How To Tell If You Have A Food Intolerance

For a brief but very memorable period of time when I was a teenager, I started noticing that I was spending certain seemingly random nights clutching my stomach, combating feelings of nausea and intense pangs and spasms in my gut. These feelings of discomfort and sickness would seem to come on very abruptly and suddenly, and only seemed to go away after a few hours of laying in bed and not eating or drinking anything at all.

I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I was just supposed to expect sudden stomach pains and issues at any given time, until a friend of mine heard about the problems I was having and suggested that I may have an intolerance to MSG, or monosodium glutamate, which is used to enhance the flavor of many Oriental dishes. As she and I began to evaluate my diet, we came across the reason why I was feeling so terrible at certain times. As we discovered together, my pains and discomfort only occurred after I ate from certain takeout restaurants.

When I looked up the menu for these places, our suspicions were confirmed – many of the dishes, including my favorite ones that I was eating once or twice a week – were not free of MSG, but instead were often loaded with the stuff. I’ve been avoiding MSG ever since, and I’ve also noticed a much healthier and happier digestive tract as a result.

As it turns out, food intolerances are surprisingly common, but, as outlined by an article by Care 2, they are not the same as food allergies. It just so happens that some people’s bodies don’t react well to certain foods, even if they are foods that are generally considered to be healthy for most people. Since food intolerances can take up to 48 hours before revealing its symptoms, it can be hard to pinpoint what the offending food is, but here are some of the symptoms to be on the lookout for:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Bloating
  • Excessive gas

There are many more symptoms that someone may experience as the result of a food allergy, but these tend to be the most common. Skin rashes may also occur after consuming a food that your body cannot tolerate properly. If you suspect that you may have a food intolerance, try keeping track of your diet in a food diary, and record what you’ve eaten and how you’ve felt, both physically and emotionally, before and after eating the food. 

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of insatiablemunch

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