggish, skin rashes, asthma – just to name a few – are all symptoms that can occur from food intolerances. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor and try keeping a food journal to figure out what foods trigger the symptoms.
5. You may not react every time.
One confusing thing about food intolerance is that the amount of food you consume is directly related to the reaction you will have. For example, you may be lactose intolerant but be able to have milk in your coffee without suffering a reaction. However, drinking a whole glass of milk would likely make you want to curl up in a ball and moan and groan. This sometimes makes it hard to pinpoint which foods you are, in fact, intolerant to.
6. Stop eating that food.
The more often you eat a food you are intolerant to the worse your symptoms become. An occasional cheat from your diet won’t leave you with severe effects – as long as your “cheat day” isn’t seven days a week! Get the offending food out of your diet and you’ll become one step closer to a healthy digestive system.
7. You are not alone.
Did you know that Canadians report the most cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in the world? And did you know that many IBS symptoms are the same as those of food intolerances? Chances are many Canadians are running around with food intolerances and haven’t realized it yet!
8. Sadly, there is no cure.
Unfortunately there is no magic pill to make that uncomfortable pain disappear and to allow you to eat those cookies and milk again. The trick is to just avoid, avoid, avoid the foods you have reactions to and find substitute products if you can.
9. There is an app for that.
The app Food Intolerances is now available for your smartphone. It has over 700 foods you can track and you can learn about their nutrition facts and possible reasons why you may be reacting to them. You can also add foods to make a shopping list and flag foods you know you have intolerances to.
10. The weight loss versus weight gain debate.
You may have heard that having a food intolerance and not knowing about it can lead to weight gain. You may also have heard that eliminating the food will lead to weight loss. Studies are split down the middle, with some doctors claiming these statements are true while others say they are false. One thing is for sure though: As you start to study the foods you eat more closely, you will be drawn to naturally healthier foods. Your diet will improve and so will your overall body’s health.
In case you need a more concise list:
1. Food intolerances are different from food allergies. Allergic reactions take place in your immune system – think throat swelling – whereas intolerance reactions mostly take place in your digestive tract, causing bloating and stomach pain.
2. Reaction time can vary. That delicious piece of cake you ate on Friday night may only catch up with you on Monday morning. Reactions can occur anywhere between 30 minutes and seven days after ingestion.
3. Food intolerances often involve foods that we eat regularly. Foods that contain dairy and gluten – such as bread, cereal, milk and cheese, among others – are the number 1 culprits.
4. Symptoms range all over the board and are never very pleasant. Think bloating, gas, stomachaches, tension headaches, migraines and low energy.
5. You may not have a reaction every time. The amount of food you consume has a direct relation to your reaction. Milk in your coffee may be OK, but a glass of milk may cause you to call in sick.
6. The more often you eat a food you are intolerant to the worse your symptoms become. An occasional cheat from your diet won’t leave you with severe effects, as long as your “cheat day” isn’t seven days a week!
7. You are not alone. Food intolerance awareness has become more and more popular over the past few years because people are becoming informed and cutting bothersome foods from their diet.
8. Sadly, there is no magic pill that will make those uncomfortable pains disappear and allow you to still eat those cookies and drink that milk. Just avoid, avoid, avoid the foods you have reactions to and find substitute products if you can.
9. There’s an app for that. Food Intolerances is an app that lets you track 700 foods, flag them if they bother you, find out why you may react to them and create shopping lists that are dangerous-food free.
10. Your diet will become healthier once you cut out the foods you are intolerant to. You will begin to read labels more cautiously and will be more aware of what you put into your body.
More food intolerance related articles:
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Food allergies 101
Understanding food intolerances
Cooking for food allergies and intolerances
The truth behind 9 common milk myths
Simple fixes for common digestion problems
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8 steps to living (happily) without gluten