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Are You Food Hypersensitive?

18th, Aug 2020

Have you or someone you know experienced unpleasant symptoms after a meal or snack?

Experiencing symptoms such as stomach pains, bloating or diarrhoea could be a sign of a food allergy, however it is also possible that you could have a food intolerance, celiac disease, or a food sensitivity.

Food Intolerances

A food intolerance is difficulty digesting certain foods and having an unpleasant physical reaction to them. The most common food reaction appears to be lactose intolerance which is quite common as we get older as our ability to digest dairy decreases.
 
Research has found that only about 35% of people worldwide can digest lactose beyond the age of about seven or eight.
 
Lactose intolerance is not a serious disease, but it can be quite uncomfortable. Avoiding dairy products is a sure way to avoid symptoms.

Food Allergies

Most food allergies are caused by eight foods:

  • Cow's Milk
  • Eggs
  • Tree Nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Soy
  • Wheat

Unlike food intolerances, food allergies are caused by your immune system incorrectly identifying some of the proteins in food as harmful causing quite severe responses such as rashes, facial swelling, difficulty breathing and low blood pressure.
 
Food allergies can show up at any time in our lives, even during older adulthood so if you think you may have a food allergy, consider allergy testing and treatment, especially if your symptoms are severe. Always read the labels for ingredients and if necessary, carry epinephrine shots in case of accidental ingestion or contact with the food you are allergic to.

Celiac disease

Coeliac disease is a condition where your immune system attacks your own tissues when you eat gluten. This damages your gut (small intestine) so you are unable to take in nutrients.
 
Avoiding gluten is the only solution to this problem. Gluten is found in a variety of grains, including wheat, rye, barley, semolina and bulgur. Many processed foods also contain gluten. People with celiac disease must also be careful about cross-contamination. 

Food sensitivities 

After eating certain foods, many of us will experience symptoms that are not related to food intolerances, food allergies, or celiac disease. Exposure to specific foods may create an immune reaction that generates a multitude of symptoms including joint pain, stomach pain, fatigue, rashes, and brain fog.
 
So, what do you do if you are Food Hypersensitive?
 
The best thing you can do to identify food sensitivities is a process called an ‘elimination diet’ where you carefully observe and remove certain foods believed to cause reactions from the diet your two to four weeks. You would then reintroduce them one by one and watch for symptoms.
 
A physician or nutritionist can provide guidance for undertaking an elimination diet which can help stave off undesirable symptoms and improve your quality of life. Food reactions, especially sensitivities, can also fade away with time and you may be able to reintroduce small amounts of certain foods gradually that initially were giving you trouble.
 
At Kingsbridge Private Hospital we offer a range of plans and packages for patients with a range of dietary problems and/or requirements to include:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Coeliac Disease
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Weight Loss

For further information on our services please visit the Dietitians & Weight Loss page on our website or contact us via our Online Enquiry Form.
 
Sources:
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/food-allergy-intolerance-or-sensitivity-whats-the-difference-and-why-does-it-matter-2020013018736
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/common-food-allergies#:~:text=Most%20food%20allergies%20are%20caused%20by%20eight%20foods%3A%20cow's%20milk,proteins%20in%20food%20as%20harmful.


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