Help With Food Allergies And Intolerance's
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.
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.
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.
Gluten intolerance results in bloating, mood swings and lethargy. Alternatives to wheat based products are rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, gluten free oats for example. There are also a huge number of gluten free alternative products available now, so things like gluten free bread, pasta, cereals and cereal bars.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.
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/ intolerance's 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.