A food intolerance is a digestive issue that occurs after consuming a certain food or ingredient. It is different from a food allergy, which is an immune system reaction. Common symptoms of a food intolerance include gas, bloating, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Some people may also experience headaches, fatigue, or skin rashes.
The most common food intolerances are lactose intolerance, which is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products, and gluten intolerance, also known as celiac disease, which is a reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Other common food intolerances include fructose intolerance, which is an inability to digest fructose, a sugar found in fruits and honey, and histamine intolerance, which is a sensitivity to histamine, a chemical found in fermented and aged foods.
It can be difficult to diagnose food intolerances, as symptoms may not appear until several hours or even days after consuming the offending food. Some people may also be intolerant to multiple foods. An elimination diet, in which a person eliminates a suspected food from their diet and then slowly reintroduces it, can help identify food intolerances. A medical professional, such as a registered dietitian or a doctor, can help with the diagnosis and management of food intolerances.
It’s important to note that some food intolerances can be treated, such as lactose intolerance, with the help of lactase supplements, while others, like celiac disease, requires a strict gluten-free diet for life