There has been a lot of debate about food allergies in recent years. In particular, medical professionals have been trying to classify reactions to certain foods by distinguishing between food allergy and food intolerance. The topic is usually broached with a little skepticism in the health news. After all, a food allergy is a lot more serious than a mere food intolerance — or is it?
Of course an anaphylactic response to a certain food is a very serious health problem. But food intolerances can also cause you a lot of suffering. You can experience headaches, fatigue, stomach pains, breathing difficulties, achy joints and muscles — you name it. Whatever your symptoms and health issues, a food intolerance could potentially be the trigger.
While many doctors may consider a food intolerance as a psychosomatic problem — more based in the mind than on any real physiological change in the body — the concept has been around since the ancient Greeks. The Greeks recognized that some unpleasant symptoms could be specifically linked to the ingestion of certain foods. One of two things can happen to trigger these symptoms: either a message gets sent to your immune system to produce antibodies as a potential defense; or a much slower response takes place in the gastrointestinal system. The first is considered an allergy; the second, a food intolerance. Another way to look at is that a food allergy is a toxic reaction, while a food intolerance is non-toxic.
The bottom line here is that food intolerances are real. The good news is that the best alternative cure is simply to avoid the offending food. This should clear up any symptoms. You can investigate your own food intolerances by trying an elimination diet. If you find yourself suffering from uncomfortable symptoms and don’t know the cause, try leaving out one food from your daily meals and see if anything improves. The challenge with food intolerances is that symptoms can appear hours and even days after a triggering food is eaten. It may take a little time to zero in on the one food that is causing symptoms to appear.
For more information on food intolerance, see the article How You Can Fight Food Intolerance.