- Signs & Symptoms
- Food Intolerance vs Allergy
- Food Chemical intolerance
- RPAH Elimination Diet
+ My Approach to Intolerance - how I can help
Food intolerance is a reproducible adverse reaction to a food or food chemical. Food intolerance can affect any system of the body, commonly the skin (e.g. rashes, excema), gastrointestinal (e.g. pain, changes to bowel habits, bloating), respiratory tracts (e.g. sinus issues, mucous production, tightening of airways), and the central nervous system (e.g. mood disturbance, fuzzy head, poor concentration, fatigue, migraines). Reactions can range from mild to severe and can occur occasionally or ongoing. Reactions can also occur up to three days after eating a trigger. Plus there is usually a tolerance level, meaning that you may feel okay after eating a small amount, but not feel well eating more than your personal tolerance level. This makes investigating food intolerance without assistance by a specialist practitioner difficult.
The main differences between a food intolerance and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is that IBS is limited to the digestive tract i.e. symptoms usually involve abdominal bloating and /or pain, cramping, reflux, indigestion, diarrhoea, loose stools and / or constipation. More systemic symptoms such as involving the skin and nervous system can indirectly occur from associated 'leaky' / permeable gut. Read more about IBS HERE.
Food intolerances are different to food allergies. An allergy causes an immune system reaction soon after eating or with exposure to the skin. Allergy can cause severe and life threatening symptoms (anaphylaxis) that require immediate medical attention. These symptoms include difficultly breathing, swelling of the tongue and throat, persistent coughing, difficultly talking, pale skin and limp body. Mild allergy symptoms include swelling of the face, eyes and /or lips, welts / hives on the skin, abdominal pain and/or vomiting. Less common food allergy symptoms include colic, eczema, reflux, chronic diarrhoea and failure to thrive in infants.
Food Chemical Intolerance
To many people’s surprise, food chemicals not only include those added during food processing (e.g. preservatives, colours and flavour enhancers such as MSG), but can be naturally occurring in a wide range of natural foods like fruits and vegetables (e.g. salicylates, amines, glutamate). Food proteins such as gluten, whey and casein (in dairy), and others found in soy, eggs and other foods can also be problematic for sensitive people.
Note: The RPAH Elimination diet is not recommended long-term – it is used as an assessment tool. It is best for your long-term health to avoid unnecessary food restrictions. Please contact a practitioner trained in the RPAH Elimination Diet (aka FAILSAFE diet) if you need support with challenges and reintroducing foods back into your normal diet, as well as investigating what may be causing your food intolerances.
See the ASCIA and RPAH Allergy Unit websites for more information on food intolerance.