More and more people are being diagnosed with a food intolerance but for many, they might be living with a food intolerance without even realising. Those symptoms they experience could be relatively mild or they could be major but still, they might put it down to something else. However, if you are experiencing problems after eating, it could be a sign that you have a food intolerance.
Is Food Intolerance the Same as a Food Allergy?
Before we delve into the topic, we need to cover the fact that there is a difference between a food intolerance and a food allergy. A food allergy can prove life-threatening and you will usually experience a reaction after eating foods. This is because your immune system responds to the allergens and reacts in a certain way.
With a food intolerance, you have a sensitivity to foods and certain ingredients such as gluten or lactose. The symptoms that you experience with a food intolerance are indigestion, nausea and even a general feeling of tiredness although there are other symptoms that you could experience.
However, the symptoms are not life-threatening but are uncomfortable and can reduce your quality of life.
How Can You Pin It Down to a Food Intolerance?
One of the first things you should do is begin keeping a food diary. This means that you should log everything you eat and when symptoms appear and then you can look to see if there is a link between the foods you eat and your symptoms.
It can be as long as 72 hours after consuming foods that you experience discomfort, so you shouldn’t look for an instant reaction.
This will take patience, effort, and detective work but by taking this approach, you can pinpoint an intolerance.
The other thing to remember is that you should not down the ingredients of foods. Sure, you might put your reaction down to one product such as almond milk, but it is not the almond milk that causes it but an ingredient within it.
Cut Out the Foods That You Believe Could Be Causing Issues
It can be frustrating to give up foods that you love but you could be getting to the root of the issue too. So, if you believe that you have found foods that are causing issues, you will need to stop consuming them.
Choose foods that you know are not causing you issues and use them as the foundation of your diet for two weeks. We say two weeks because this is how long it takes for the body to reset itself.
Remember, a reaction can happen instantly but it can also take up to three days. On your new diet, you might feel tired and experience headaches which is quite normal but make sure you drink lots of water.
If you have found that your food diary hasn’t given you any answers, try cutting out the most common foods that can cause an intolerance such as milk, fish, eggs, tree nuts, soy and wheat.
Furthermore, you might want to give up alcohol and coffee as they can both influence your gut.
Begin Reintroducing Foods After Two Weeks
Choose one food and reintroduce that to your diet. Give it two or three days and if you don’t experience any symptoms then you can introduce other food. This can be done until you experience symptoms and when you do, you can remove the food. Give it three days for the immune system to ease before adding in another food.
Pay Attention to Foods You Eat a Lot
If you are experiencing symptoms regularly, then this is down to something you consume frequently. This is common but it doesn’t mean that you must remove that food completely.
You can remove it completely, allow your body to calm down and then you can add some of it back in. However, you should wait around three months to do this but when you do, make sure you consume less than you once were.
Be Cautious When Removing Food Groups Entirely
By attempting to ease symptoms quickly can cause long-term deficiency symptoms. This is down to the fact that this can affect the microbiome in your gut and can result in a nutrient deficiency. As an example, if you are removing milk, you should make sure you replace the nutrients with other foods that contain the same nutrients.
Some people are fortunate to find the cause of their symptoms quickly. Others can take time, and, in some instances, they simply cannot pinpoint it to certain foods. If you don’t see results, then it is recommended that you see a qualified dietician who will be able to help you eventually find a solution.
Stephen Marshall is a Director of Be Basic CEO with extensive experience in marketing and financial services in Meridian, Idaho. His work has been featured and mentioned in many publications, including Tweak Your Biz, Mobile Business Insights, Social Nomics, Small Biz Club, Energy Central, Dzone, Biz Community, Blog Her, and more.