IBS Network

Food Allergies & Intolerances - extract from 'Friendly Foods'


Common misconceptions

Popular diets come and go based on whatever alternative theories are currently in fashion; for example, hypoglycaemia, food family rotation, Candida, leaky gut and liver detoxification. These diets generally eliminate all additives and a wide range of foods that are rich in natural chemicals, so it’s not surprising that people with food intolerance who follow these diets often feel better, at least temporarily.

This is also true of so-called ‘yeast-free’, ‘wheat-free’ and ‘sugar-free’ diets. If your health improves on one of these diets, it’s easy to jump to the mistaken conclusion that yeast, wheat or sugar must have been the culprit. If you find that sweet foods, such as cakes, honey, jam and chocolate, upset you, it’s likely to be due to the natural chemicals and/or additives in them rather than the sugar. In fact, white (refined) sugar is perfectly safe for sensitive individuals, because any natural chemicals that might cause reactions have been removed in the refining process.

There is a common belief that dairy products are bad for people with ‘allergies’. In fact, this is not usually so. If you feel better avoiding dairy it may be because you’ve cut out the natural amines in tasty cheeses and chocolates, or the flavourings in yoghurt, ice-cream and milk shakes. Milk or wheat can sometimes irritate the stomach and bowels in people with food intolerance, but this will often settle down after the relevant food chemicals have been identified and eliminated for a few weeks.

Lactose intolerance is a common genetic difficulty in digesting lactose, and can cause bowel symptoms. However, it’s not usually necessary to exclude all dairy products, as most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate small quantities of milk and yoghurt. If you react to cheese (which contains no lactose) you’re likely to have intolerance to food chemicals other than lactose.

2 Replies

so true. I'm gradually adding back foods after following strict FODmAps which I found binding. I still avoid the Fructans group, as well as calcium carbonate and soy protein. So it is additives that irritate my IBS-C, not lactose or gluten, etc. Whole foods, variety in moderation!

1 like

I'm glad you've found your triggers! It's amazing how many foods and supplements contain additives and even the natural ones can be problematic.


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