The Facts about Food Intolerances – An Interview with nutritionist Mr. Petre
Food is such a huge part of our lives. Not only does it give us the energy we need to go about our daily lives, it has a highly social aspect too. Conversing with friends and family over a nice meal is one of life’s simple pleasures. If you have or think you might have a food intolerance, you may feel like you’ve been somewhat left in the dark. We talked to a professional nutritionist and owner of Karma Clinic Malta, Mr. Daniel Petre, in order to get the facts straight about food intolerances.
Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?
This is the most important thing that you need to clarify. You may think that they are one in the same, but we can assure you that they most certainly are not. Mr. Petre talked us briefly through the science involved in each:
A food allergy is an immune system response when the body mistakes a particular food as a harmful substance. The body releases certain chemicals, such as histamine, which cause the allergic reaction.
A food intolerance is triggered by naturally occurring substances within foods. They can also arise due to processing methods or are added during processing.
Most Common Types of Intolerances
In Malta, Mr. Petre mentioned that the most common food intolerances are gluten and lactose. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, can cause an intolerance when your body is unable to digest the protein. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. However, intolerances are not limited to just these two. Mr. Petre mentioned that a relatively high number of his clients are intolerant to nuts, yeast, seafood and beans.
What are the Symptoms?
“Food intolerances are often delayed in their response and can be difficult to diagnose.”
This is where things get a bit complicated. The symptoms of an intolerance are sometimes vague and can mimic the symptoms of other medical conditions. According to Mr. Petre, the symptoms of an intolerance include: gastrointestinal problems such as bloating and wind, diarrhoea, nausea and indigestion, aggravation of eczema or asthma. He highlighted that it’s imperative that you get tested by a registered doctor or nutritionist before you jump to any conclusions.
First Steps after Diagnosis
After you’ve been diagnosed with an intolerance, Mr. Petre recommends that the first step is eliminating all the foods that your body can’t digest from your diet for the period of time recommended by your doctor or nutritionist. He recommends that improved eating habits can have a big impact too. Drinking more water and eating more unprocessed foods like fruit and vegetables can help greatly.
After this time period you can start reintroducing the foods very gradually back in to your diet and always make sure you eat them in moderation. Be patient as this may take a long time, if you can reintroduce them at all.
There are Always Alternatives
If you have a food intolerance, the road ahead of you may seem long and daunting. Don’t panic; know that you’re not alone. Mr. Petre highlighted plenty of healthy and delicious alternatives that you can eat. He mentioned, as an example, that wheat products such as pasta can be replaced with quinoa pasta. Dairy products with cow’s milk can be replaced with goat milk products. There are massive communities of people online who have compiled lists of delicious free-from recipes that you can make for yourself too.
It’s Important to Stay Safe
If you feel like you or one of your loved ones may suffer from a food intolerance, make time to see a doctor or a licensed food nutritionist like Mr. Petre. Following the steps laid out above will help you along. Also make sure to strictly follow the guidelines from your doctor or nutritionist. Of course, Laferla’s Health Insurance will cover you and give you peace of mind. Get a free online quote today!