by Lauren Rae, CPT at TRYM Fitness and Sunwarrior Contributing Writer
Because some stomachs are more sensitive than others, experiencing a reaction to food can be a common occurrence. However, if you regularly suffer from excess gas, upset stomach, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, eczema, migraines, fibromyalgia, sinus issues, and even irritability and anxiety, chances are you are intolerant to some type of food or combinations of food that you’re ingesting.
A food intolerance is different from an allergy. By definition, food intolerance consists of a non-allergic food hypersensitivity which causes varied physiological responses associated with a particular food or compound found in a range of foods. Meaning you can be have trouble digesting certain foods and therefore experience symptoms that affect you without them actually being life threatening.
That being said, without proper dietary changes, ignoring a food intolerance can be dangerous to your health because the body’s ability to properly digest and absorb important nutrients becomes weakened in the presence of gastrointestinal irritants. This phenomenon is becoming an increasing problem as our bodies become more toxic as a result of environmental exposure and poor food quality.
It should be mentioned that an intolerance may also arise if the body is lacking an enzyme needed to properly digest and eliminate a food or substance. In that case you’ll need to find the food containing that enzyme. Regardless of cause, the impact of food intolerances on the body can be catastrophic. Many people are being misdiagnosed with anxiety, depression, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorders, and more.
The 5 most common food intolerances and sensitivities:
Dairy intolerance is widespread, yet seems to be moderately tolerable by most. Recent studies have shown around 80% of people are intolerant to dairy products. This means that the majority of people have difficulty digesting lactose, whey, and casein. The good news is there are other options like almond milk, coconut milk, and vegan proteins. Sunwarrior happily offers Warrior Blend and Classic Protein.
Gluten sensitivity describes those who cannot tolerate gluten and experience similar symptoms to those with celiac disease, but without the intestinal damage. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity affects 18 million Americans, almost six times the amount of those diagnosed with celiac disease.
3. Fructose, fructans, and polyols
These sugar compounds can be found from natural sources in fruit, honey, and syrups as well as in table sugar and many processed foods and beverages. Because sugar and sweeteners can come from varied sources, if you have this type of intolerance, it is best to avoid any food or beverage that contain fructose, fructans, and polyols.
The yolk and whites of an egg are potent histamine liberators which can cause a non-allergic response in individuals suffering from egg intolerance. That being said, most chickens are fed a soy-based diet, therefore it is important to determine if you are intolerant to the eggs specifically, or to soy protein.
5. Yeast and alcohol
Any food or beverage that is aged or contains baker’s yeast and a fermentation process will cause those intolerant to experience symptoms and digestive issues. Alcohol increases the permeability of the gut, therefore allowing more food molecules and toxins into the body. Ignoring this intolerance and consuming foods that can lead to yeast overgrowth in the small intestine will eventually allow toxins and food molecules to penetrate the lining of your intestines, entering your bloodstream and your brain and, in turn, affecting your entire body.
Try eliminating one or more of these foods from your diet and see how it affects your body. You may need to do a bit of experimenting because there can be more than one food you’re intolerant to and sometimes there may be an essential nutrient missing from your diet that you’ll need to add. You don’t have to live with gastrointestinal issues; listen to your body, feed it what it needs, and increase your quality of life.