Published Feb 12, 2021
Intolerances to food are a major source of everyday misery for many. Although the exact percentage of the population to suffer from food intolerance is disputed, there’s no doubt that the problem is widespread, and growing.
First, a note on terminology. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, food allergies are distinct from food intolerance. Allergic reactions involve the immune system and trigger symptoms that can be serious, even life-threatening without prompt medical treatment. The term ‘food intolerance’, by contrast, refers to a range of milder, but still unpleasant symptoms associated with particular foods.
Typically, allergic reactions occur immediately, while symptoms of intolerance might take a number of hours or even days to appear, so it can be quite a challenge to track down the foods that may be causing your discomfort. Fortunately, modern technology has made this process easier.
Dinner plate dangers
The following food intolerance symptoms chart lists some of the commonest symptoms, alongside the foods that may trigger them:
|Abdominal pain||Dairy foods; apples, beans, bread; foods high in fruit sugar (fructose); eggs|
|Acid reflux||Watermelon, cherries, pears, food containing fructose-based sweetener|
|Anxiety||Caffeine from tea, coffee and chocolate|
|Asthma||A natural plant chemical called salicylate, found in spicy food, coffee, oranges|
|Bloating and gas||Dairy foods; bread, pasta and cereals; a group of natural sugar called FODMAPs, found in apples, beans, lentils|
|Constipation||Foods high in grain protein (gluten), including bread and pasta|
|Diarrhea||Dairy foods; a bacterial substance called amine, found in fermented foods (e.g. yoghurt, pickles); fructose-rich foods; eggs|
|Itching||Dried fruit, smoked fish, dried cheese|
|Nasal congestion||Dried fruit, wine, pickled foods|
|Rashes and hives||Gluten-rich foods; some food colourings|
|Stomach cramps||Fermented foods, dried fruit|
|Wheezing||Pickled food, dried fruit|
Sensitivity to gluten – a protein found in foods made from grain – is not to be confused with the more serious coeliac disease, also triggered by gluten. The latter involves inflammation of the intestine and bowels and requires medical intervention.
If you experience any of the symptoms listed above on a regular basis, why not find out more by taking a safe and easy-to-use food sensitivity test at home? Explore your body’s reactions to hundreds of different foods and receive actionable insights.
Written by Bev Walton
Food Writer and Nutritionist, dietician
A chef of over 35 years with experience in all types of cuisine, dietary plans, recipe development, health and nutrition. I have been writing for over 10 years for both magazines, websites and ghostwriting for ebooks, Kindle and fully published books. I have a degree in nutrition and dietetics and work with restaurants and organisations within the healthcare profession. I am also able to take high quality photographs of recipes created. No writing task is too great, and whilst I specialise in the above, I am able to write about any topic you throw at me. Member of the Guild of food writers.