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Is your child Food Intolerant?

Intolerance has been quite a frequently used word these days
in our socio political surroundings. But this time intolerance has nothing to
do with socio – political conditions. Here we are going to discuss food

According to Namu Kini, co-founder of Happy Healthy Me,
“Intolerance could mean that you feel slightly bloated, it messes with your
digestion. Allergy, however, can lead to a rash or fever, some people even
start choking. With gluten intolerance, for example, people just feel much
better when they don’t eat gluten. With allergies, people cannot touch the
food, or, they will be sent to the hospital. With a peanut allergy, people can’t
get on flights or go to public spaces, as they cannot be exposed to traces of
that allergen.”

Food intolerances aren’t the same as food
. Food allergies happen when your immune system reacts to a
food you’ve eaten. Food intolerances don’t involve your immune system. Food
allergies are generally more severe and have more symptoms than food
intolerances. That brings us to the conclusion that food allergy and food
intolerance are two different terms and need to be dealt differently.


Symptoms of food intolerance take lot of time to appear than
symptoms of allergies. It may sometime take more than 48 hours. According to
James Li, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic
allergy specialist
, when it is an allergy, even small amounts result
in symptoms, as may be the case with peanuts. Whereas, with food intolerance,
tiny amounts will usually have no effect. Apart from late appearance, it even becomes
difficult to identify the original culprit.

Some people are intolerant to group of foods. So it becomes
difficult for the doctor to determine whether it might be a chronic illness or
food intolerance. In spite of all the difficulties we still have some common
food intolerance symptoms. According to Australian NSW Food Authority, common
symptoms are:





Runny nose

Feeling under the weather

Stomach ache

Irritable bowel



There can be many causes of food intolerance, and we will
take a look at each of these in turn.

1.      Absence of an enzyme: Enzymes help in
digestion. If enzymes are missing, or insufficient, proper digestion may be
undermined. People who are lactose intolerant do not have enough lactose, an
enzyme that breaks down milk sugar (lactose) into smaller molecules that the
body can break down further and absorb through the intestine. If lactose
remains in the digestive tract, it can cause spasm, stomach ache, bloating,
diarrhoea, and gas. Researchers from Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health
Centre in Tacoma, WA, found that fructose intolerance is common in children with recurrent or functional abdominal

2.      Chemical causes of food intolerance:
Certain chemicals in foods and drinks can cause intolerance, including amines
in some cheeses, and caffeine in coffee, tea, and
chocolates. Some people are more susceptible to these chemicals than others.

3.      Food poisoning – toxins: Some foods
have naturally-occurring chemicals that can have a toxic effect on humans,
causing diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting. Undercooked beans have aflatoxins that
can cause extremely unpleasant digestive problems. Fully cooked beans do not
have the toxin. Hence, people may wonder why they react to beans after one
meal, and not after another.

4.      Natural occurrence of histamine in some
: Some foods, such as fish that has not been stored properly, can have
an accumulation of histamine as they “rot.” A number of people are particularly
sensitive to this naturally-occurring histamine and develop skin rashes,
abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, vomiting, and nausea. Often, the symptoms are
similar to anaphylaxis (a strong
allergic reaction).

5.      Salicylates are present in many foods: Salicylate
intolerance, also known as salicylate sensitivity, occurs when somebody reacts
to normal amounts of ingested salicylate. Salicylates are derivatives of
salicylic acid, which occurs naturally in plants as a defence mechanism against
harmful bacteria, fungi, insects, and diseases. The chemicals are found in many
foods and most people can consume salicylate-containing foods without any
adverse effects. However, some people suffer symptoms after eating large
amounts. Salicylate intolerant individuals should avoid foods that contain high
levels. Salicylates are present in most plant-sourced foods, including the
majority of fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs, tea, and flavour additives.
Mint-flavouring, tomato sauce, berries, and citrus fruits have particularly
high levels. Processed foods with flavour additives are usually high in
salicylates as well.



Many a times people don’t take a disease seriously till it
becomes epidemic or pandemic just like how it happened with Covid 19. Some
might think that this is prevalent in Western countries and India has nothing
to do with Food Intolerance. Food is same everywhere and cases in India are
rising with the same pace as are in others. Food is same everywhere and so it can
occur to Indians as well so let’s understand who are in most dangerous

Food intolerance
may affect up to 10% of the population when all food chemicals are considered,
which is at least 2 times the prevalence of food allergy.

More children
suffer from food allergies than adults.

Food intolerance
seems to run in families, although each family member may be sensitive to a
different food chemical. More women experience food intolerance than men.

Food intolerant
people are also likely to suffer from allergies. Food intolerance can make
existing flare-ups of eczema and asthma worse, but cannot bring about these
conditions on its own.

Children with
food intolerance are more likely to be sensitive to food additives (artificial
colours, flavours, and preservatives) than adults.


Common food intolerances:

The most common food intolerances are to:

Lactose, which is sugar in dairy products


Food additives, including flavour enhancers like

Fructose, which is the sugar in fruit




Histamine, present in mushrooms, pickles and
cured food

8% of children all over the world are food allergic. 38.7%
of food allergic children have a history of severe reactions. 30.4% of food
allergic children have multiple food allergies. Food intolerance and allergies
are not very simple issues. Each of these tolerances are different and are
needed to be treated differently. In our next article we’ll talk about these
tolerances in details and their diagnosis. So keep reading Unised’s blogs.

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