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Help With Food Allergies And Intolerances

FOOD ALLERGIES AND INTOLERANCES

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What's the difference?

A food allergy is an abnormal, potentially fatal, reaction from the body's immune system in response to certain foods. Food intolerance is less severe and involves only a physical reaction to certain foods. Unlike an allergy, food intolerance needn't be permanent; you can avoid the offending food for a period of time, and then reintroduce it gradually so that you build up a resistance.

In recent years food allergies have become rather fashionable, with various celebrities expounding the joys of their newly-discovered gluten and dairy free diets. In reality, only about 1-2% of the UK population has a true food allergy. If you think you are allergic or intolerant to certain foods, check with a medical practitioner before cutting that food out of your diet. You may be denying yourself essential nutrients because of a mild intolerance that can be overcome.

Substitute nutrition

Listed below are some of the most common problem foods, and some alternative sources of nutrition to replace them:

Nuts and Seeds

Nut allergies can be life-threatening; even a small amount of contact can send the sufferer into anaphylactic shock. Avoid all types of nuts and seeds, and get essential fats from other sources like avocados, sunflower oil, rapeseed and olive oil.

Dairy products

Lactose intolerance is an inability to digest and absorb the sugar found in dairy products, causing abdominal pain, wind and diarrhea. Good non-dairy sources of calcium include tofu, sardines, figs, baked beans, brown and white bread, fortified cereals, almonds, watercress, spinach, and broccoli. If soya milk isn't to your liking, rice and oat milks are worth a try.

Wheat

Gluten intolerance results in bloating, mood swings and lethargy. Alternatives to wheat based products are whole grain cereals, rice cakes, buckwheat or rice flour and wheat free biscuits. While a low-carb, wheat-free diet may seem like a good way to lose weight, it's essential you still get a balanced range of nutrients and sustain your energy levels.

Shellfish

An allergic reaction to shellfish can cause hives and anaphylactic shock. Replace with other types of fish like whitebait and mackerel, aiming to have one portion of oily fish a week.

Do allergies/ intolerances affect weight loss?

A food intolerance could make losing weight more difficult, but only if it causes unnatural bloating and water retention. Otherwise there is unlikely to be a connection - although being strict about cutting out certain foods makes you stricter on cutting calories. There is generally a phase after first addressing food intolerance when you lose weight more efficiently, but this is not necessarily permanent.

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Disclaimer
You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...