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7 Most Common Food Intolerances

Dr Ritika Samaddar explains what food intolerances are all about and what are the most common forms of it.

7 Most Common Food Intolerances

One in five people suffer from food intolerances


  1. Food intolerance is a treatable condition
  2. 65% people worldwide suffer from lactose intolerance.
  3. Egg intolerance is common in children

One in five people suffer from food intolerances, but the real isn't really known. Most people do not realize what kind of food intolerance they have. Regular consumption could be a reason for this, due to which most people fail to recognize the culprit food. It is not life-threatening but it can make the sufferer's condition miserable. But remember, it is not the same thing as food allergies. Food intolerance is a treatable condition. However, food allergies stay with you for life. Symptoms of the two might be similar but they still are not the same thing.

Chief Dietitian Dr Ritika Samaddar explains the difference between food intolerance and food allergies. She says, "Allergy is very different from intolerance. Most of the time intolerance is because they take the food in the wrong way, at the wrong time or in the wrong quantity due to which the body becomes sensitive to such foods. It can be treated with the help of dietary modifications or quitting such foods for a limited period of time. But when you have an allergy it is for life and completely avoiding these foods can help you get relief. In 80-90% of the cases, the condition gets rectified."

Here's a list of the 7 most common food intolerances you must know about.

1. Lactose intolerance

Dr Samaddar says that this is most common form of food intolerance. This is also affected by the quantity, quality and time when you consume milk. 65% worldwide suffer from lactose intolerance. Generally, the body produces lactase breaks it down lactose. But the process is slower in some people. It can take place due to illness or intestinal injuries. Usually the symptoms show around 30 minutes after consumption and can include gas, bloating, vomiting, cramps or diarrhea.


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2. Gluten

Second most common form of food intolerance is gluten. Gluten is the protein in wheat, barley and rye. This condition does not damage the inner lining of the intestinal tract but it can lead to gastrointestinal problems. But this one is so widespread that it is difficult to avoid gluten. Dr Samaddar explains that people can be intolerant to different sources of gluten which can be treated through dietary modifications.

gluten allergy

3. Alcohol

Yes, some people can be intolerant to alcohol as well. If you are experiencing, what you call, allergy-like symptoms and not hangover symptoms after alcohol consumption, know that you are intolerant to alcohol. This can be to one particular form of alcohol or all varieties of it. You could be intolerant to alcohol or its contents like gluten or carbs. In some cases, it can just exasperate symptoms of migraine or asthma which is not symptom condition of intolerance but is just a trigger. The worst offenders here are brandy, red wine, beer or whiskey.
alcohol harms men more than women

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4. Eggs

Egg intolerance is common in children, but it usually vanishes when kids grow up. Most people are actually intolerant to egg whites and not the yolk, yolk intolerance is much rarer. Some of its hidden sources are baked foods, cakes, pasta and specialty drinks.

eggs are rich in vitamin b12

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5. Yeast

Surprisingly, even yeast can lead to food intolerances. Some experts believe that yeast is the reason why a number of people experience digestive distress after consumption of pasta or pizza and not because of gluten. Symptoms of yeast intolerance include joint pains and fatigue. This can also be experienced after consuming fermented drinks. Leftover foods can also develop yeast.

pasta 625

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6. Corn

Corn proteins can cause distress to people who suffer from gluten intolerance. So if you are suffering from gluten intolerance already, it would be a good idea for you to keep from corn consumption as well. Watch out for ingredients like corn-starch, corn flour and high fructose corn syrup in processed foods.

steamed corns

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7. Soy

Soy can be found in abundance in processed foods and in fast foods. This explains why it is one of the most common one responsible for food sensitivities. Intolerances can lead to symptoms like nausea, bloating, gas, heartburn, vomiting, headaches and a depressed mood. Another thing you must know about soy is that chickens are fed soy-based foods. So the eggs they produce may also have traces of the same. So if you experience any sort of discomfort after eating eggs, it could also be due to soy.


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(Dr. Ritika Samaddar is the Chief Dietitian at Max Hospital)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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