Food Intolerance

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An adverse reaction caused by the inability of the body to digest certain substances in foods. This is different than food allergies, which involve the immune system rather than the digestive system. Depending on the severity of the intolerance, people must either limit their consumption of foods containing a troublesome ingredient or they must avoid them completely. Intolerance to lactose, a sugar found in milk; and intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, are two of the most common food related intolerances in humans.

Although there are numerous symptoms and conditions associated with food intolerances, the most commonly encountered symptoms are cramping and diarrhea. As it is with people who have food allergies, the severity of symptoms encountered among people suffering with food intolerances may vary greatly from one person to another. Intolerance to specific foods or food groups usually becomes worse with age, while food allergies may lessen, or occasionally, disappear with age.

As with any condition or disease, people with food intolerances must educate themselves concerning their particular condition in order to prevent or lessen the day to day complications they may encounter. It is important for people to gain knowledge on the foods that contain troublesome substances, and it is equally important for food intolerance sufferers to learn about specific foods they can use as substitutions. Reading and understanding food labels is vital for ensuring that a particular processed food does not contain an ingredient that could create difficulties.

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