With awareness of the problems caused by food intolerance growing amongst Australians, more and more people are getting tested – usually to find that intolerances have been causing their problems all along.
While there are many foods that “trigger” food intolerances (our Imupro300 test looks at over 271 trigger foods), some are far more common than others. Here are the 5 most common food intolerances in Australia:
First of all, it should be noted that there is a difference between “dairy” intolerance and “lactose” intolerance – even though they come from the same food source. Dairy intolerance is sensitivity to anything that is made from or contains cow’s milk and is the result of intolerance to the proteins in milk. Lactose intolerance, by contrast, is a disorder of absorption of the milk sugar in the milk. In order to properly manage your diet, it is important to know which, if either, type of milk intolerance that you have.
Some people are intolerant to the proteins contained in eggs. If you are one of these people, you will typically experience gastric symptoms within a couple of hours of consuming eggs and they can range from quite minor to rather severe. This will depend upon your body’s tolerance level which varies from one person to another. Some people can eat one egg without experiencing any symptoms while others can’t eat anything that contains even trace amounts of egg protein.
Unfortunately there is no cure for egg intolerance so if you want to avoid the symptoms, you must eliminate egg proteins in your diet. It’s easy to avoid real eggs but not so easy to eliminate other products containing egg proteins. Examples of foods that may contain egg protein are: sauces, mayonnaise, cakes and baked goods, pastas, meatloaf, and even hot dogs.
While peanuts are primarily associated with a food allergy, it is also possible to have an intolerance to the proteins found within the nuts and not be allergic to them. Of course it is vitally important to know if you are allergic to peanuts since reactions can be quite severe and even fatal. If your symptoms are more related to abdominal discomfort or acid indigestion, then you are likely experiencing intolerance to peanuts.
Soy beans are processed into additives, oils and powder that add flavour and protein to commercially processed foods. Soy intolerance means that your body is having trouble digesting soy or it is creating irritation to your digestive system and causing uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms may occur immediately or could take several days to manifest. Soy intolerance typically affects your gastrointestinal system. Additionally, you may experience headaches, mood swings, irritability, depression or anxiety.
Around 15% of the population are intolerant to the gluten ingredient found in many wheat products. Gluten is a complex protein used in the baking process. People with wheat intolerance may be able to eat small amounts of the offending foods, but larger amounts can cause them to feel unwell. Wheat can also trigger or worsen the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Wheat intolerance symptoms can take up to 48 hours to surface after eating wheat, which makes connecting the cause and the effect very difficult. Most people who suffer from wheat intolerance do so for years without knowing the cause. This is due to the delayed reaction as well as the fact that symptoms can also be attributed to many different types of medical conditions, including Celiac Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
With many foods that trigger food intolerance symptoms, it can be hard to know which food is really causing your symptoms. If you suspect that you may also be intolerant to any food, the best thing to do is to take a comprehensive intolerance test.