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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown
Nutritionist

Janet Aylott
Nutritionist

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Q.

Could I be intolerant to other things as well as lactose?

Hi, I know that I have an intolerance to lactose & currently drink a lactose free milk. I've noticed that I have quite severe reaction when I eat Alpen light bars and I'm wondering if this could be to do with the milk content or if it might be another intolerance. I ask this because the reaction is more severe than if I have some cream or a creamy carbonara.

I know that the way to find out is to eliminate food from my diet but I'm concerned that I have more than one intolerance and might be blaming it all on lactose when really I should avoid something else. I've recently given up crisps and cut back on pasta and bread and find that my stomach has improved quite considerably - is there a common ingredient in these foods that I might be intolerant to (other than milk)?
Many Thanks,

A.

Our expert says...

Hi there.

I'm sorry to hear that you have an intolerance to milk and lactose, but it is one of the more common intolerances and is manageable by avoiding certain foods. However, this can be quite difficult at times as milk, and milk derivatives, are included in many products. Sometimes it is easy to spot these on the packaging, for example when it is called milk powder, but sometimes it can be less obvious. For example, you need to avoid casein compounds (e.g. sodium caseinate), as this is one of a group of proteins found in milk. Similarly you need to try to avoid eating products that contain whey, as this is actually the watery part of curdled milk.

I don't know if Alpen bars contain any of these ingredients, but it its worth looking at the label. However, you are right that your severe reaction to these bars may be due to an intolerance to another ingredient in the product. As you say, the only way to test this theory is to avoid all the other ingredients in your diet and monitor your body for any reaction. Unfortunately, this is a slow and laborious process, which can take some time. However, your food diary can help you here and I would encourage you to use the Diary Notes section on the food page to note down how you are feeling and any symptoms.

If you can afford it, it is quicker to have an intolerance test done through a laboratory e.g www.yorktest.com. Although this can be expensive, it is very accurate as it tests a pinprick of blood. It might be worth considering.

You mention that your stomach has improved since cutting back on pasta and bread and this will be due to the fact that you are eating less gluten. However, this doesn?t necessarily mean you are intolerant to gluten. Most people feel better if they eat less wheat and gluten, as it is quite difficult for the body to digest and can cause bloating and irritation for some people.

I'm sorry that there isn't a straightforward answer to your question, but, as you can see, it is a very complex subject! If you are gong to eliminate foods from your diet, I would advise you to be careful not to cut out too many foods at any one time, or for too long, as you may find that you deprive yourself of valuable nutrients when you didn't really need to.

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