Food intolerance is a condition where your digestive system cannot normally process a specific food or substance. These substances can trigger inflammation or may not be able to be broken down as needed by the body, and that can lead to a host of uncomfortable symptoms including pain, bloating, gas, nausea, diarrhea and more. But what are some of the most common food intolerances, and why do these foods cause so many problems for people? We take a closer look at five of the most common food intolerances in today’s blog.
Five Common Food Intolerances
If you are dealing with any of the above symptoms, especially after eating certain foods, it’s a good idea to reach out to your primary care physician or a gastrointestinal specialist in your area. Here’s a look at five of the most common food intolerances across the US.
- Lactose Intolerance – As we talked about in depth on this page about lactose intolerance, the condition occurs when your body does not make enough of the lactase enzyme to break down lactose, which is a sugar commonly found in milk and other dairy products. It is the most common food intolerance, as upwards of 50 million Americans are living with lactose intolerance.
- Gluten Intolerance – Gluten intolerance or sensitivity occurs when your body cannot appropriately break down gluten, which is a protein found in wheat rye and barley grains. Some people believe that gluten intolerance is the same as celiac disease, but a sensitivity to gluten does not involve the same inflammatory damage as celiac disease can. Gluten intolerance is not something that your body will eventually get over, but you can learn to manage and prevent symptoms by working with a GI specialist.
- Histamine Intolerance – Histamine is produced naturally by the body to help regulate certain functions in your gut, and it’s also found in foods like cheeses, fruits and chocolate. Your body also produces an enzyme called diamine oxidase, which serves to break down the histamine that you get from food. If you become diamine oxidase deficient, your body may not be able to break down histamine properly, leading to an overabundance in your body. It’s this overabundance that leads to uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Fructose Intolerance – Fructose intolerance involves the body’s inability to digest fructose, which is a simple sugar typically found in fruits and fruit juices. Individuals with a fructose intolerance will oftentimes experience bloating, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort or a low blood sugar after consuming foods containing fructose. Dietary adjustments are needed to ensure you get the right nutrients from food and avoid some of the problems associated with prolonged fructose consumption if your body cannot properly digest the simple sugar.
- Caffeine Sensitivity – A final sensitivity that we want to highlight is caffeine sensitivity. Beverages like coffee and sodas are packed with caffeine, and if you have a sensitivity to caffeine, you’ll experience an overreaction to the presence of caffeine in your system. You may experience jitteriness, headaches, insomnia and gastrointestinal issues like abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Limiting your caffeine intake or avoiding caffeine altogether can help you avoid problems caused by this sensitivity.
If you want to get to the bottom of your gastrointestinal symptoms, or you want to figure out if you’re sensitive or intolerant of certain substances, reach out to a gastrointestinal specialist like Dr. Bhatti. He can conduct some simple tests to pinpoint your issue and set you up with a diet plan to help reduce or eliminate your symptoms. For more information, or for help with a different gastrointestinal issue, reach out to Dr. Bhatti and the team at Bhatti GI Consultants today at (952) 368-3800.