Intolerances, Symptoms and Solutions
by Callum Allan on Nov 11, 2022
We've all been there. You're midway through your workout and suddenly you don't feel so great. Your stomach is cramping, you feel bloated and your energy levels have plummeted. More often than not, this can be attributed to something you've eaten - and it's usually down to food intolerance.
There are a number of different intolerances that can cause these kinds of symptoms, but some are more common than others. In this blog post, we'll run through the most common intolerances, their symptoms and how they can be solved.
The Most Common Intolerances
Lactose intolerance is caused by the body's inability to break down lactose - a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. The symptoms of lactose intolerance can range from mild (bloating, gas and nausea) to severe (cramping, diarrhoea and vomiting).
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, around 65% of the world's population has some degree of lactose intolerance. If you think you might be lactose intolerant, the best way to find out is to eliminate dairy from your diet for a couple of weeks and see if your symptoms improve. If they do, it's likely that you are intolerant.
There are a number of ways to solve lactose intolerance, including taking supplements that contain the enzyme needed to break down lactose or choosing dairy products that are naturally low in lactose (such as yoghurt or cheese). You could also try plant-based alternatives to dairy products, such as almond milk or soy milk.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It's what gives bread its chewy texture and pizzas their doughy base. For people with gluten intolerance (or celiac disease), ingesting gluten can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms including bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fatigue. It's estimated that around 1% of people worldwide suffer from celiac disease, although the figure may be higher as many people don't realize they have the condition. The only way to find out if you're gluten intolerant is to eliminate gluten from your diet for a couple of weeks and see if your symptoms improve. If they do, it's likely that you have an intolerance or celiac disease. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to solve gluten intolerance. These days, there are plenty of gluten-free options available in supermarkets, so it's easier than ever to find food that suits your needs. And if you're worried about missing out on all the deliciousness that comes with eating gluten (we're looking at you, bread), don't worry - there are plenty of recipes out there for delicious gluten-free alternatives.
Fructose is a type of sugar that's found in fruits, honey and some vegetables. Unlike glucose (another type of sugar), fructose is metabolized in the liver. For people with fructose intolerance, this process doesn't work properly, which can lead to a build-up of toxins in the liver and consequent digestive problems such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, flatulence and nausea. Fructose intolerance is relatively rare; according to one study, only 0.5-1% of people have the condition. If you think you might be fructose intolerant, the best way to find out is to eliminate fructose from your diet for a couple of weeks. If your symptoms improve, you are likely intolerant. There are several solutions available for fructose intolerance, including taking enzymes before meals or choosing foods that are low in fructose. You could also try eliminating fruit from your diet altogether, or sticking to fruits that are lower in fructose, such as berries.
Intolerances can be frustrating, but fortunately, there are a number of solutions available. By eliminating certain foods from your diet, taking supplements or choosing alternative foods, you can make sure intolerances don't impact your quality of life.