A food intolerance is pretty much what it sounds like. It is intolerance to certain foods.
When you eat those foods, you have an adverse reaction. That adverse reaction could be as mild as slight indigestion or a skin rash, or as extreme as uncontrollable vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea.
How severe the symptoms are depends on how sensitive you are to those foods.
Are food intolerances considered a medical condition?
Up until a couple of decades ago, the medical profession did not really accept that some people were intolerant of certain food groups. It was recognised that certain foods ‘did not agree with’ some people, but not generally understood that some people had an adverse reaction. A severe enough reaction to mean that if they continued to eat that food they could damage their health. The medical community now recognises the condition. It is now called either non-allergic food hypersensitivity or non-IgE mediated food hypersensitivity.
The causes of food intolerance
Usually the symptoms of food intolerance are caused by the body’s inability to digest a certain element in foods. There are several underlying causes of this inability to digest some foods completely.
If your body cannot digest a food, it will reject it. That is why many people experience sickness or diarrhoea. Other symptoms are due to the compound acting as an irritant within the body. Most of the symptoms are caused by inflammation, which is the body’s defensive response to anything that it perceives as a threat.
Do I have a food intolerance?
The symptoms of food intolerances can be hard to pin down. This is because the reaction to the food is not necessarily immediate like it would be with a food allergy.
It can take time for the compound that the body perceives as toxic to build up in the body and cause a reaction.
The other issue is that on any given day most people eat a huge range of different foods. Determining which food causes the symptoms can be difficult.
As a result, many people only discover that they have a food intolerance late in life.
Research into food sensitivity
There is ongoing research looking into the causes of sensitivity to foods. Difficulty in digesting certain foods is becoming more and more common, which has stepped up the pace of research into the issue.
Food allergies in children
There is a growing body of research that suggests that food allergies in children are increasingly common. Sensitivity or intolerance of certain foods in children is also on the increase.
Given that food allergies are so dangerous for children most parents want to know more. In addition, sensitivity to foods can damage a child’s long-term health, so it is important that parents are well versed in the subject.
Seeking medical help at an early stage can help a child to grow up strong and healthy despite not being able to eat a full diet. Therefore, recognising the signs of food sensitivity is something every parent should be able to do.