Food intolerance is characterized by difficulty in digesting particular foods. Food contains proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates, fats and natural chemicals that add to its flavor and smell. Some of these can trigger symptoms of food intolerance. Food intolerance differs from food allergy, where even a small amount of the allergic food can cause a mild to severe immune response. Food intolerance usually develops gradually and may occur when you consume too much of the particular food, too often.
The symptoms caused by food intolerance include fatigue, dark circles under the eye, joint pain, night sweats, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, irritable bowel and skin-related symptoms such as rashes and eczema.
The pattern and type of symptoms help to distinguish food intolerance and differentiates it from allergic reactions. Keeping an accurate record of your food intake and resulting symptoms, helps to identify the foods that may cause these reactions.
Once the triggering food is determined, you are advised to temporarily eliminate it from your diet under controlled conditions. You are then observed for improvement or relief from symptoms. Following this, the trigger is reintroduced into your diet to confirm on the diagnosis. This is carried out under the supervision of a dietitian who will substitute the eliminated food with similar food, ensuring that nutrition is maintained.