No one wants to experience a negative physical reaction to the foods they eat, but food intolerance is actually a fairly common development. In fact, a UK study showed that about 1 in 5 adults have some form of food intolerance and exhibit the symptoms associated with it.
To help clarify what food intolerance is, we’re diving into some of the most common questions asked about it.
When Does Food Intolerance Develop?
Food intolerance can develop at any age. Certain people become intolerant when they are young while others are born intolerant of certain foods. It’s also possible to develop an intolerance later in life.
Food Intolerance vs. Food Allergy
May people mistake their food intolerance for a food allergy, but there are several key differences between the two.
Food intolerance simply means that your body lacks the ability to properly break down a particular component of a certain type of food. It’s a digestion issue, often resulting from an enzyme deficiency. When troublesome foods are not well digested, you could experience several uncomfortable issues like:
- Excessive bloating
- Acid reflux
- Stomach pains
Some of the most common foods people are intolerant of include:
- Sugar alcohols
Although food intolerance should be taken seriously to best care for the digestive system, people with an intolerance can sometimes ingest small amounts of the problem food without major issues.
Indicators of a Food Allergy
Food allergies affect the immune system and are more severe than food intolerances. Food allergies trigger an immune response, causing the body to react in more serious ways. Food allergies can lead to:
- Hives on the skin
- Swelling or itching sensations in the mouth
- Swelling in the mouth or throat, making it hard to breathe
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomachaches
- Sensations of dizziness or lightheadedness
Food allergies can lead to some intense symptoms that are potentially life threatening. In many cases, a person with food allergies cannot ingest any amount of the triggering food safely. In extreme cases, they can’t be in the same room as the food they are allergic to.