Gastrointestinal reactions to food
Reactions may be either immunological (food allergy or hypersensitivity), or non-immunological (food intolerance).
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastrointestinal conditions caused by food intolerances. IBS is characteristed by reoccurring symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, bloating, constipation, increased urgency and increased gastrointestinal upset associated with psychological upset.
Dietary treatments such as the low-FODMAP and Elimination diets are extremely effective in improving symptoms and quality of life.
The Low-FODMAP Diet is an approach developed by Accredited Pracitising Dietitian, Dr Sue Shepherd, which has been proven to work for the treatment of IBS both in the short and long term.
Natural chemical intolerances include both natural (eg. Salicylates, amines, glutamate), and food additives (artificial colours and preservatives). These intolerances involve reactions to specific chemicals to many different foods. Most individuals with dietary intolerance are sensitive to more than one substance. The only reliable way of determining which food chemicals are causing your symptoms is to follow The Elimination Diet.
The Elimination Diet was developed by the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Allery Unit and involves eliminating all possible triggers at the same time and reintroduce the foods using a systemic approach after symptoms have subsided.
Allergies are quite different to intolerances and much less common. Food allergies involve reactions to the unique protein components of a specific food and occur in individuals’ born with an overactive immune system. The immune system will produce antibodies to dietary substances that are otherwise harmless.
Coeliac Disease is an example of a hypersensitivity to food. It occurs when an individual consumes a protein called gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley. Coeliac disease can cause nausea, bloating, flatulence, constipation and/or diarrhea, fatigue, skin rashes or none of these symptoms.
The most common food allergies include egg, milk, peanut, tree nuts, seafood and wheat. Individuals who suspect they a severe allergic reaction should seek advice from a medical practitioner.
It is important to seek advice when altering your diet to ensure it remains nutritionally adequate. To make an appointment with an Everyday Eating Accredited Pracitising Dietitian, or for further information, please Contact us. You will receive a response within 24 hours.