7 food intolerance myths – busted

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We hear about food sensitivities and the rise of free from foods so often in the media that we tend to assume we know what food intolerance is all about. But do we really?

Despite increased awareness, there’s still a big gap in understanding which leads to myths and misconceptions about what food intolerance is – and isn’t.

Here we bust a few of the common assumptions we often hear about food intolerance.

  1. “If you have an intolerance, you’ll have to avoid the food forever.”

If you’ve discovered an intolerance to your favourite food, don’t despair. While you will need to remove that food from your diet for a while, replacing it with nutritious alternatives, this doesn’t need to be a lifelong aversion.

It’s possible to take a break from your trigger food and slowly reintroduce it after a period of time.

  1. “You just need to avoid gluten.”

Ah, gluten. This poor protein gets a lot of stick when it comes to food intolerance.

Many people assume it’s the cause of all sorts of conditions, from bloating to acne.  And while some people certainly do have a sensitivity, it’s not a given that gluten is the culprit.

The reality is that our dietary DNA is unique. A food which causes problems for one person can be completely fine for another, so it’s best not to assume.

  1. “You’ll know straight after eating something if you react to it.”

We tend to assume that a trigger food is going to cause a reaction straight away, but in the case of food intolerances, it can take up to 72 hours for symptoms to show up, making it incredibly difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.

For some, those symptoms may be extremely uncomfortable, for others they may be milder.

  1. “The symptoms will only affect your digestive system.”

While gut grumbles certainly account for a lot of food intolerance related complaints, they’re not the only problems you can experience as a result of a food sensitivity.

Skin issues such as eczema and acne, headaches and migraine, joint pain, fatigue, and respiratory conditions such as asthma and rhinitis are all common complaints that can result from a food intolerance.

It’s possible to experience a combination of these conditions all at once as a result of a food intolerance, or just one or two.

  1. “Food intolerance is just another name for a food allergy.”

People often use the terms ‘food intolerance’ and ‘food allergy’ interchangeably, but they are in fact two different conditions.

Where food allergy involves a serious, instant, and potentially life-threatening reaction, food intolerance is generally delayed and, while often incredibly uncomfortable, isn’t dangerous.

  1. “You’re born with your food intolerance.”

Unlike allergies, you aren’t necessarily born with food intolerances. They can develop at any stage of your life.

A food you’ve enjoyed for years can go on to cause you problems down the line. Likewise, food intolerances you may have, or develop, aren’t necessarily going to be a problem for the rest of your life.

  1. “Food intolerances are just a fussy eating fad.”

It can seem like people who swap out the dairy for oat milk are just being fussy, but the reality is simply that we have more great free from options readily available now.

For a long time, people living with food intolerances didn’t have ready access to tasty substitutes so had to do without. But now, with greater awareness of dietary requirements, and more brands creating products to cater to them, we’re seeing the market growing to meet a need.

Do you still have questions about food intolerances? Or perhaps, you’d like more clarity about your own dietary DNA. Find out more about our tests or check out more of our blogs, tackling food intolerances questions.

Could you have a food intolerance?

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