What Does a Food Intolerance Feel Like?

April 09, 2018

What Does a Food Intolerance Feel Like?

Did you ever eat something and feel that you’re paying for it later on? There may be a reason for that. Many people associate food intolerance with a wide-sweeping set of issues that make it difficult to eat certain foods. A good example of this is lactose intolerance, which affects approximately 10% of all Americans.1 However, there’s a very good chance that you’ve had an unpleasant reaction to something you ate at least once in your life. Figuring out whether this is a food allergy or a food intolerance is of key importance to making sure you handle this issue the right way.

Food Allergy Vs. Food Intolerance

In essence, the biggest difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance is what bodily system is reacting to the food in question. A food allergy is just like any other allergy, in that it stems from an immune issue. For food allergies, there is some sort of component in the food (often a protein) that the body recognizes as harmful, leading to an allergic reaction. Some common foods involved in food allergies include:

  • Shellfish
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts

Depending on the nature of the allergy, a reaction can be either mildly discomforting or life-threatening, requiring immediate medical attention.2

A food intolerance stems from an entirely different system: the digestive system. For some reason, a component in the food you eat is difficult for you to digest. With the digestive process disrupted, it can cause a variety of issues. We don’t know what exactly leads to a food intolerance. We already mentioned how lactose can trigger a digestive intolerance. Other common examples include wheat, gluten and food additives like sulfites.

Some of the more common theories behind what actually causes food intolerances include: the absence of certain enzymes, the presence of certain chemicals, or other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.3 The fact that lactose intolerance and celiac disease are the only food intolerances that can be easily validated makes figuring this out difficult. Celiac disease is a bit of an outlier here, as it involves the immune system even though it is technically a food intolerance.4

Like what you're reading? Make sure you follow us on Facebook for more health blogs, giveaways, and a community of people just like you!

Symptoms

The good news is that while understanding what leads to a food intolerance can be difficult, it’s not nearly as hard to detect when you have one. Compared to food allergies, there are far more types of symptoms you can encounter with a food intolerance. Common symptoms include: occasional bloating, stomachache, cough, fatigue or irregularity.

Compared to food allergies, which take hold almost instantly, you may only begin to feel the effects of a food intolerance a few hours after you eat. People have tried to connect food intolerance to just about everything from lack of sleep to mental health issues.5

When it comes to treating a food intolerance, there are several approaches you can take, but one of the easiest ways to do it is by simply avoiding the type of food that causes issues for you. However, narrowing down exactly what that may be isn’t always easy. General practice is to try to eliminate the suspected food from your diet for roughly 4-6 weeks. After the end of this period, you can reintroduce the food to see if it again causes issues. It is a good idea to discuss your concerns with a medical practitioner.

In some situations, your intolerance may not be severe enough to cause you to ditch a food entirely, although it may cause discomfort to the point where you want added help. Part of the answer here may be enzymes. These are essential parts of our digestive system, and when we have insufficient amounts of them, it can lead to some of the issues we’ve been describing. The good news is that certain supplements can help increase our enzyme count, like Enzymedica’s Digest Spectrum™. This provides specialized enzymes for gluten, lactose, phenol and casein digestion, and taking it may lower common effects of food intolerance.

If you have a food intolerance, Enzymedica's Digest Spectrum™ may be able to decrease your symptoms!

 

  1. Cleveland Clinic, “Food Problems: Is it an Allergy or Intolerance,” https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10009-food-problems-is-it-an-allergy-or-intolerance
  2. Zukiewicz-sobczak WA, Wróblewska P, Adamczuk P, Kopczyński P. Causes, symptoms and prevention of food allergy. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2013;30(2):113-6.
  3. Choung RS, Talley NJ. Food Allergy and Intolerance in IBS. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2006;2(10):756-760.
  4. Zopf Y, Baenkler HW, Silbermann A, Hahn EG, Raithel M. The differential diagnosis of food intolerance. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2009;106(21):359-6
  5. Ortolani C, Pastorello EA. Food allergies and food intolerances. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2006;20(3):467-83.

Related Posts

  • 5 Ideas to Boost Energy (That Don't Take Extra Time)
    5 Ideas to Boost Energy (That Don't Take Extra Time)

    It’s the time of year when an exciting buzz of activity is gearing up—but if you’re feeling sluggish, rather than vibrantly alive, you may be dreading the extra demands on your time and energy. The good news is, chances are there are a few si...

  • What Leading Research Is Saying About The Microbiome
    What Leading Research Is Saying About The Microbiome

    As you’ve likely been hearing more and more about the bodies’ microbiome lately, you may be wondering what scientific research has been showing. Far from a fad, the microbiome is becoming a huge opportunity for growth in both wellness and med...

  • Microbiome Basics: What Is It & Why Should I Care?
    Microbiome Basics: What Is It & Why Should I Care?

    For a long time, bacteria was the enemy. We were told to disinfect everything and take antibiotics whenever we got a little bit sick, because killing the bacteria was the only way to make us safe. However, as science has progressed, we’ve lea...

  • What Is the Keto Diet and How Can I Make the Most of It?
    What Is the Keto Diet and How Can I Make the Most of It?

    In the world of diets, sometimes it may seem like every week there’s something new guaranteeing you’ll lose weight. It can be hard to know what these diets are, how well they work—and if they do work, what you can do to make them even more ef...




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Articles on Natural Digestive Health and Wellness

All Your Enzyme Questions Answered
All Your Enzyme Questions Answered

November 13, 2018

We’re passionate about how powerful and important natural digestive enzymes are, so we’ve assembled a helpful guide to give you simple, straightforward explanations to your enzyme questions.

Continue Reading

5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Habits in Kids
5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Habits in Kids

October 08, 2018

It can be challenging keeping kids healthy, especially with the demands of school, work and other life activities. Get a leg up on the season this year by following one of these five suggestions for healthier habits and healthier kids.

Continue Reading

Let's Talk About Poop... No, Really.
Let's Talk About Poop... No, Really.

October 03, 2018

If there’s one thing you’d rather not talk to your family, your best friend or even your doctor about… it’s poop. Yet, our poop can tell us so much about our health that it’s something we should be aware of.

Continue Reading