Food intolerance and nutrition
Food intolerances and food allergies seem to be on the rise. Are we becoming more allergic and intolerant, or is there something else behind the growing figures? Perhaps part of the reason is the increased awareness of how the common foods we eat such as wheat affect our health and wellbeing. Much is written about food intolerances and allergies and their symptoms, and many people come to us asking for food intolerance tests to help resolve their health issues. The most common symptoms linked to food intolerances are:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Low energy
- Fluid retention
- Aches and pains
A food intolerance is not the same as a food allergy - a food allergy can cause serious symptoms and can be life threatening. Although a food intolerance can cause uncomfortable symptoms, it is rarely life threatening, but could possibly lead to long-term illnesses such as arthritis, asthma, eczema and IBS.
With a food intolerance, the reaction to food can be delayed, sometimes up to three days making the culprit food difficult to detect. Whereas with an allergy, the reaction tends to be instant and occurs every time the culprit food is ingested.
If you are suffering from arthritis, migraines, or skin problems such as eczema you may have a food intolerance. At The Nutrition Coach we can carry out testing to identify food intolerances. However, we don’t always recommend food intolerance tests - we frequently find in our clinical practice that food intolerances are not the cause of the health problems, but in fact the symptom. Food intolerances can often arise because a person's digestive system has become compromised through poor diet, excess stress, infections, or antibiotic use.
This means that when we see clients with suspected food intolerances, we often carry out a comprehensive digestive stool analysis rather than a food intolerance test. This gives us a detailed view of the state of the digestive system such as the levels of good bacteria, whether there is an overgrowth of any unwanted bacteria, how well the digestive enzymes are working, as well as uncovering any potential parasites that can disrupt the digestive function. We find that in most cases once the digestion is working optimally again the food intolerance symptoms become a thing of the past.
If you are not sure whether your symptoms are caused by food intolerances or by some underlying digestive issues, we'd be happy to discuss the best way forward for you.
Food intolerances and diet
If you think you have a food intolerance we will firstly discuss if you need to carry out a test and if so which would be the best test for you, i.e. either a food intolerance test or a digestive analysis test. We will then put together a tailored food intolerance diet. This may mean removing some foods from your diet but we will recommend alternatives so that you still have plenty of food choices and don’t feel deprived. For example, if you have a wheat intolerance, we will recommend plenty of wheat free alternatives, such as wheat free bread, flour and pasta, which you can still happily eat. We may also recommend some supplements to help improve the health of your digestive system.
Many clients find that once they have been following a food intolerance diet and improved their digestive health, symptoms such as IBS, bloating, low energy and skin problems clear up.