Food intolerance is the adverse non-immunological reaction of the body to the ingestion of certain foods, additives, and preservatives. This reaction can be metabolic when there is a deficit of enzymes involved in the metabolism of food; pharmacological, when there are chemical compounds naturally present in food; or indeterminate in which both of the above-described or mechanisms are not well clarified are involved.
These reactions begin as an inflammatory process, which occurs because the body perceives these foods as harmful. It tries to defend itself by producing a series of actions that manifest as very annoying symptoms for those who suffer from it. The symptoms are usually mainly gastrointestinal, although dermatological manifestations, neurological discomfort, respiratory difficulties, and psychological disorders may also be.
These symptoms often depend on the type of intolerance or food that generates the reaction. Thus, the most common symptoms will occur in the most common intolerances, and these appear in the first 36 hours after ingestion.
Why does food intolerance occur?
A non-immune mechanism produces food intolerance. It starts with an inflammatory reaction, as the body protects itself from what it considers an attack. The following causes can generate this mechanism:
1. Lactose intolerance. Its symptoms appear after ingesting dairy or lactose-containing foods and vary from person to person. They may include:
3. Fructose intolerance. Fructose is found in fruits and vegetables also in honey and corn syrup. The symptoms that are presented when having intolerance are more severe in children than adults, these are:
4. Intolerance to sucrose. This is the common sugar intolerance, which is quite rare in the world except for the Eskimo population of Greenland and Canada. Its symptoms include:
5. Pharmacological or chemical intolerance. This group includes highly fermented cheeses, chocolate, wine, among others. The reaction that is produced depends on the dose and other factors, and its symptoms comprise:
6. Indeterminate intolerance. It is mainly generated by additives added to processed foods, such as preservatives, antioxidants, and colorants. Clinical manifestations include:
Food intolerances produce annoying symptoms, which affect people’s quality of life, although they are not as dangerous as allergic reactions. Diagnosing it can be simple, but the symptoms can be very ambiguous and require attention.
Once you know which foods cause intolerance, you can prevent symptoms by eliminating them from your diet. In addition, you must consult your doctor for an appropriate diet.