Dott.ssa Veronica Pacella
Nutrition & Wellbeing

Food intolerance: are we all really intolerant?

During these days I met some guys who are working on a new start-up dealing with the theme of intolerance. From my side it was interesting compare myself to a “hot topic” of the recent years, years in which the food’s sensitivity are increasing exponentially while the scientific opinion is still divided on the approval of a valid diagnostic method that puts all agree. By sheer coincidence, a few nights before, during a cocktail buffet, I heard the exclamation: “But there’s no food without milk? I’m a lactose intolerant ”, “ yes, me too” answered in chorus other people.
It was inevitable reflect on this theme then, which I have often studied in my work animated of curiosity and I would now just give a brief but useful ideas which could help to clarity the topic.

#Allergies are different from intolerance

Allergies are a quick reaction through your immune system to a substance (antigen) that is recognized as foreign to the body. With the Food intolerance the reaction is slowly and often, to get intestinal and extra-intestinal symptoms, they have to reach a threshold value, that is what the body can tolerate.

#The intolerances are not more than 200

It happened to read published intolerance checkup with more than 200 foods. Actually, by definition, intolerance is a reaction to a substance that is introduced in our body daily, so as to exceed the threshold value and, therefore, to cause symptoms of intolerance. In my experience the true food allergies affect just few variety of food; the rest is simply a sensitivity to a food, for example: the garlic is indigestible to many people but it’s not intolerance necessarily!

#We are all lactose intolerant

After weaning time, nobody is able to produce the lactase enzyme which breaks down lactose into glucose and galactose, as because we no longer need milk. However, milk is introduced without any interruption by replacing the precious breast milk to the cow’s milk. Chemically, the composition of the two milks is quite different as cow’s milk is heavier than breast milk (we can just think about the difference between a child and a calf). The lactase enzyme therefore keep to be produced even when it should not produce anymore and those people who can no longer produce it manifest lactose intolerance. In fact, we are all lactose intolerant because the cow’s milk (or any other animal milk) is not suitable to the human being. In addition, it is not often a lactose issue to give problems as caseins, or cow’s milk proteins, caseins are very large and they are often indigestible for our gastrointestinal system.

#Gluten intolerance does not exist

There is a lot of confusion also about this issue. The gluten molecule (which is a protein) is contained in cereals such as wheat, barley, rye and kamut. When we discuss about issues related to gluten we have to talk about: Celiac Disease (autoimmune disease), wheat allergy (allergy) and Gluten Sensitivity. The Gluten Sensitivity was so defined because there are no still ways to diagnose it clearly. Its identification is made by exclusion, that is, if from the analysis it doesn’t appear the subject is neither celiac or wheat allergy, but the symptoms are the same. It is verified empirically because people who are affected of Gluten Sensitivity although the analyze are negative, they are markedly better and they solve their ailments when they eliminate gluten from their diet.

#Intolerances are primarily highlighted by symptoms we have

Besides of intolerance checkup, all intolerance are combined by various symptoms and evidences which indicate something is not going to the right way. They range from common symptoms such as swollen belly, indigestion, reflux, colitis or constipation until you get a headache, weakness, drowsiness and in women are very common symptoms such as cystitis and recurrent candidacies.
Intolerances subject is vast and in the future posts I will elaborate other aspects, in the meantime I would like to invite you meditate about:

How often do you listen to your body?

Do you know your body talks with you constantly? If you pay just a little of attention you will be able to understand all the signals it sends you. Our body is a wonderful tool of awareness, a tool we should listen and thanks for everything it does every day. It’s not sure a symptom involves inevitably “something that does not work properly” but rather a signal that your body is sending you and it should be interpreted rather than suppressed.

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