Food sensitivities are pretty common, with an estimated 20% of the U.S. population having some form of it. Food sensitivity is a way to refer to a food allergy and can be life-threatening for many people. Even if your food sensitivity isn’t dangerous to your life, it can still become problematic because of uncomfortable symptoms it causes.
It may be difficult to diagnose a food sensitivity at first because of the wide range of other causes that have overlapping symptoms with the condition. If you suspect you may have a food sensitivity, you should speak with a physician to get a diagnosis.
Here are the most common types of food sensitivities you should be aware of.
A lot of people believe lactose sensitivity and lactose intolerance are the same. This is not true! Lactose is sugar found in milk and dairy products. This is broken down inside the body by lactase, an enzyme necessary so that lactose can be digested and absorbed properly. Lactose intolerance refers to when there is a shortage of lactase enzymes. Lactose sensitivity is when you are allergic to one or more component found in milk or dairy products. Like lactose intolerance, lactose sensitivity can cause a variety of symptoms. However, lactose sensitivity can be a mild, moderate, or severe, depending on how severe your allergy is. If you have a severe lactose sensitivity, you could end up in the hospital with severe symptoms.
Caffeine is a chemical found in many beverages. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it reduces fatigue and increases alertness for a lot of people. Most people can consume about 400 mg of caffeine per day without experiencing any side effects. However, some people experience reactions even when consuming small amounts.
This hypersensitivity is linked to genetics and causes the following symptoms:
- Rapid heartbeat
If you are sensitive to caffeine, minimize your intake of foods or beverages that contain it. Examples include coffee, energy drinks, tea, chocolate, and soda.
Gluten refers to proteins found in wheat, barley, triticale, and rye. This food sensitivity is often confused with conditions like celiac disease, wheat allergy, and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. One way to detect this sensitivity is through a celiac profile.
The symptoms for this type of sensitivity include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Pain in joints
Managing gluten sensitivity requires a gluten-free diet. Steer clear of gluten-containing foods like:
- Baked goods
Bacteria produce amines during fermentation and food storage. They are found in a wide range of foods. There are several types of amines, but histamine is the type most commonly associated with food-related sensitivities.
Histamine is a chemical responsible for some reactions of the immune, digestive, and nervous systems. It helps in protecting the body from some illnesses and foreign invaders and in the process, can produce inflammatory responses to allergens, like itching and sneezing.
Symptoms for a histamine intolerance can be:
- Flushing of skin
- Stomach cramps
- Low blood pressure
Avoid foods that are high in histamine, which include:
- Fermented foods
- Cured meats
- Dried fruits
- Some cheeses
- Smoked fish
- Soured foods
- Fermented alcoholic drinks
Food Sensitivity Diagnosis and Treatment in Central Pennsylvania
If you are experiencing uncomfortable symptoms and believe a food sensitivity may be the cause, visit a gastroenterologist today. The experts at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates would love to help you find relief. We have state-of-the-art diagnostic methods to help give you an accurate diagnosis as quickly as possible. We also have effective treatments to bring you relief.
Call us at (717) 245-2228 to schedule an appointment. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to seeing you and helping you feel better!