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Food Intolerances

When a person has difficulty digesting a particular food, these are called food intolerances.

Symptoms of Food Intolerances

Symptoms can include intestinal gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea. Symptoms, unlike other similar allergies, take significantly longer to notice. In some cases, it may take over 48 hours for symptoms to actually arrive and develop, but this is uncommon.

Food Intolerances compared to Food Allergies

A food allergy has the possible mislabeling of being viewed as a food intolerance, but this is not the case. The digestive system is involved in food intolerance, whereas the immune system is involved in a food allergy. A food allergy has potential life-threatening reactions compared to a food intolerance, where even a small amount of food can be lethal.


Several of the causes for a food intolerance is because of the presence of a certain substance in the food. A natural occurrence of histamines may develop skin rashes, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Another substance, salicylate, is also a potential cause but is only seen after eating large amounts of food.

There are several other causes of a food intolerance, which can include:

  • An enzyme is absent.
  • A food intolerance is caused by chemicals.
  • Histamines in some foods by a natural occurrence.
  • Salicylate being present in many foods.


Compared to food allergies, food intolerances are noticeably harder to identify, as the signs and symptoms of food intolerances usually mix, making it difficult to have a clear diagnosis. If you are unaware if you do or do not have a food intolerance, a doctor can be able to distinguish certain patterns in your symptoms.

If you do go to the doctor for diagnosis, several tests might be taken. A skin prick test, which determines the patient’s reaction to certain food, and a blood test, which measures levels of immunoglobulin E antibodies.

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