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Food intolerances: everything you need to know

In food, there are certain products or food components that can cause adverse reactions , from small rashes caused by food intolerances to severe allergic reactions. However, sometimes there is an overreaction of this immune defense filter, although most people can eat a wide variety of foods without problems.

The human organism is a perfect example of autonomous work. Everyone works for everyone, trying to make up for possible deficiencies if a lack is suffered, while some systems are dedicated to general service.

This is the case of the immune system, related to the system capable of eliminating infections, intoxications or tumor cells without showing any symptoms, the detection, identification and elimination of foreign substancesantigensworks without rest.

What are food intolerances?

In a small percentage of the population there are certain foods or food components that can cause adverse reactions, from small rashes to severe allergic reactions, which may be due to allergies or food intolerances, concepts that we must differentiate.

Food intolerances: everything you need to know

Food intolerances affect the metabolism, but not the body’s immune system . A good example is lactose intolerance, which occurs in certain people due to the lack of a digestive enzyme called lactase, which breaks down the sugar in milk, or intolerance to gluten in cereals such as wheat.

Adverse food intolerances are frequently confused with food allergies . In many cases, these reactions are due to some other factor, such as food poisoning , a psychological aversion to a food, or an intolerance to an ingredient in a food.

What are food allergies?

Food allergy is a specific form of intolerance to a food or one of its components, which activates the immune system . An allergen is a food protein that causes allergy, which in most people does not cause adverse reactions. This substance causes a series of chain reactions in the immune system, including the production of antibodies or immunoglobulins E.

These antibodies cause the segregation of chemical substances, such as histamine, which produces several symptoms, such as itching, runny nose, cough or respiratory disorders . Frequently, allergies to food or its components are inherited , and are usually identified in the first years of life.

Food intolerances: everything you need to know

Although one in three people believe that they are allergic to some foods, the real prevalence of food allergy is only 2% in the adult population, being somewhat higher in the child population – between 3% and 7% -, which exceeds them in most cases before starting to go to school.

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Foods get fat equally

Lately the false belief has spread that a food can fatten some people while others do not, because certain laboratory immunological methods, dedicated to diagnose intolerances or allergies, are able to allow the consumption of succulent delicacies without fear of gain weight.

This is an error of interpretation or explanation , since there is not a sufficient scientific evidence that relates the increase of fat with disorders of the specific IgE of a food.

When there is a coincidence between low calorie food and possible intolerance, it is obvious that results in weight loss are obtained. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with the appropriate medical specialists . Allergies and food intolerances should be studied by immunologists, allergists or digestive system specialists.

Main food intolerances

Lactose intolerance

It is due to the inability of the digestive system to digest lactose, which is the sugar in milk . This intolerance is caused by the deficit in the production by the body of an enzyme called lactase, which is responsible for digesting and consequently absorb said sugar from milk.

Food intolerances: everything you need to know

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Gluten intolerance

In the gluten intolerance the small intestine is not able to digest it, and consequently an inflammatory reaction occurs in the intestine. This type of intolerance is maintained throughout life.

It is based on autoimmune and the symptoms would be: loss of weight, appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of muscle mass. These symptoms may be absent or atypical.

Intolerance to sucrose

It consists of intolerance to common sugar and due to the lack of an enzyme called sucrase. This lack hinders the correct digestion of sucrose with the symptoms already known as diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal pain, etc.

Food intolerances: everything you need to know