Food Intolerance - Prevention, Diagnosis And Therapy

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Food Intolerance - Prevention, Diagnosis And Therapy
Food Intolerance - Prevention, Diagnosis And Therapy
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Food intolerance: prevention, diagnosis & therapy

In the case of food intolerance, certain substances in food are incorrectly metabolized. The utilization in the body does not work properly because certain enzymes or transport mechanisms in the intestine are not sufficiently available or are defective. Incorrectly, intolerances are also commonly referred to as allergies. However, since the immune system is not involved and no IgE antibody formation or other immune cell reactions take place, they are not allergies, even if the symptoms can be very similar.

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The incorrect metabolism of, for example, milk sugar (lactose) or fruit sugar (fructose) or the amino acid breakdown product histamine causes the most common intolerances. This leads to mild to more stressful physical complaints. These are usually expressed in the gastrointestinal tract, but also in other non-specific symptoms.

Food intolerances are much more common than real food allergies and affect around 15 percent of Austrians. After certain adjustments to their diet, those affected can lead an almost symptom-free and only slightly restricted life.

Note Information about the diagnosis and treatment of intolerance cannot replace a personal consultation combined with a diagnosis by a doctor, possibly with the assistance of a dietician. Diets based on self-diagnoses from the Internet or on the basis of questionable tests, for example for IgG against food, can easily lead to malnutrition and malnutrition.

How is a food intolerance diagnosed?

The diagnosis of intolerances such as lactose and histamine or fructose malabsorption is a laborious process. In the case of these intolerances, an allergy test turns out negative because the immune system is not involved and no IgE antibodies are formed in the body. However, keeping a food diary provides the treating physician with informative information. Depending on the suspicion, different tests such as blood or breath tests are used.

Beware of dubious tests

Various tests offered for food intolerance, which are based on the determination of the antibody immunoglobulin G (IgG), are classified as unsuitable according to the current state of science because they do not indicate any pathogenic processes. Such tests should therefore be avoided.

Note The formation of IgG after eating is a natural, temporary reaction of the body and does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about possible food intolerances.

How is food intolerance treated?

Therapy consists of reducing or avoiding the intake of certain problematic substances through food. There is no general dietary recommendation for intolerance. Rather, it depends on the individual characteristics of the disease or the tolerance of the food, how strictly a diet must be adhered to. For example, some lactose intolerant people can tolerate small amounts of milk sugar.

Food intolerance cannot be prevented because an innate tendency is expressed. Some intolerances follow infectious diseases, for example lactose intolerance can occur temporarily, but it disappears again.

Information on the introduction of complementary foods can be found under Infant nutrition.

The website also provides information on eating right from the start! - a cooperation project between the Ministry of Health, AGES and the umbrella organization of Austrian social insurance.

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