Everyone is familiar with food allergies, the most common known ones are allergies for strawberries or peanuts. Food intolerance however is something completely different and much more difficult to diagnose.

Indications of food allergies:

  • Reaction occurs immediately after eating the food
  • Can be triggered by even a small amount of the food
  • Consistent reaction with every consumption
  • Can be life-threatening

Possible symptoms of allergies:

  • Rash, hives
  • Chest pain,
  • Nausea, stomach pain
  • Diarrhea, vomiting
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure and trouble swallowing are life-threatening symptoms

This makes an allergy rather easy to diagnose.

Food intolerance, on the other hand, is much more difficult to diagnose.

Possible symptoms of food intolerance:

  • Gas, cramps, bloating, irritable bowel
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Heartburn, stomach ache
  • Cough, runny nose

These are general symptoms that can indicate anything and often are diagnosed to be a result of stress. The symptoms don’t come immediately after eating the food and may happen only when you eat a lot of it or when you eat it often. Therefore patients usually have a long way to go before they are diagnosed correctly.

The most common food intolerances are:

Lactose intolerance

When your body does not produce enough of the enzyme lactase to break down the lactose in dairy products, the lactose can’t be absorbed through the gut wall into the blood and causes spasm, bloating, diarrhea and gas.

The WHO assumes that almost 65% of the population has some kind of digestion problems with dairy products.

Salicylates intolerance

Some people are oversensitive to salicylate, an acid which occurs in certain fruits and vegetables, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries. Processed foods with additives can also contain high amounts of salicylates.

The symptoms are asthma-like.

Gluten intolerance

Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder. It is caused by an immune response of the body against the protein gluten that occurs in most cereals. The symptoms are similar to lactose intolerance. It is estimated that 1% of the population suffers from Celiac disease, maybe even without knowing it.


Diagnosing food intolerance is very difficult. One way is a very strict diet over a period of several months where certain types of food are eliminated. Another way is a blood test called ELISA, which test the IgG-(Immunoglobulin G, an antibody formed by the immune system) mediated response to certain food. Food intolerance can’t be treated; you can only avoid the symptoms by following a strict diet avoiding all the food that causes the intolerance.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!